Friday, October 05, 2007

Lee Sustar, Bill Richardson

Friday at last! :D I'm back home (this was our last stop on the road). I only read the top 20 e-mails so if you're past that, I didn't get to you. But one thing I found out from the e-mails was that Bill Richardson is being seriously considered by the community (the first 20 e-mails were from community members). So I thought we'd focus a little on that tonight.

But for that, Susan Faludi was a guest on Democracy Now! yesterday ( "Author and Social Critic Susan Faludi on 'The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America'" and that was a really great interview if you missed it. You should also check out her book The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America.

For set up of tonight's post, this is from Lee Sustar's "The Democrats and Iran:"

At a debate on September 25, the top three Democratic presidential candidates--Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards--all refused to declare that they'd have pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of their first term, if elected.
"I think it would be irresponsible" to promise a pullout by January 2013, Obama said. "I cannot make that commitment," said Edwards. For her part, Clinton, typically, dodged a direct answer: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting."
Earlier that day, a majority of Senate Democrats supported a measure sponsored by Sens. John Kyl and Joe Lieberman declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization--and calling on the U.S. government to "combat, contain and roll back the violent activities" of Iran.
Thanks to the Democrats, the referendum--which at least some observers likened to an authorization for war--won by an overwhelming 76-22 margin. Clinton voted yes; Obama, in what is becoming a habit, skipped the roll call.
To top it off, tacked onto the measure at the last minute was a resolution expressing support for the partition of U.S.-occupied Iraq into ethnic and sectarian cantons--a ratification of the process of ethnic cleansing that has driven millions of Iraqis from their homes and claimed the lives of untold numbers.
Not quite one year after they took control of Congress, thanks to a huge antiwar vote in the 2006 congressional elections, the Democrats have not only failed utterly to stop the war on Iraq--they've caved in one confrontation after another with the White House. Party leaders who once claimed they would force the Bush White House to "change course" have come to resemble their loser of a presidential candidate in 2004, John Kerry.
When criticized by opponents of the war, the Democrats respond in almost a single voice that they don't have the votes to override a Bush veto--or even win a procedural voice to end debate in the Senate and come to an up-and-down vote on controversial legislation.
That's blatantly dishonest--as insider journalists Jim VandeHei and John Harris pointed out in the online Beltway gossip publication The Politico.
"There is a lot more Democrats could do to change, or at least challenge, the politics of the war in Washington, even if they do not have the numbers to impose new policies on President Bush," VandeHei and Harris wrote.
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could force a vote a day over Iraq. She could keep the House in session all night, over weekends and through planned vacations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could let filibusters run from now till Christmas rather than yield to pro-war Republicans...[A]ntiwar lawmakers can hardly say they have done everything possible to challenge the war and bring attention to their cause."


So that's where we're at. Elaine told me about some candidate sketches at Forbes, so we'll highlight their sketch of Richardson:

As for Iraq, Richardson wants to pull out troops as quickly as possible. "I will do it quickly--in a matter of months, not years," writes Richardson. Highlights of his plan for Iraq involve leveraging our planned withdrawal to bring all factions in Iraq and nearby countries--including Syria and Iran--to the negotiating table. He also proposes setting up a conference to convince wealthy Arab states to chip in for the reconstruction of Iraq, and creating a multilateral UN-led all-Muslim peacekeeping force to help prevent a civil war. "As someone who has successfully negotiated with some of the world's toughest tyrants, I know face-to-face diplomacy can work."
Among Richardson’s ideas for dramatically reducing our dependency on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions are a proposal to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all vehicle manufacturers to 50 miles per gallon by 2020. Richardson also proposes the implementation of a market-based cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions in order to create incentives for the electric and industrial sectors to make significant reductions in their carbon emissions. In addition, Richardson is in favor of creating a North American Energy Council with Canada and Mexico, the two countries that supply the biggest part of our oil imports.

[. . .]
Richardson writes to Forbes on his vision for America: "Our next president must be able to bring a country together that is divided and partisan. That's the way I've operated as governor and that's what I'll do as president. Frankly, I think Washington is broken and it's going to take a return to bipartisanship and simple respect for each other's views to get it fixed."

Please check out Forbes. For Richardson or any candidate that you're interested in. They've done what The Nation won't do, provide some basic coverage on all the presidential candidates who have declared (in the two main parties).

If you watch the Sunday Chat & Chews, Bill Richardson will be a guest on ABC's This Week. John Edwards will be a guest on NBC's Meet the Press.

How is Richardson talking to his supporters? What's his campaign emphasizing? I told C.I. I was wondering about that and C.I. e-mailed community member Melanie who is declared as supporting Richardson. Melanie was kind enough to forward the most recent campaign e-mail she'd received from the Richardson campaign:

Ending the war in Iraq is a cornerstone of Bill Richardson's campaign for President.
As last week's debate made clear, the other candidates would only change the mission in Iraq; Bill will end the war. The media are starting to get the message, and this week has turned out to be a triple play for Bill, with three important public appearances scheduled that are drawing coverage and praise.
I want you to watch the videos I've linked to in this email, and then forward this message to five friends. Together, we can turn this great week into a turning point for our campaign.
First, yesterday at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the Governor gave a major policy address on Iraq and defense modernization.
(Watch the video here.) Taking our troops out of Iraq, he said, is only the first step. We must follow up by restoring stability to the region, reclaiming our position in the international community, and reshaping our military for a post-Iraq-war world.
Watching the video of the speech reminded me that as a former Congressman and Ambassador, Governor Richardson has a depth of foreign affairs experience that no other candidate can match. He's gone beyond empty rhetoric, and set forth a clear vision for what to do next.
Also yesterday, the Governor was featured in a profile on ABC's "World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson." It described aspects of Bill's past that most people don't know enough about -- how he met Barbara, his memories of his father in Mexico, his school years in Massachusetts.
Watch the video, and you'll understand why Bill was drawn into a life of public service.
Finally, the Governor will be a guest on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Sunday morning (check your local listings for time and station). I know he's fired up to draw a sharp distinction between his own clear position on the war and the doubletalk of the other candidates. It will be worth watching -- and we'll post the video on our website on Monday.
Help us get the word out about this week's triple play in the press. Please watch these videos, and then forward this email to five friends. It takes just a moment -- and it makes a difference.
Together, we can help others see what we see in Bill Richardson: our next President.
Thank you,
Dave Contarino Campaign Manager


Again, thanks to Melanie (and to C.I.). "Ending the war is the cornerstone." How many other candidates are saying that? None of the three 'front runners.' By the way, C.I. told me another guest on This Week Sunday. Katrina vanden Heuvel. So you can watch Richardson to find out about him and then, in the roundtable, you'll get to laugh at Katrina vanden Heuvel. It's win-win. (I probably won't be watching. We work all night on The Third Estate Sunday Review and I crash when that's over.) If it goes up online, I'll watch it then.

On four (out of forty? I have no idea how many groups we spoke to this week), we were asked who we were supporting for president? The question usually was asked by someone looking at or else directly asking C.I. so C.I. would go first and explain, "Do your own research and vote for who you want or not vote if no one speaks to you. Your vote is your business." C.I. then would toss to us. Kat would explain she's supporting Dennis Kucinich. I'd explain that I like what I saw in Kucinich and Gravel and I had thought I'd be following John Edwards closely until he (a) wimped out in one debate by refusing to discuss Iraq and (b) showed no grasp that the US needs to get out of Iraq and do so immediately (as the top exceprt noted, he can't guarantee that if elected, he'd pull out all US troops by the end of his four year term). I said Bill Richardson was someone I really wasn't interested in when he announced but the last few months, I'd started to think of him as a really serious candidate and am now making an effort to follow him. Ava echoed C.I. and they both noted (one would say something, then the other) that the issue of importance to them is ending the illegal war and if a candidate speaks to you enough to earn your vote (Ava: "On one issue, on many issues"), that's great but don't think voting is "the answer" because it's not and it's important not to fall into the trap of refusing to call for an end to the illegal war out of fears that some candidate might be hurt by the people demanding an end to the illegal war.

I'm including that because I think it is important. We really need to understand that our candidate of choice -- even if it's Kucinich or a Green Party candidate -- will need to feel the pressure to end the illegal war. The Greens or Kucinich might not need the pressure as much but with the DC conventional wisdom to go up against, they'll need to be reminded of what the majority of Americans want. We need to hold our choice (who ever it is accountable).

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

Friday, Ocotber 5, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths, Ehren Watada's court-martial is still set to start next Tuesday, the bait and kill teams get a white wash, and more.

Starting with war resistance. In June 2006,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the Iraq War. As Aaron Glantz (The War Comes Home) notes Ehren Watada's second court-martial is scheduled to begin this coming Tuesday. And if it takes place and the prosecution is trailing, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) can call another "do over." Glantz reported on the first court-martial each day of the court-martial (as well as on the Sunday rally of support that preceded the court-martial) and you can click here for some of that audio. Truthout also covered the court-martial daily and they announce: "Truthout will be covering the court-martial from Fort Lewis, Washington, beginning Monday." Their coverage last time provided both video and text reports. Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports on yesterday's events, "U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle on Thursday afternoon heard arguments from Watada's lawyers and a lawyer from the U.S. Attorney's Office about whether he has jurisdiction in the case. Settle held the hearing after Watada's defense attorneys, Jim Lobsenz and Ken Kagen, sought an emergency halt to next Tuesday's court-martial. They said they were compelled to go to federal court after receiving no word from the military justice system's highest appellate court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, concerning Watada's challenge to his court-martial." AP reports that a decision by Settle may come down today; however, Michael Gilbert (Washington's The News Tribune) reports, "A federal judge indicated he won't likely decide whether to halt Lt. Ehren Watada's second court-martial until Tuesday morning, when the proceeding is scheduled to begin in an Army courtroom at Fort Lewis." Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorializes "Watada Court-Martial: Let him go:"However the defense appeals turn out, we think there is a case for letting Watada leave the Army without further ado. That could be taken as a statement of higher-level confidence, a choice to focus on the larger military mission that President Bush and Gen. David Petraeus insist is making new progress. At a minimum, many of those who oppose the Iraq war would welcome the leniency for someone they view as a person of conscience."

In Canada this week, war resister Robin Long was arrested this week.
Charlie Smith (Vancouver's Straight) reports that when twenty-year-old war resister Brad McCall attemptedto enter Canada on September 19, 2007, he was arrested "and driven to a jail in Surrey" with McCall telling him, "I don't know what kind of police officer he was. He put me in handcuffs in front of all these people that were watching that were trying to get into Canada also" and McCall aksed the Canadian Border Services Agency, "I told them, 'Why are you playing the part of the hound dog for the U.S. army?' They didn't know what to say. They just started stuttering and mumbling." Brad McCall did make it into Canada and is staying with Colleen Fuller in Vancouver. As is very common in stories of war resisters going to Canada "over the Internet". McCall also speaks of hearing about atrocities/war crimes in Iraq as participants bragged about the actions. Robin Long also cited that in his interview for CBC Television. McCall explains he was interested in CO status but when he raised the issued with "his commander and sergeants," the dismissed it which has happened repeatedly with many war resisters. Aiden Delgado and Camilo Mejia are among those who can share their struggles to receive CO status -- Delgado was one of the few to be successful in his attempt. Robert Zabala has the distinction of being awarded CO status by the US civilian court system. Agustin Aguayo attempted the process both within the US military and within the civilian court system.

Another who attempted CO status is Kevin Benderman. Monica Benderman, Kevin's wife, addressed Congress in May of 2006 noting, "My husband violated no regulations. His command violated many. The command's flagrant disregard for military regulations and laws of humanity sent my husband to jail as a prisoner of conscience. Times have changed -- and so has conscientious objection. What has not changed is the Constitution, the oath our volunteer soldiers take to defend it, and every American citizen's right to freedom of choice. This conscientious objection goes beyond religious teaching. It is not dramatic. There is no epiphany. There is reality. Death is final, whether it is your own or you cause the death of another. No amount of field training can make up for the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of a real battlefield, and no amount of threats, intimidation, and abuse from a command can change a soldier's mind when the cold, hard truth of an immoral, unethical justification for war is couple with real-life sensations." Monica, and not Kevin, addressed Congress because Kevin was still serving the sentence on the kangaroo court hearing he was subjected to when he attempted to be granted CO status by following every detail by the book with no margin for error. But the US military brass doesn't like to issue CO status and they were willing to manuever and lie in their attempts at retribution towards Kevin Benderman. The laughable charge of "desertion" (which has no basis in reality) was shot down (he was acquitted of that ludicrous charge) but the brass was successful with other charges (trumped up charges) and that goes to how they control the court-martials, how they refuse to allow evidence to be entered and arguments to be made in an arrangement that's already stacked against the individual. (For instance, in Ehren Watada's trial, Judge Toilet was known to report to his superiors who, presumably, gave him orders throughout the February court-martial. In a civilian court, a judge reporting to a 'superior' and taking advice from one would be grounds for an aquittal.) Kevin and Monica Benderman fought the brass and continued fighting when others might have given up.
Letters from Fort Lewis Brig: A Matter of Conscience is the new book, out this week from The Lyons Press (US $24.95), in which they tell his story. Letters from Fort Lewis Brig: A Matter of Conscience is also the fourth book by a war resister of the Iraq War to be published this year. The other three are Aidan Delgado's The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq, Camilo Mejia's Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia and Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale. Early on as the brass was targeting her husband, Monica Benderman visited bookstores attempting to learn more about CO status and similar topics and she couldn't find anything. The four books rectify that and join Peter Laufer's
compelling
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq which covers the stories of variety of war resisters and was released in 2006. In an ideal world, bookstores across the country would stock all five and no Monica Benderman, in search of information, would ever be greeted with "We don't carry anything like that." Kevin and Monica Benderman have done their part to make sure it doesn't happen. Again, Letters from Fort Lewis Brig by Kevin Benderman with Monica Benderman was released this week, is available at bookstores and online and it'll be the focus of a book discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review this weekend.


There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, 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, 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 [(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.

Canada's in the news not only for the arrest of war resisters these days but also for their oil deal. In
a curious press release that proclaims "THIS PRESS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO THE UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICE OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES" at the top, Canada's Heritage Oil Corporation declares (to "Business Editors") that they are "pleased to announce that it has executed a Production Sharing Contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over Miran Block in the south-west of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and that Heritage will be operating as a 50/50 partner with the KRG to create a 20,000 barrel per day oil refinery in the vincinity of the license area. . . . Heritage will join the existing and increasing presence of international oil exploration, development and production companies operating in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. . . . Heritage will commence geological work immediately, having established its local office in Erbil in 2005, and aims to commence a high-impact exploration drilling program in 2008." Last month a deadly clash took place on Lake Albert between "Congolese troops and the Ugandan army" which Heritage Oil has denied any part in despite media reports. Andy Rowell (Oil Change) notes that the Kurdish government has "announced four new oil exploration deals with international energy companies. The news is likely to upset the central government in Baghdad and the US." In addition, this week Canada refused entry to CODEPINK's Media Benjamin and retired US State Dept and army colonel Ann Wright. Today, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) interviewed Wright:

AMY GOODMAN: So, Ann, you were turned back at the border. You go back to Washington, D.C. You meet with Canadian officials at the embassy. What did they tell you?
ANN WRIGHT: Well, they told us that any time that the FBI puts people on this NCIC list, they just accept it at face value, that they don't really investigate things. And we kept saying, "Well, you ought to, because a lot of these things appear to be going onto this list because of political intimidation," because, indeed, the list itself for the database says that people like foreign fugitives, people on the ten most-wanted list or 100 most-wanted list, people that are part of violent gangs and terrorist organizations, are supposed to go on that NCIC list. It didn't seem like that we were a part of -- we haven't done anything to be on the list. And since this thing is just now -- we are the first ones that we know of that have been formally stopped from going into Canada. In fact, it happened to me in August, when I went up to Canada to participate in the Security and Prosperity Partnership. I had to buy my way in, $200 for a three-day temporary resident permit. "If I'm so dangerous, why would they even give me that permit?" I asked the immigration officer in the Canadian embassy.


Turning to the Iraqi puppet government
Susan Cornwell (Reuters) reported: "Widespread corruption in Iraq stretches into the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, an Iraqi investigating judge told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, and an American official said U.S. efforts to combat the problem are inadequate. Judge Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, who was named by the United States in 2004 to head the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, said his agency estimated corruption had cost the Iraqi government up to $18 billion." Renee Schoof (McClatchy Newspapers) adds, "Enormous sums of oil revenues ended up in the hands of Sunni and Shiite militias, he said. Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, who is seeking U.S. asylum because of death threats against him, said that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his government prevented al-Radhi's U.S.-backed Commission on Public Integrity from taking action against top national officials."

Turning to the topic of violence,
AP notes that the mercenary corporation Blackwater USA has a new p.r. flack -- Burson-Marsteller -- and that, "The State Department, which pays Blackwater hundreds of millions of dollars to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq, has stringent rules barring the private security contractor from discussing with the media the details of its work, according to those familiar with the arrangement." While Sudarsan Raghavan, Joshua Partlow and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) explain the latest reports on the September 16th slaughter Blackwater conducted in Baghdad, "U.S. military reports from the scene of the Sept. 16 shooting incident involving the security firm Blackwater USA indicate that its guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force against Iraqi civilians, according to a senior U.S. military official. The reports came to light as an Interior Ministry official and five eyewitnesses described a second deadly shooting minutes after the incident in Nisoor Square. The same Blackwater security guards, after driving about 150 yards away from the square, fired into a crush of cars, killing one person and injuring two, the Iraqi official said. The U.S. military reports appear to corroborate the Iraqi government's contention that Blackwater was at fault in the shooting incident in Nisoor Square, in which hospital records say at least 14 people were killed and 18 were wounded."

Staying on violence . . .

"Shams survived, but is now blind. She is one of hundreds who were injured, but survived this attack. More than 200 others died. This is her story," so begins Alive in Baghdad's video report this week entitled "
Car Bomb Survivors, No Longer Statistics" which focuses on the aftermath of the November 23rd bombing for the year-old Shams whose mother died shielding her from the blast and whose brother Ghaith was left with shrapnel. Her father, Hesham Fadhel Karim, explains his wife, Shams, and Ghaith and Taif (two sons) were in their car in Sadr City when three bombs went off, "My baby girl Shams was injured and lost her two eyes, her mother was killed and my older son Ghaith was injured by shrapnel in his back. . . . Shams face was injured because she was beside her mother who was burning. As for my wife, the fireman came to extinguish her and I carried her to the ambulance which brought her to the hospital. We took her out of the ambulance into the hospital. I was trying to extinguish her but I could not, because she burnt my hands, legs, and shoulder. At last, she died. As for Shams, I didn't know which hospital she was in. I searched for her in every hospital in Sadr City but I couldn't find her because she was carried to the Adnan Khairallah Martyr hospital." The search for Shams was made more difficult by the night time curfews forbidding travel. After finding her, her family attempted to get treatment for her in Jordan and Iran but were told there was nothing that could be done about her eyes. Shams' grandfather declares, "In fact, I appeal to this world and the humanitarian world to care for the children of Iraq because there are millions of children who are without eyes, deformed or having their arms or legs amputated."

In some of today's reported violence . . .

Bombings?

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reports, "Up to twenty-four Iraqi civilians are reportedly dead following a U.S. air strike near the city of Baquba. Another twenty-seven people were wounded. The toll is said to include women and children. Witnesses say at least four homes were leveled in the attack. Some of the victims were killed after rushing out of their homes to help those hurt in the initial bombing." AFP reports, "Witnesses said US helicopters attacked Jayzani, northwest of the mainly Shiite town of Al-Khalis, at around 2:00 am (2300 GMT), destroying at least four houses. An AFP photographer saw at least four trucks, each carrying several bodies from Jayzani, being driven through Baghdad to the Shiite holy city of Najaf for burial. One of the dead was clearly an elderly man" and AFP quotes Ahmed Mohammed saying, "There are 24 bodies on the ground in the village and 25 others wounded in Al-Khalis hospital." Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a bombing today "near Latifiyah Bridge" outside Babil left three people injured while a Tuz Khurmatu bombing left three wounded. Reuters notes that a Laitifya roadside bombing left three people injured.

Shootings?

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Sheikh Yasir Al Yasiri was shot dead yesterday and Sheikh Khalid was shot dead last night, both in Basra, both were professors at "Al Sadr religious university".

Corpses?

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 2 corpses were discovered in Kifil.

Today the
US military announced: "Two Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed and two others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated during operations in the southeastern region of the Iraqi capital Oct. 5." And the US military announced: "One Multi-National Corps - Iraq Soldier was killed and three were wounded in Salah Ad Din province today when an improvised explosive device was detonated near their vehicle." ICCC's total number killed in the illegal war since it started (March 2003) stands at 3813 and Reuters stands at 3812.

Turning to news of white wash,
Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) 'investigates' the bait and kill teams of US snipers in Iraq by . . . reading court transcripts. Work that will no doubt to elevate him to the level of Maury Povich or at least Ted Baxter. Parker writes: "Interviews and court transcripts portray a 13-man sniper unit that felt under pressure to produce a high body count, a Vietnam-era measure that the Pentagon officially has disavowed in this war. They describe a sniper unit whose margins of right and wrong were blurred: by Hensley, if you believe Army prosecutors; by the Army, if you believe the accused." Wow, shock and dull, shock and dull. In June of this year, James Burmeister went public with the news of the kill teams. All Things Media Big and Small ignored it in this country. Last week, a court-martial forced them to cover it with limited hangout. Now it's time for the white wash and Parker shows up in flip flops, a half-shirt and Daisy Dukes, scrub brush in hand.

Meanwhile,
James Foley (Medill Reports) quotes Kelly Dougherty (IVAW) declaring, "People say it's an all-volunteer army, but the truth is many people's contracts have been extended, some involuntarily extended. That's not only against an all-volunteer military, but putting the same people in a combat zone again and again . . . We get a lot of calls (asking) 'What should I do? Should I go back.'" Tim Dickinson (Rolling Stone) highlights two articles -- First, Philip Dine (St. Louis Dipatch) reveals that "Thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- as many as 10 a day -- are being discharged by the military for mental health reasons. But the Pentagon isn't blaming the war. It says the soldiers had 'pre-existing' conditions that disqualify them for treatment by the government." This is an effort to deny treatment for service members suffering from PTSD by claiming that the PTSD is actually a prior condition. Dikinson then notes a report on the number of service members who are deployed "for only 729 days. . . exactly one day short of the 730 days needed to guarantee thousands of dollars a year for college."

Today on the second hour of
NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, Rehm's roundtable guests were McClatchy Newspapers' Warren P. Strobel, the Washington Post's Keith Richburg and UPI's Martin Walker.

Diane Rehm: Let's talk about what's happening in Iraq with Iraq buying $100 million worth of weapons from China.

Martin Walker: Well you go to the best. I mean if you want, if you want the kind of material you need to supress people and maintain an authoritarian state where do you go? China. The point that the US wasn't able to supply the weaponry required and the Chinese are able to supply cheap knock-offs of AK-47s.

Diane Rehm: But haven't the Iraqis had terrible trouble keeping track of weapons to begin with?

Martin Walker: The place is awash in weapons but don't forget it also took place as we've got this new report about corruption in Iraq and about the way in which corruption is being covered up and protected by al-Maliki's government and I would be amazed if some of that money for the Chinese weaponry doesn't matter to leak out some way or another.

Diane Rehm: At twenty-seven before the hour, you are listening to The Diane Rehm Show. Do you want to add to that, Keith?

Keith Richburg: Just to add, it's ironic that these weapons are supposedly going to be going to the Iraqi police which is the one unit that all US investigators going in there have said is the most corrupt, the most inept and basically should be abolished and reconstituted from scratch. Here's Talibani saying, "Actually we need weapons to arm this force."

Diane Rehm: Warren?

Warren P. Strobel: Yeah, absolutely. There was a hearing in Congress this week that highlighted the issue of corruption and a report, the State Department's own report, shows that virtually every ministry has just massive corruption problems. It's hard to believe that lots of the weapons won't end up in the street. It's hard to believe there won't be huge kickbacks, as Martin said, for the weapon sale.



A caller brought up Seymour Hersh's report that the administration is planning to start a war with Iran.

Diane Rehm: Didn't Sy Hersh also go on to say that many in the administration know we don't have the resources to go into Iran, Warren?

Warren P. Strobel: Which is true, we don't in any serious way. Diane, if I had a dollar for every tip I got, or every e-mail I got, or every caller I got that the administration was about to launch another war on Iran, I'd be a rich man. I think we have to be very careful here. Some people in the administration, close to it, say "yes," some say "no." Cheney is said to be pushing this -- I'm not so sure. I think it's a debate that's going to go on right till the very the end of administration.

[. . .]

Keith: I would just add, well, two things. First, I agree that the resources, the troops aren't there for an invasion. If you're talking about some kind of an airstrike, I would just say the most dangerous period I think you can be in is when you've got a lameduck president with nothing to lose, facing a military catastrophe in Iraq at the moment. And secondly, I find this demonization of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a new Hitler and a new dictator a bit curious because within Iran he's not a dictator. They're all kinds of other institutions that are keeping him relatively constrained including the various ayatollahs who actually run the country. He's not a dictator and also he's not incredibly and also he's not incredibly popular as well.

[. . .]

Martin Walker: There's another factor which tends to get forgotten here, which is that Iran has bought -- and had delivered last year -- from the Russians a state of art anti-aircraft missile system called the S300 which is probably better than the Patriot. Now that's now installed. It's being made operational. Even before that, I was told by a former head of the Air Force that the US Air Force would need a US air strike would need something like three days to suppress the anti-aircraft to be able to go in and hit the targets. What's going to happen on Capitol Hill in those three days on that kind of suppression of the anti-aircraft system? He would be impeached.

Keith: Just to add one quick thought there as well, I think one reason you can see the echo chamber of hostility towards Iran building is because

Diane Rehm: Could or would the US go to war against Iran without total Congressional support?

Keith: Well it depends on "What is war?" Are a series of air strikes war?

Diane Rehm: A series of air strikes.

Keith: Well I think some might argue that he needs Congressional approval, I think others might say that's within his perogative as commander-in-chief to do that. I think within Congress you're going to see a lot more, it's a Democratic Congress first of all, and you're already hearing a lot more people saying, "Wait a minute. North Korea has already exploded a nuclear bomb, Iran is still ten years away, why are they the greater threat?"

Martin Walker: Well it depends. I think one could certainly see and envisage some kind of provocations taking place or perhaps being concoted and engineered under which there's an exchange of fire on the border, US marines get arrested in the way that those British navel personnel were so you can see something being whipped up along those lines. But I was at, I was at an event, a social event recently with two former National Security Advisors and one of them said, "These guys ain't nuts." And the other one replied, "Yes, but they aren't sane either."

Which works as a transition to PBS'
Bill Moyers Journal (Friday in most markets, check local listings -- and it's a listen, watch and read online after the episode airs) when Moyers explores the group Christians United for Israel and also speaks to Rabbi Michael Lerner and Dr. Timothy Weber on the topic of? Should the US strike Iran. A YouTube preview is up and, at the program's website, essays on the topic will be posted as well. Again, the hour long show begins airing on most PBS markets on Friday (check local listings -- and at the website, you can also locate the airtime for your local PBS station). Also Friday on most PBS markets, NOW with David Brancaccio airs their latest half hour installment and this week interview Michael Apted about his owngoing documentary where he tracks a group of British people every seven years, energy conversation will be addressed with a report on Decorah, Iowa and Ken Burns will be interviewed about his latest documentary The War. On October 12th, NOW with David Brancaccio will air a one hour program, "Child Brides: Stolen Lives" documenting "the heartbreaking global phenomenon of forced child marriage, and the hope behind breaking the cycle of poverty and despair it causes." They've created an e-Card you can send to friends and family or to yourself to provide a heads up to the broadcast (and there is no cost to send the e-Card). Last (and one time only) we're tossing a link to the Democratic magazine American Prospect. Due to the fact that it has David Bacon's "Mexican Miners' Strike for Life". Excerpt:

In a well-run mine, huge vacuum cleaners suck dust from the buildings covering the crushers, mills and conveyer belts. The Cananea miners call these vacuums colectores, or dust collectors. Outside the hulking buildings of the concentrator complex, those collection tanks and their network of foot-wide pipes are five stories tall. But many of the tanks have rusty holes in their sides the size of a bathroom window. And the pipes, which should lead into the work areas inside, just end in midair. None of the dust collectors, according to the miners' union, have functioned since the company shut them down in 1999.
So for the past eight years, the dust that should have been sucked up by the collectors has ended up instead in the miners' lungs. That is the most serious reason why the miners are out on strike. But there are other dangers. Many machines have no guards, making it easy to lose fingers or worse. Electrical panels have no covers. Holes are open in the floor with no guardrails. Catwalks many stories about the floor are slippery with dust and often grease, and are crisscrossed by cables and hoses. Not long ago, one worker tripped and fell five stories to his death onto a water pump below.

The community is a left community, it is diverse and American Prospect is geared towards Democrats. That's their right and we don't spend time knocking them for it. We're covering mainstream media and independent media and we really aren't able to note things from Democratic Party magazines because we do have Greens and other political party members. Bacon's written an important article -- that was the first and last exception for American Progress. (Short of them hiring Bacon to blog or to be a regular contributor. He's a labor beat reporter and there are so few of them that such a move would probably alter the above and members would be fine with it.)




















pbs

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dave Lindorff, Bill Richardson, cholera

This is from Dave Lindorff's "Remaking Iraq, as Vietnam:"

The Bush/Cheney administration seems hell-bent on making President Bush's seemingly ludicrous analogy of Iraq and Vietnam into a reality.
A few weeks ago, the president drew hoots of derision from critics and pundits for claiming that the US lost the war in Indochina because it pulled out of Vietnam too early. His implication was that even though the country had killed several million Vietnamese and had lost 58,000 of its own troops in years of escalating fighting there, if we had only stayed on and killed and lost even more people, we would have eventually prevailed, and that thus, it would be a mistake to pull out of the quagmire in Iraq.
That analogy and its bloddy-minded "moral" were seriously flawed for two reasons. First of all, the U.S. couldn't stay on and fight in Vietnam, even if it wanted to, because increasingly after 1968, the soldiers on the ground were refusing to fight, and in many cases were in passive or even open revolt against their officers, and besides, they were losing to the infinitely more motivated Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. And secondly, Iraq's insurgents are not coming from another part of the country that is sheltered from attack US troops, the way North Vietnamese regulars were coming down to help their brothers and sisters in South Vietnam,. Iranian troops aren't fighting and dying, or even being captured, in Iraq. It is the Iraqi people who are living in and around the U.S. forces that are fighting them.
No matter. Bush, safe behind his mahogany desk in the Oval Office and his phalanx of Secret Service guards, is now trying to shoehorn Iraq into the model of the Vietnam War that he so famously ducked out of 40 years ago.
Claiming that all of the problems faced by American forces are the fault of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard forces, Bush and his sycophantic backers in the military like Gen. Peaches Petraeus are trying to suggest that, like North Vietnam in that earlier conflict, Iran is sending people and weapons to the fighters in Iraq, and that that's why we're losing.
It's a bald-faced lie. Most of the attacks on American forces for the past four years in Iraq have come from Sunni forces who assuredly are getting no help from Shia Iran. If they are getting outside help, military or financial, it is coming primarily from Saudi Arabia! The Shia militias, like the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army, both of which have leaders who spent long periods of exile in Iran during the Saddam Hussein era, no doubt forged relationships and likely even did receive training in Iran, and probably have also received some financial and other aid from Iranian allies, but for the most part they've steered clear of confrontations with American forces, preferring to target Sunni rivals. And given that the US has been trying mightily to prove a connection between the fragmented Iraqi resistance and Iran, the evidence of any significant flow of arms from Iran into Iraq has been pretty damned pathetic (and even what evidence has been shown looks trumped up).

I'm sure some idiot will write me to slam me for something about and say, "How could you write ___!" Lindorff seems to have a lot of haters. Good. Means he makes a difference. I support what he wrote but I did not write it so all the drive-bys can remember that before they e-mail. Slam me for highlighting it, but don't say, "How dare you write . . . .!" That strong voice is Dave Lindorff's.

Someone else making strong statements this week is Bill Richardson who is running for the Democratic nomination for president. This is from Steve Holland's "Richardson calls for immediate pullout from Iraq:"

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson criticized his rivals on Thursday for failing to back an immediate and complete U.S. troop pullout from Iraq, saying it was time to "get all our troops out now."
In a speech at Georgetown University, the New Mexico governor said Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all had taken a wait-and-see attitude about when to draw down U.S. troops.
"I say there has been enough waiting and seeing," he said. "If you haven't seen enough to know that we need to get all the troops out, then you aren't watching the same war that I and the rest of America are seeing."
Separately, Richardson's camp did not entirely rule out the possibility that he would run for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, in the event Richardson is unable to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll this week said he had 3 percent support. "Right now we're 100 percent committed to winning the White House," said Richard spokesman Tom Reynolds.
In his Iraq speech, Richardson said it was logistically possible to pull out U.S. troops from Iraq in three months or less and redeploy some of them into Afghanistan and some into quick-strike forces based in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.


And this is from CBS' Joy Lin' "Richardson Criticizes Rivals Over Iraq:"

Today, Richardson took on more of his Democratic opponents in what his campaign called a major speech on Iraq and the military. Richardson began the speech by citing the number Americans and Iraqis who have lost their lives. In an effort to distinguish himself from the pack, Richardson said he's tired of "waiting and seeing" if there will be political progress.
"Senator Clinton has reportedly said that she might well have troops still in Iraq at the end of a second term -- 9 years from now," said Richardson. "Senator Obama and John Edwards are unwilling to commit to removing all of the troops by the end of their first term -- that's 5 years from now. I am opposed to 5 years or 9 years or any more years of our troops dying. My colleagues are wrong."
"That's changing the mission, not ending the war," said Richardson. Stating that he had expected "much more" from his Democratic opponents on the war, Richardson named Clinton five times and coupled Obama and Edwards' names three times in his speech.

Bill Richardson's saying the right things while Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards aren't. That's why there's no point in deciding who you're supporting from the start. But notice that Bill Richardson was smart to criticize all three. He wasn't an idiot like Obama and Edwards and just glomming on Hillary. That crap might or might not play with Republicans but it's not going to help them with Democratic primary voters because it looks like two men are ganging up on a woman and the two men are pretty much in line with her on Iraq.

I wouldn't have thought I'd even consider Bill Richardson a few months back. Nothing against it, I just wouldn't think he'd be a serious contender in my own poll. But he has been this summer and that's because he seems to be living in the real world while the three 'front runners' are off in Beltway Land -- far, far from the people whose votes they need. Richardson, Kucinich, Gravel and Dodd. The three 'front runners' seem too determined to run away from reality. And if you're trying to get votes from people while telling them that the majority opinion on Iraq doesn't matter, then what kind of candidate are you? Answer: Crazy John McCain!

Here's some more reality for you. This is on the cholera outbreak in Iraq:

Stamford, CT, October 4, 2007 - AmeriCares and International Medical Corps (IMC) are delivering critical medicines to Iraq in an emergency airlift responding to the cholera outbreak in that country.
Cholera and other forms of dehydrating watery diarrhea have spread through northern Iraq recently, affecting some 30,000 people there. The first cholera cases were reported in Baghdad at the end of September. According to healthcare workers in the country, there is a shortage of medicines to control these disease(s) that can spread widely and rapidly. Cholera is a severe intestinal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that causes a massive loss of fluid and is deadly within hours if not treated. It is spread by contaminated water or food. The cholera and diarrhea outbreak in Iraq is related to the increasing lack and poor quality of drinking water and inadequate sewage systems.


The US is occupying Iraq so why are Iraqis dependent upon relief agencies for the help that the US should be providing? That's a question to ask yourself as the illegal war drags on.


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

Thursday, October 4, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, resistance within the military continues (and McClatchy Newspapers states it's spreading to the top brass), US presidential candidate Bill Richardson says the debate is over and US troops need to leave Iraq now, war resister Robin Long is released from detention, officials continue to be targeted for assassination in Iraq, and more.

Starting with war resisters.
On Tuesday came the news that US war resister Robin Long, who self-checked out and went to Canada, had been arrested in Canada the day prior. Today Dharm Makwana (24 Hours Vancouver) reports, "Robin Long, an American army deserter, was released from Canada Border Services' custody yesterday after an anti-war activist posted a $5,000 cash bond" -- posted by Bob Ages of the War Resisters Support Campaign. The Canadian Press gives the detail of Robin Long's public statement, "A handcuffed Long told reporters at a detention review hearing that he left the U.S. Army two years ago and came to Canada because he felt it was a safe refuge. Immigration officials will conduct a pre-removal risk assessment of Long before deciding whether he will be deported to the U.S." Robin Long has been released from jail, he is not 'free.' Courage to Resist makes it clear: "He still faces a pre-removal risk assessment which could lead to deportation at a later time so the fight is not over yet." Canada's CBC notes that during that "risk" assessment, Long "will live at a home in Delta while reporting to the department [Citizenship and Immigration Canada] once a month." In a TV interview with CBC, Long noted, "It feels good to be out. The fresh air feels really good. . . . When I got arrested and was sitting in the detention cell in Nelson, I was pretty sure I was going home right away. I was pretty sure I would be deported. The way that the immigration officer made it sound, I would be deported Friday. That's not quite what happened and I'm very thankful for that." What happened was Canadians got active and mobilized. Organizations such as the War Resisters Support Campaign and the Canadian Peace Alliance, the New Democratic Party of Canada political party (click here for release in English, here for release in French) and individuals worked very hard and worked very quickly, raising awareness, getting the word out and ensuring that whatever happened would not happen in silence or shielded from the public. The Prince George Citizen reports that Long has to report to the Canada Border Service Agency monthly and quote his attorney Warren Puddicombe stating the monitoring is due to the belief "that if he were removed to the U.S. he might not report voluntarily." John Colebourn (The Province) covers the arrest and adds perspective, "In November, the Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether to hear the cases of U.S. war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. The decision is expected to have an impact on all war resisters now seeking sanctuary in Canada." Referring to that decision, Long told CBC television, "Hopefully something will happen within the next couple of months with the [Canadian] government and maybe some kind of legal action will let us stay here other than the refugee protection."

Other perspective was offered by Rod Mickleburgh (Canada's Globe and Mail) who points out, "His detention on Monday follows the bizarre apprehension earlier this year of Kyle Snyder, another war resister staying in Nelson, who was taken off to jail in the middle of a winter's night, wearing just a toque, a robe and his boxers. Nelson police have refused to say on whose request they detained Mr. Snyder, or why they knocked on his door at 4 a.m. They released him three hours later, after learning that he was legally in Canada as a visitor." The arrest of Kyle Snyder came on the orders of the US and -- though Nelson police seem to have trouble grasping this -- the US cannot order around the police of Canada. After Snyder was arrested, the department and its head, Dan Maluta, repeatedly altered their story on what happened and happened. It was very similar to the way the visit to Winnie Ng's home repeatedly changed. Following the publication of Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale, the US military decided to enter Canada. Accompanied by a Canadian police officer, two members of the US military began searching for Key. The trio went to Winnie Ng's home (she had housed Joshua and Brandi Key along with their children early on when they moved to Canada) and presented themselves -- all three -- as Canadian police as they began questioning her. Ng told her story and was dismissed. She was ridiculed by the police and the US military denied it. But the story didn't go away and finally -- bit by bit -- it was learned that a Canadian police officer did escort two members of the US military around in their search for Key. Everything Winnie Ng said happened, happened. She stuck to her story and her story -- subsquently -- was proven accurate. Which is why the latest sop tossed out by Dan Maluta is greeted with skepticsm and Manluta is under investigation for his actions in Snyder's arrest. In the US media, only Gregory Levey (Salon) covered these earlier instances.

Long explains his reasons for resisting to CBC TV, "Because I feel the war in Iraq is an illegal war of aggression and its an indiscriminate killing of the Arab people and I believe it's all for lies and the wrong reasons so I couldn't with good conscience take part in that conflict. . . . When I joined the army, I thought the war in Iraq was a good thing. I was lied to by my president. I -- The reasons that were given, I thought were valid but just because I joined the army didn't mean I abdicated my ability to evolve intellectually and morally and what I saw in the independent media and even in mainstream media changed my view of what was going on over there. And based on what I learned, I made a decision to desert."

Courage to Resist notes that this isn't over:
We need to keep up the pressure on Canadian politicians for a political solution to the plight of US war resisters. Canada should make a provision for them all to be allowed to stay.
It is urgent that everyone who supports the right of US war resisters to stay in Canada immediately contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley and Leader of the Liberal Party St├ęphane Dion and request that they make a provision to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Fax: 613-941-6900 Email:
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pm@pm.gc.ca This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley Phone: 613-954-1064 (between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) Email:
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Minister@cic.gc.ca
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This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
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St├ęphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party Phone: 613-996-5789 Email:
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dion.s@parl.gc.ca

Long's reasons aren't unique and as the realities of the lies the war was sold and the realities of the lies still being used to sell the illegal war are unmasked, more decide to resist.
Jonah House and Dorothy Day Catholic Worker have issued a petition calling (link goes to Courage to Resist cross-posting) for those serving to "Refuse to fight! Refuse to kill! You are being ordered to war in the footsteps of veterans, who, more than 10 years ago, were sent to fight the first Gulf War. Many of those vets returned with severe and unacknowledge illnesses. Many gave birth to severely deformed children. All were abandoned by the Veterans Administration. You are being ordered to war by a nation whose self-acknowledged posture is that of world domination, mastery, control. This nation can have no moral justification for war."

Ehren Watada is another war resister. In June of 2006, he became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the Iraq War. He cited the illegal nature of the war and his concern that, as an officer, serving would also mean putting those serving under him at risk of war crimes. Prior to going public, Watada spent months working with the military brass on a solution. They gave the impression that is what they wanted but that obviously wasn't the case because not only did they shoot down alternatives (such as Watada serving in Afghanistan), they appeared to be attempting to run the clock out. As Watada's deployment date loomed ever closer, he went public. In August 2006, he faced the Article 32 hearing. In February of this year, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) presided over the court-martial of Watada; however, it didn't go the way the military would have liked with the prosecution's case falling apart on the second day. On the third day, Judge Toilet suddenly declared a problem with a stipulation (which he had seen before the court-martial began, which he had signed off on). He attempted to convince Watada that he (Ehren) now disagreed with the stipulation. Watada stated he didn't disagree. Judge Toilet then tossed out mistrial to the prosecution who didn't immediately grasp the lifeline they were being handed. Once they did, it was all, "Yes, Judge Toilet! We move for a mistrail!" Over defense objection, Judge Toilet declared a mistrial in his attempt to hand the prosecution a "do over." However, that's not how the legal system works in the United States and military courts are as bound by the Constitution as every other court. As Marjorie Cohn (president of the National Lawyers Guild) has noted, double-jeopardy had already attached. Double-jeopardy forbids a defendant being tried more than once for the same offense. Since double-jeopardy had attached, Judge Toilet calling a mistrial (over defense objection) means that the military blew their chances at court-martialing Watada. That's the brief summary thus far. On Tuesday, Watada is scheduled -- Constitution be damnend and shredded apparently -- to face a second court-martial.

Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reports, "In an unusual appeal to civilian courts, attorneys for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada have asked a federal judge in Seattle to block a military court-martial scheduled to start Tuesday at Fort Lewis. Watada faces up to six years in prison on charges of failure to deploy to Iraq and four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer." Bernton notes that in August (one year after the Article 32 hearing) the Army Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the defense claims and that the matter now lies with the Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces. Watada's attorneys have maintained that the best chance is with that court due to its makeup. Currently defense is waiting to hear on the latest round of appeals. Christian Hill (The Olympian) reports, "Their request is pending before the nation's top military court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Worried a decision won't arrive before the court-martial begins, they filed a request Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle seeking a judge's order to stop the trial." Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that the attorneys Kenneth Kagan and Jim Lobsenz (Carney Badley Spellman) are requestin "an emergency stay in a Seattle federal court because the Appeals Court for the Armed Forces has not ruled and the trial date is quickly approaching" and "Among other remedies, Watada's lawyers have asked the federal court in Seattle 'to issue a writ of habeas corpus releasing (Watada) from all restraint imposed by the pending court-martial charges, and declaring any trial on such charges to be barred and prohibited by the double-jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment'." Barber notes that Watada's service contract long ago expired and the military is extending it solely for the court-martial.


There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, 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, 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 [(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.

Turning to peace news,
Andy Sullivan (Reuters) kind of reported on the peace movement yesterday. As Elaine and I noted last night, from the small (United for Peace and Justice has a national cooridnator named Leslie Cagan not "Kagan") to the large (the number of people attending rallies), Sullivan was short on facts. Often the case when you have a 'trend story' to sell. Sullivan's trend was that divisions in the peace movement (which do exist) are resulting in lower turnout (which is not fact). To 'prove' his 'trend,' he had to fudge the facts. Noting that UPFJ held a rally last January with at least 100,000 attending, Sullivan then moved to last month's ANSWER rally which he insisted was attended by only "10,000" people. Those of us present know that is not accurate (we also know A.N.S.W.E.R. was one coalition sponsor for the rally but Sullivan can't be bothered with that because his sub-trend -- his trend within a trend -- is exploring ANSWER's history) and press accounts also reported 100,000 present. To make his trend work, Sullivan has to eliminate 90,000 people. Divisions do exist and that's certainly worth exploring but no honest exploration can take place when a reporter doesn't know the estimated attendance (in this case, heavily reported estimates). In other peace news, on a recent trip to Canada, Ann Wright was stopped at the border and only allowed to enter after much hassle. Wright is retired US State Dept and a retired Col. in the US military. Yesterday, Wright and CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin attempted to enter Canada "crossing near Buffalo to attend a conference sponsored by a Canadian peace coalition in Toronto." As CODEPINK notes, "At the Buaffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. . . . The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience." Benjamin explains, "In my case, the border guard pulled up a file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women's Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition signed by 152,000 women around the world. For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country." Wright declares, "The FBI's placing of peace activists on an international criminal database is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies. The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country." The delivery of the petition Benjamin is speaking of also saw Missy Comley Beattie, Patti Ackerman and Cindy Sheehan arrested for the 'crime' of intent to use freed speech. At Common Dreams, Sheehan writes of the Imagine Peace project Yoko Ono has started to honor her late husband John Lennon, "Peace will only happen when every member of humanity is guaranteed prosperity, health and security which will not happen when we here in the US can't even get off our asses to protest a war that is four and a half years and hundreds of thousands of bodies old, now. We can imagine peace all we want but until each and everyone of us is willing to sacrifice some of our prosperity (because we have already had our security robbed from us by the rotten Republicans and complicit corporate Democrats) true peace -- not just the absence of war -- will be as elusive as a morsel of truth or modicum of courage coming out of Washington, DC. Voluntary sacrifice is truly a revolutionary concept here in the United States of America. So you say you want a revolution? Imagine that." Carolyn Jones (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that a marine recruiting station in Berkeley (sandwiched between UC Berkeley and Berkeley High) is now the site for weekly protests each Wednesday by CODEPINK and Grandmothers Against the War that began last week when the low profile recruiting station was discovered.

From recruiters to the military itself,
Nancy A. Youssef and Renee Schoof (McClatchy Newspapers) report that some of "the nation's top military leaders . . . are beginning to question the mission" and Iraq "and sound alarms about the toll the war is taking on the Army and the Marine Corps." Democrats have NOT been powerless in Congress -- as the reporters maintain -- Democrats have CHOSEN TO BE POWERLESS and it's really disappointing that McClatchy (of all outlets) can't get that fact right. They list six developments they say "have combined" to create the resistance at the top which include the Dems controlling both houses in Congress, Robert Gates replacing Donald Rumsfeld as US Secretary of Defense, government reports declaring that the Iraqi forces are still not able to assume control, concern over Afghanstian (over that war, not over the country, never over the country) and Bully Boy's consistently low polling.

Meanwhile . . .

Bombings?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Around 10 a.m., the deputy governor of Iskandariyah (45 km north of Hilla and 50 km south of Baghdad) was assassinated by a roadside bomb which targeted his convoy in Iskandariyah killing three of his guards and injuring a fourth one." This follows yesterday assassination attempt on the Polish ambassador and the hallmark of the last few weeks -- the continual targeting of officials in Iraq. Aseel Kami and Aws Qusay (Reuters) report that Abbas al-Khafaji had been "a member of the powerful Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council" and that the death toll on his guards now stands at 4. Yesterday, AP reported a list of diplomats from other countries who've been targeted in Iraq. No list on the officials in Iraq who are being targets. They would include the shooting death of a "Sunni tribal leader" (Reuters) who was shot dead in a home invasion yesterday and "a local official in the city of Hilla" shot dead yesterday and "a police brigadier-general" shot dead in Iskandariya yesterday.

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bus bombing claimed 4 lives and left seven more injured while a Baghdad car bombing claimed 1 life and left six more people injured, a Salahuddin roadside bombing that wounded three Iraqi soldiers and a Slahuddin roadside bombing that wounded Sheikh Muawiya Jebara "who died later in the hospital" and claimed the lives of 3 bodyguards. Reuters notes a Tal Afar car bombing that claimed 3 lives and left fifty-seven wounded and a Riyadh motorcycle bombing that injured an Iraqi soldier

Shootings?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports unknown assailants littered a home in Mosul with gunfire leaving one woman wounded and that her son (a member of Patriotic Democratic of Kurdistan) is thought to have been the intended target. Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead outside Kut.

Corpses?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 8 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters reports 1 corpse was discovered in Iskandariya and 1 in Hilla.

Meanwhile
BBC reports that Naif Jassim Mohammed (Iraqi Parliament member of the Iraqi National Accord) is being held by US forces "after he allegedly attended a meeting of suspected al-Qaeda members" and quotes the Accordance Front stating they didn't "know why he had been seized." In the US today, CBS and AP report the House of Represenatives "passed a bill . . . that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts" in a 389-30 vote and quote US House Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee explaining, "There is simply no excuse for the de facto legal immunity for tens of thousands of individuals working in countries" in the US' name -- such as Blackwater and other mercenaries. In other US political news, in addition to problems with covering the peace movement, Reuters also had trouble covering the realities of the three Democratic front runners. As Mike noted yesterday, the three front runners, when asked if they could promise that by the end of their first term of office (2013 -- if any of the 3 were elected) they could promise that US troops would be out of Iraq, they refused to make the promise. Hillary Clinton: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting."John Edwards: "I cannot make that commitment." Barack Obama: "I think it's hard to project four years from now." Yet Reuters apparently missed that bit of televised reality last week and elected to present both Edwards and Obama as candidates promising to end the illegal war when the reality is that they are not at all different from Clinton when it comes to the illegal war. Bill Richardson (along with Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Chris Dodd) have stronger plans to end the illegal war. Today, Steve Holland (Reuters) reports that Richardson is saying the US needs to "get all our troops out now"; "I say there has been enough waiting and seeing. If you haven't enough to know that we need to get all the troops out, then you aren't watching the same war that I and the rest of America are seeing"; "The foundation of my Iraq plan is this: Get out now. Get all our troops out now."

Today
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) spoke with Susan Faludi about her new book.

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest, Susan Faludi, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, her latest book, The Terror Dream, just out this week, Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America. Susan, talk about Jessica Lynch. Who was she? Tell us her story.
SUSAN FALUDI: Jessica Lynch, as probably most people remember, was a private in an Army maintenance company who went into Iraq in March of 2003, and her unit was basically left behind in the rush to get to Baghdad. The rest of the convoy zoomed ahead. And she wound up, along with, you know, the rest of her company, being ambushed in Nasiriyah. A number of her fellow soldiers were taken captive. She was terribly injured in a car wreck, where the Humvee she was in crashed into a Mack truck, and it jackknifed. So she wound up in an Iraqi hospital. And there was a great rescue drama that ensued.
The story we heard originally was that these, you know, Special Ops teams of brave men, armed with a night vision video camera so they could film themselves, came battling into this Iraqi hospital, which was supposedly overrun with Fedayeen death squads, and they rescued Lynch. The military hustled out a video of this drama only three hours later and woke up all the reporters in the middle of the night so they could see it.
Well, as it turns out, there was no battle. I mean, it took them six minutes, and there wasn't one casualty. And there were no Fedayeen death squads, as the military actually knew, because they had been alerted by an Iraqi translator. It was just, you know, a bunch of doctors and nurses trying to take care of Lynch and actually trying to return her to the US military.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain.

SUSAN FALUDI: Well, they bundled her into an ambulance and tried to drive her back, and they got to the military checkpoint, and American soldiers started shooting at the ambulance, so they had no choice but to go back to the hospital.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Jessica Lynch testifying before Congress on April 24 of this year.
JESSICA LYNCH: At my parents' home in Wirt County, West Virginia, it was under siege by media, all repeating the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills of West Virginia who went down fighting. It was not true. I have repeatedly said, when asked, that if the stories about me helped inspire our troops and rally a nation, then perhaps there was some good. However, I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend, when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were legendary.
AMY GOODMAN: Former Private Jessica Lynch. Go on from there, and also tell us about her book, her autobiography, supposedly.

SUSAN FALUDI: Well, right after the rescue, the media sort of bought this story hook -- the American media bought this story hook, line and sinker. I mean, it was ultimately debunked by the British media, which went back and actually talked to the Iraqi doctors and nurses. It turned out she had extraordinarily attentive care and that this was -- that the stories of her being abused and, you know, slapped and, as the media kept insinuating, tortured, were not true. She, herself, was in the hospital and couldn't speak for herself, so everybody else did speak for her.

As Faludi notes in The Terror Dream, when Lynch did speak, the media ignored her. They were too busy finding 'male heroes' to be bothered:

Four months after that terrible accident, Lynch spoke publicly for the first time at a homecoming event in Elizabeth, West Virginia. She chose to focus her remarks on the soldier whose support had meant the most to her. Lori Piestewa, she said, "fought beside me, and it was an honor to have served with her. Lori will always be in my heart." Later, when reporters asked Lynch how she mustered the will to live in that hospital room thousands of miles from home, her body a mass of broken bones, she always told them, "Lori helped me get through." Lynch said there were moments when she saw her dead friend's spirit perched at the foot of her bed, assuring her that everything would be OK.
The media, though, had little interest in the story of the Native American woman who had protected her sister in arms. The story in Rolling Stone was one of a very few exceptions, and that profile of Piestewa ran more than a year after the event. The headline read, accurately enough, "
The Forgotten Soldier." [Rebecca noted Faludi's new book yesterday.]

Heads up on PBS'
Bill Moyers Journal (this Friday in most markets, check local listings -- and it's a listen, watch and read online after the episode airs) when Moyers explores the group Christians United for Israel and also speaks to Rabbi Michael Lerner and Dr. Timothy Weber on the topic of? Should the US strike Iran. A YouTube preview is up and, at the program's website, essays on the topic will be posted as well. Again, the hour long show begins airing on most PBS markets on Friday (check local listings -- and at the website, you can also locate the airtime for your local PBS station). Also Friday on most PBS markets, NOW with David Brancaccio airs their latest half hour installment and this week interview Michael Apted about his owngoing documentary where he tracks a group of British people every seven years, energy conversation will be addressed with a report on Decorah, Iowa and Ken Burns will be interviewed about his latest documentary The War. On October 12th, NOW with David Brancaccio will air a one hour program, "Child Brides: Stolen Lives" documenting "the heartbreaking global phenomenon of forced child marriage, and the hope behind breaking the cycle of poverty and despair it causes." They've created an e-Card you can send to friends and family or to yourself to provide a heads up to the broadcast (and there is no cost to send the e-Card).


















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