Monday, Monday, can't trust that day. :D Actually, pretty good for a Monday. Let's kick things off with a smile. Here's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Caroline Speaks"
I'm guessing Caroline Kennedy is supposed to shore up The National Enquirer vote? I don't see her shoring up the Irish-Catholic vote. Ted might help with that but Caroline's not considered Irish-Catholic. She's too WASPy. I can't imagine, outside the tabloids, she speaks to many. Or for many. She always has to say she's a patriot. What's that about? Is there concern that the Kennedys aren't? Or is there just concern about her? She's like Laura Bush with a less charming smile.
I'll talk about the way Amy Goodman spat on peace today in a moment. Right now, let's talk The Third Estate Sunday Review:
Truest statement of the week -- Glen Ford and he gets not one but two.
Truest statement of the week II -- Again, Glen Ford and he got two because they are audio with no transcript. There were other nominees but we all agreed to go with Ford for both because CounterSpin doesn't do a weekly transcript (sometimes one interview will appear in the bi-monthly magazine).
A Note to Our Readers -- Jim breaks down the edition.
Editorial: War resistance and war resisters matter... -- I really love this. We were all tired and were actually considering making another feature (about 90% written already) the editorial just to get some sleep. Then C.I. pointed out the obvious, "We haven't written one word about the actions to pressure the Canadian government to grant asylum to war resisters." We hadn't. There was a groan (me, Wally and I think Ty) but we all agreed we needed to do it. So we did. Unlike some people, we did what needed to be done. Even though we were tired. Check your alleged 'independent' media to find out who else did any work.
TV: Cullum's Big B.O. -- I told you on Friday this was going to be something. I told you watching the DVD made Ava and C.I. sick, physically sick. I didn't lie. This is brilliant. Elaine was talking about the tension they create in the writing and I really didn't notice that until she pointed it out but that's true. And probably part of the reason it's such a great read. You've got humor, you've got a stunning critique, you've got everything. Another instant classic from Ava and C.I.
Roundtable -- This wasn't planned. We were supposed to do a book discussion of Naomi Wolf's book. This happened at the last minute. And even though it's strong and has many great parts, for me the big point is that The Nation declared a winner in South Carolina before even 15% of the votes had been counted. That's not journalism.
What doesn't get covered -- We narrowed down our focus to one thing that wasn't getting covered (Iraq related) but we could have gone on and on. This was the piece that, when we were all tired, there was some discussion about just makng it an editorial. It's strong enough to be one.
Smut Merchant of the Week: Matthew Rothschild -- Matthew Rothschild disgraced himself last week. He owes readers and visitors to The Progressive and apology.
The Primary System -- CounterSpin got mentioned in three articles this week and that's becuase it was so strong last Friday. This is about how Michigan and Florida are being punished & bullied among other things.
Ty's beef -- Ty really was about to lose it when that woman kept calling and calling. I didn't realize how much nonsense can get piled up on one person. C.I. suggested we do this as a feature (the woman was calling at like three in the morning or something) and Ty was like, "No, forget it." But Ty was wound like a clock. He was so tense. You could hear it in his voice. And when we did start writing this, you could hear him relax as he just got it out.
Laura Flanders' Blue Grit reissued in new format -- Blue Grit's out in paperback.
Highlights -- Kat, Betty, Rebecca, Cedric, Wally, Elaine and I wrote this and picked the highlights.
Bambi & the Kingpin -- repost of a Wally & Cedric piece using a Joni Mitchell song (which Cedric knows via Tina Turner's new recording of it and which Wally knows the original thanks to his mother).
"Democracy For Who!" -- Repost of Ava and C.I.'s Democracy Now! parody.
Here's who worked on the edition plus Dallas who pulls together the links and more:
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,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
and Wally of The Daily Jot
Now, in a second, you'll get C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot." When you do, you'll see C.I. made a choice to emphasize war resisters. C.I. covers them in every snapshot, true. But C.I. made them the bulk of the snapshot today and just underscored how it could be done even though independent media doesn't. Independent media doesn't give a damn about war resisters and that was really clear when Amy Goodman 'noted' war resisters on Democracy Now! today. She reduced it a headline and not a lead headline. It was the 16th headline. After a lot of nonsense, the kind Goodman's becoming infamous for.
And because she doesn't cover war resistance anymore, she screwed up big time. Here's one sentence, "A group of Iraq War veterans and peace activists protested outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington Saturday calling for the government to allow hundreds of US war resisters to remain in Canada." Uh, no, Amy Goodman. The DC action took place on Friday. Repeating, it took place on Friday. It's reduced to headlines and she can't even get the day right. Do you get how damn little she follows or cares about war resistance?
When you read the snapshot, grasp how easily it would have been for Amy Goodman to have done a full show on war resisters. Instead, they didn't even get a segment. She was too busy going to Indonesia -- mainly to promote herself and to trash Clinton.
She could have talked about things that matter. Instead, she offered a clip fest on Indonesia -- a story we get over and over from the show. One person died and it was time to go to Indonesia again and hear crazy Allan Nairn again. What is it, 142 times he's appeared on the program now? I never need to hear him speak again after he created that "Bambi takes money from big business but just because if he didn't they might attack him" excuse/nonsense. He stopped being a journalist on that day in my book. Just one more Bambi cheerleader. One more liar. Which is too bad because I once liked his work. But journalists are like those cheap t-shirts you buy from a street vendor. They look good for a few washes and then they fall apart.
That's going to be it. Blogger/Blogspot's acting up and I was also watching Bully Boy lie through his teeth during the State of the Union address. And watching Nancy Pelosi make a fool of herself. And really everybody. What was with all that applause. And don't forget Pelosi -- supposed opposition leader -- stood up and forced a standing ovation. It was so disgusting. It was just disgusting.
I thought I was done but C.I. just called to tell me John Edwards (that would be my candidate) has posted a response to the State of the Union speech. I go, "What's it say?" C.I. hasn't seen it, a friend with the campaign called to pass that on. This is "Edwards Response To The State Of The Union Address:"
"The president tonight renewed his call for an economic recovery plan. But the plan he and Congress have offered leaves out tens of millions of Americans who need help the most. This plan would take months to have any impact, and the people I meet everyday on the campaign trail do not have months to wait. These people are hurting now and need this help now. Over the past seven years, typical workers' paychecks have failed to keep up with inflation, millions of families are facing the loss of their homes to foreclosures, health insurance premiums have doubled, and families are spending $1,000 more a year on gasoline. The State of the Union may be interesting political theater, but until we find bold solutions to the challenges facing the country, we will be stuck with the same old small, Washington answers.
"And in the chamber of the House of Representatives where the president speaks, even though this Congress stopped listening to him a while ago, they will still applaud and cheer him. The truth is that Washington is out of touch with what's happening across the country. Between now and January of 2009, Democrats must stand up to this president, stand up for what's right, so he does not continue to forget about the middle class in this country."
Yeah! That's my reaction. In better words. But he summed up exactly what I was thinking watching and that's why he's my candidate, he gets it. He's not trying to talk pretty with a beautiful sermon that carries no weight because it actually has no meaning. He's just calling it like it is.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, January 28, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, the US and Canada sees support for war resisters, and more.
Starting with war resistance. "Every training that I went through as a US soldier and as a non-commissioned officer was that we had an obligation to refuse illegal order when the time came -- and I knew that the war in Iraq was wrong and I knew that the war in Iraq was illegal -- and I didn't have the courage to stand up for my convictions and say no at the time these young men and women do have that they have that courage of conviction and I think it's something that we should foster and we shouldn't turn our backs on," Iraq Veterans Against the War Geoff Millard explains to Aaron Glantz (The War Comes Home). Supporting war resisters? On Friday, actions took place in the US and on Saturday in Canada to show support for war resisters who had gone to Canada and ask the Canadian Parliament to provide a safe haven for them. Millard was among at least fifty people participating Friday on DC at the Canadian Embassy. The CBC quotes Millard stating, "These war resisters are leaving the U.S. not because they're afraid to fight in a war but because their conscience will not allow them to fight in a war that clearly violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Accord." Jeff Paterson (here for Indybay Media, here for Courage to Resist) reported on the rally at the San Francisco Canadian Consulate (photos and text) noting Ying Lee, Stephen McNeil were among the many present and that "Pablo Paredes, a former sailor turned Iraq War resister and current GI Rights Hotline counselor, and Mike Wong, a Vietnam War era veteran who chose exile in Canada for five years, hand delivered the letters to Canadian Consul Nadia Scipio Del Campo, Political/Economic Relations and Public Affairs, on behalf of the larger delegation." Paterson's report is pooled with other at Courage To Resist including Gerry Condon who reports from Seattle and notes, "Thanks to all for your great work on this! Regardless of how much media coverage we may or may not get in the U.S., these actions weren't really aimed at people in the U.S. so much as they were aimed at the Canadian government and people, and our brother and sister war resisters. But we have achieved a valuable goal in the U.S. too. This is the first nationally coordinated actions in the U.S. in support of our war resisters in Canada." Condon's more kind regarding the lack of media attention in the US than I am. The reason for the pressure is that November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. That most likely means that war resisters not as far in the appeals process (to receive asylum in Canada) would meet the same fate. Hinzman and Hughey were the first public resisters in Canada (during the Iraq War).
Friday Katharine Jarmul (Free Speech Radio News) reported on the day's events.
Katharine Jarmul: War resistance supporters protested today in front of Canadian Embassies in major US cities to push the Canadian government to allow war resisters and their families to stay in Canada. Although some veterans go public with their stories, many other soldiers quietly flee the conflict, going AWOL at bases around the county. According to Army figures, in 2006, the number of desertions broke 3,000. In 2007, 4698 soldiers deserted. The Canadian government was a strong supporter of Vietnam war resistance but the current conservative government offers a much colder response to the fleeing veterans. At least two more veterans are currently facing deportation proceedings in Canada despite their assertion of refugee status as soldiers fleeing what they call an illegal war. Steve Theberge works for the War Resisters League in New York City. He explains the current political climate in Canada.
Steve Theberge: The majority of Canadians, Canadian citizens support letting war resisters stay. Their reception has been very warm. They've been welcomed by the peace and justice community and by folks who live in Canada in general. It's interesting because the Canadian government in many ways is not representing the popular perspective of people across the country.
Katharine Jarmul: Iraq Veterans Against the War was founded in 2004 the organization, made primarily of US service members, calls for immediate withdrawal of troops, reparations for Iraqi citizens and full mental and physical coverage for veterans returning from the war. Jose Vasquez is a board member and president of the New York City chapter. He says veteran war resistance is nothing new to the United States but it does signify a strong critique of the current war
Jose Vasquez: The people that have to live the reality of the policies that are set at the highest level by of government have some real questions about the reasons that we are being given to continue there and also don't see their stories reflected in the mainstream media.
Katharine Jarmul: The Canadian War Resisters Support Campaign has protests and rallies scheduled for Saturday in many cities throughout Canada. The group hopes to support a recent motion by the Canadian Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to allow war resisters and their families to remain in the country. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Katharine Jarmul in Washington, DC.
To the north, Carol Mulligan (The Sudbury Star) focused on war resister Michael Espinal in the lead up to Saturday's actions in Canada and noted that he would be attending the Saturday rally "with his pregnant partner" Jennifer Harrison and that, "Espinal participated in the siege of Fallujah when he was serving with the U.S. military in Iraq. Hundreds of civilians were killed in the attack, and Espinal suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experience there." Rachel Punch (Sudsbury Star) notes today that the Sudbury rally had approximately 20 people and Reverand David Nicol's speech included this statement, "They had the boldness and the braveness to say 'no' and we need to respect them for that." On Saturday, Caroline Franks of 580 CFRA News Talk Radio noted the rallies taking place to call for safe haven to be granted to US war resisters in Canada.
That's one story and there are many. Sgt. Allen Robert "Robby" Keller explained his journey to Canada in "Sgt. Keller in his own words" (Daytona Beach News-Journal) on Saturday:
I was having an emotional breakdown at work, seeking aide from the combat stress people we had there. I told them of my lack of sleep and loss of appetite. They put me on a med called Seroquel. It was not working for me too well for I was having bad dreams and was unable to focus. During a fire fight, when I was shot at, I froze, which was something that never had happened to me in any of my past engagements. It was not fear, but it was me thinking of my family, it was all that was rushing tough my head. In a few days the preterm problems at home were getting bad. I rushed and traded out my leave dates with another solider and came home earlier. The night I came home in early December, my wife went right into early labor. We went to the hospital in NY. She was only 33 weeks, so they stopped the labor and gave her meds. We went home and enjoyed some time together. We started to have a bit of a falling out, when I told her it was out of my power to go back to Iraq and that I would have to go. She kept telling me she couldn't do it all alone and why should she have to. I told her that I did not want to leave her and the kids. I was very stressed out about our new born son, who had some health concerns; going back to Iraq; finance issues; and just so much was going on in my head. I still was not sleeping or eating right I just did not have the urge.So I went to mental health, where they said that they wanted to treat me further, but could not, due to the nature of my deployment and the fact they could not hold me back unless I was either suicidal or homicidal. So they put me on new meds called "TRAZODONE". The new pills help me sleep more at night, so at this point in the story I'm stuck because I know I have a big issue and that I need to fix it and take back control, but the Army just will not allow it. So what I did was go to my representative for my Unit here in the States and he got a hold of my Commander. I talked to my Commander a few times on the phone and he kept telling me that he understands and that he was on my side with this issues. He believes in family and my well being. My Commander knows me as a person. We have talked several times before and I had even seen him before I left Iraq to tell him about my issues a bit, so this was not a fully new issue to him. At this time I'm doing the right thing. By going to my Chain of Command, and trying to get this all settled the right way. My Commander told me that there was nothing he could do for me except write a letter to the Battalion Commander on my behalf. Witch he did...My wife wanted to be close to family and did not want to be in the States. I really wanted the baby born in the States, but at this time nothing was going my way, so I followed her up to Canada. On Christmas Eve she went in to labor again and on Christmas morning at 6:01 a.m., we had our new baby boy, Grai Jacob William Keller. Christmas night I got a voicemail from my Commander telling me, all that he could advise at this time was for me to get on the plane and head back to Iraq. I was to leave on the December 26th at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. My Commander told me that there was too much going on in Iraq at this time to settle my problem right now and that they would want me to come back and fix it there. I know what they have to offer there and there's nothing to fix me over there, so after spending 2 days in the hospital with my wife and son, I made up my mind that I was not going back. I was staying to be with my family. No matter what.So now I'm AWOL and on the run but to me it is worth it 100%! I've done my time. I fought the battles (and continue to do so every time I fall asleep) and I came home and I'm staying home. The Army can take the hard road, but bring your worst, because I'm not going back to Iraq. As of Jan 26th, 2008, I should be officially marked AWOL. I make myself eat, because I know that I must. I can't stand crowds around me, so shopping for our children, before Christmas was almost impossible. I believe that I'm suffering from undiagnosed post traumatic stress and when you have that, you suffer and so does everyone around you. I've suppressed my issues and as long as I'm awake, I seem to be fine. After much struggle, when I can finally fall asleep, I have hideous dreams that are so real. My wife can't sleep in the same bed as me, because apparently I jerk, talk out loud and moan all night long, so she lays beside me, so that we can cuddle and be close, but when I finally fall asleep, she has to get up and go into the next room. When I wake up in the morning, I follow her into that bed, because I need to feel her beside me again. I need to know that "she" is not just a good dream. I wake up exhausted. I believe that my problems sleeping are caused by a fear of dreaming. My dreams bring me back to Iraq every night.
Along with Robby Keller telling his story, Audrey Parente (Daytona Beach News-Journal) also reported on it, "For the first time in his four-year military career, during his second deployment, Keller was losing control, having an emotional breakdown. He made it safely out of the streets and sought help. He was soon going to be headed home on leave to Holly Hill. He had "aid from the combat stress people" in the form of medication, and surely everything would be OK. While Keller was on leave, his wife went into early labor, and on Christmas Day she had her baby boy in Canada, her native land. Keller was supposed to be away from his post for only a few weeks, but on Dec. 26 things changed. That's when Keller went absent without leave. He hasn't returned to his unit, and as of today he remains in Canada and will be dropped from the rolls at Fort Drum, N.Y., as a deserter and a warrant will be issued for his arrest."
Jenny Yuen (Toronto Sun) focused on two war resisters who were now living in Canada: Jeremy Hinzman and Chuck Wiley. Hinzman spoke to approximately 300 people Saturday at the Bloor Street United Church in Toronto where he explained, "I was trained to be desensitized to humanity. The way you learn to kill is start by shooting weapons and, week by week, they become more human and you don't even realize it." If the Canadian Parliament does not take action, Hinzman fears he could be exiled from Canada within five months. Chuck Wiley served for 17 years in the US military before serving in the Iraq War forced him to self-checkout and go to Canada and declared at the Toronto gathering, "I actually thought we were good guys, helping the world. I learned early on that the truth is never afraid of honest inquiry." AM 640 Toronto notes, "Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae and federal NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow also spoke at the rally."
You can still make your voice heard and three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, 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, Clara 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
On Sunday, Deborah Sontag and Lizette Alvarez (New York Times) continued their series on veterans returning with PTSD and the effects that has on them and the people around them when they seriously need help and are dealing with a health care system that is falling apart. The reporters focus on Iraq War veteran James Allen Gregg who murdered James Fallis after Fallis and another man beat him at a local hangout (the Pit Stop) which led Gregg to be sentenced to 21 years. In the trrial, Gregg took the stand and was asked didn't the US military build the minds of soldiers? He responded, "Not really. They actually break down your mind. . . . They break down your mind, and then they try to build you back up." "Into a killer?" he was asked and he replied, "Yes." Gregg maintains that his military training kicked in in the lead up to the shooting.
Earlier this month, IVAW's Jen Hogg addressed the claims circulating by some that the New York Times is doing a disservice with this series and distorting veterans, "It's too easy to blame a NYT article or the anti-war movement. It is also false. In March Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) will be conducting the Winter Soldier testimony for just this type of reason, to show that service in the military can lead to things you may not agree with but it is imperative that we understand the service members who do them are influenced by the military itself and are most often not 'bad apples'. It is high time we start looking at our military policy instead of blaming those on the ground who are just doing their job. Left, right, conservative, liberal and everything else if you care about the troops you want to make sure they are able to work in the most just situation possible. Winter Soldier aims to show just how unjust the rules have been made. Any person who actually cares about the troops will want to see the issues that the NYT article brings up addressed and resolved. Recently one family of a woman murdered by a combat Marine stated that they don't want to see the man who murdered their daughter, the father of their two grand children, to use his military experience as an excuse for his actions. It's unfortunate that ones military experience is being used in the justice system to put a family through more pain as a senseless murder turns into a blameless one as well. This is where I have the biggest problem with those who downplay the NYT article as 'smearing' the troops. I believe there are two aspects to these crimes, the lead-up and the punishment. I think it is disgusting and utterly reprehensible for anyone to say that it is a smear campaign to research the pain that veterans are going through in order to attempt to find ways to stop the taking of life once they are off the battlefield." Hogg writes at length on the topic, that's just an excerpt.
Over the weekend, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorialized on the topic of Bully Boy's attempt to circumvent Congress and the Constitution and ensare US forces in Iraq for many years to come noting very clearly that the administration was utilizing "slyly edited statements, woven to obscure their true meaning and aim: What's being crafted is a treaty" and suggesting the people "Imagine what this will mean for the next adminstration: A pre-packaged deal, leaving our military stuck in Iraq for decades to come, to guard against 'external threats' -- which external threats are they talking about?" In other news, The Iraqi Diplomates Association has issued an urgent appeal to the International Committee of the Red Cross:
The Iraqi sectarian Government established under the US occupation is about to agree with the occupying power to transfer all Iraqi prisoners of war (POW) and detainees held in the Baghdad International Airport prison from US authority to its authority. This information was confirmed by the American airport prison authority who informed the defense lawyers of Iraqi POW that beginning with 31 March 2008 it will relinquish the responsibility of their safety during their visits to the prison .This means that the handover is imminent, and a new carnage is about to take place, similar to that when president Saddam Hussein and his comrades were handed over to the same sectarian Government and its Militias. The International public opinion witnessed the mockery of law of the illegal Iraqi High Criminal Court .In addition to its illegal status, the court lacks the minimum conditions for fair trial .This illegal Court was established mainly to revenge Iraqi legitimate leadership and to propagate the sectarianism and ethnic cleansing in Iraq . Iraqi POW and detainees could also face summary execution and dropped in the streets of Baghdad as (unidentified tortured and killed bodies). The ICRC has a permanent mandate to take impartial action to uphold International Humanitarian Law , supervise its implementation, denounce its violations ,and endeavors to stop these violations .The ICRC is well aware that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546(2004), which pretended the end of US occupation of Iraq , was a flagrant violation of the International Law. Iraq is still under the rule of the occupying power. Thus, the rules of the International Humanitarian Law are still applicable to the Iraqi POW and detainees in US detention centers. Article 118 of Third Geneva Convention of 1949 stipulates that (Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.). The US declared the end of its military operations in Iraq the first of May 2003. Furthermore, the US did not announce any judicial prosecution on Iraqi PWO during their detention, which could justify the continuation of their detention.
Last week, the bulk of the media was pimping Iraq's "new" flag as a sign of progress. One exception was Leila Fadel (Baghdad Observer, McClatchy Newspapers) who noted, "The latest version of the Iraq flag, which is to be raised across the nation and in Iraq embassies immediately, is temporary. . . . it is another band-aid solution. The constitution requires that the parliament pass a new law to pick a flag for Iraq and a national anthem. . . . In technical terms Iraq still has no flag and no anthem. Little has been decided that lasts in Iraq. The heads of political blocs put the problem off for another year. In a year maybe the problem will again be solved at a later date." Over the weekend, Fadel and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) followed up on the topic noting, "Officials in Iraq's mostly Sunni Muslim Anbar province are refusing to raise Iraq's new national flag, which the parliament approved earlier this week. . . . Although parliament speaker Mahmoud al Mashhadani said the new flag would be raised immediately across Iraq after the parliament approved it Tuesday, it's nowhere to be seen. In fact, when the parliament met Wednesday, the old flag was still behind the speaker and his two deputies."
This as CBS and AP report, "Facing criticism that the Iraqi government has failed to take advantage of the lull in violence to make political progress, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to form a new government if ministers from the main Sunni bloc refused to end a boycott of his Cabinet. Six Sunni Arab ministers quit al-Maliki's government in August to protest his perceived Shiite bias, but the main Sunni Accordance Front raised hopes it could reconsider the decision after the Iraqi parliament approved a law that would open the way for low-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to reclaim government posts and pensions." The puppet of the occupation, al-Maliki, is threatening a new cabinet and he's actually made that threat before, mere months ago, in fact. This is the puppet who was installed with the promise that he would assemble a cabinet quickly and push through the theft of Iraqi oil legislation the US government wanted. It still hasn't worked out that way. In April of 2006 he was made puppet and had one promise after another as the world waited and waited for him to assemble a cabinet. When he finally did it was mere months before ministers began leaving the cabinet. Meanwhile BBC reports that the truce Moqtada al-Sadr had agreed to (widely credited with cutting down on attacks) is "due to expire at the end of February" and al-Sadr's "allies" are stating "that they had urged him to follow through on threats not to extend a ceasefire . . . They are angry at the continued pursuit by US and Iraqi forces of so-called rogue elements not observing the ceasefire." CNN reports today that the Central Bank in Baghdad caught fire today and "spread to three floors of the five-sotry structure".
On Sunday, the Iraqi Red Crescent released a report on last week's Mosul bombing (Wednesday) noting that the death toll was much higher than reported. The report [PDF format warning] is entitled "Zanjili Incident -- Ninawa Governorate" which opens, "The violent actions in Iraq continues as more than 60 people were killed and 280 wounded in a massive bomb attack on Wednesday 23 January 2008, at 4:30 pm. The attack destroyed a building and adjacent houses in Zanjili area in Mosul, Iraq's third main city and capital of Ninawa governorate. The Zanjili area lies 3 km to the west of Mosel city center. The residents of the Zanjili area are mainly destitute families. The attack led to the destruction of at least 100 houses. Initial statistics reported the killing of 28 people, as 28 dead bodies were registered at the Forensic Medicine department. But many families had buried their killed relatives immediately after the attack without getting them registered. This had brought the estimate of the number of killed people to 60; most of them were children, women and elderly." On Wednesday the little covered by Little Media bombing was already known to have killed at least 15. By Thursday, the toll was being placed at 40. As noted Thursday night, "The Iraq War hasn't stopped. A real independent media would be covering it. They'd be covering the 'Awakening' Councils, they'd be refuting the 'success' of the escalation. They'd damn well be noting that a bombing in Mosul yesterday resulted in 40 deaths and 220 wounded. Instead, they want to 'cover' the campaigns." The death toll is now at 60.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 3 lives and left ten wounded and a Basra roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives -- "seucrity guards . . . who work for 'Heart' which is responsible for transferring generators from Kuwait to Iraq."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Anbar Province that resulted in 1 death, Tariq Bdr Al-Deen.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today the US military announced: "Coalition Force Soldiers were conducting a mounted patrol in Ninewah Jan. 28 when insurgents detonated an improvised explosive device, killing five Soldiers. Insurgents attacked the other Soldiers in the patrol with small fire from a nearby mosque." Paul Tait and Wisam Mohammed (Reuters) note the five deaths made the bombing "one of the deadliest single attacks against American forces in months." Kim Gamel and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) state it was "a daring ambush" where, following the bombing, assailants "showered survivors with gunfire from a mosque" and note that the deadliest day for the US military this year was January 9th. That's when the US military announced: ""Six Multi-National Division -- North Soldiers were killed by a house born improvised explosive device while conducting operations in Diyala Jan. 9. Additionally, four MND-N Soldiers were injured in the explosion and evacuated to a Coalition Forces' hospital." Haroon Siddique (Guardian of London) observes, "Today's fatalities come before President George Bush's final state of the union address, when he is expected to emphasise recent security gains in Iraq." Sunday the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldier was killed Jan. 26 while conducting a dismounted patrol near Kadamiyah when an improvised explosive device detonated." And they announced (also Sunday): "A Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldier was killed Jan. 27 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive devise in northeastern Baghdad. " ICCC's current total for the month thus far is 36 with 3940 being the number for US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. Since Sunday January 20th, the US military has announced 13 deaths.
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