Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jeremy Scahill, Leila Fadel, Joshua Kors

Hump day, hump day. Doesn't seem like it due to the holiday. I wanted to note Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "GOP Attack Machine" last night but couldn't because the spacing was off, so here it is now:


The Polk awards were noted in yesterday's snapshot and due to the fact that 'internationally' concerned Amy Goodman couldn't note Leila Fadel, I thought I'd note the three that mattered most -- the ones who won for Iraq. First up, Jeremy Scahill won for his book on the mercenaries operating in Iraq and elsewhere. This is from Kristina Lindgren's "Polk award is bittersweet for 'Blackwater' author:"

Winning the prestigious George Polk award is bittersweet vindication for investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill. His book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," was ignored by most major news organizations (including this one) when it was released in February 2007.
Readers found it though, putting Scahill on the Los Angeles Times and New York Times bestseller lists long before Blackwater Worldwide security forces killed 17 and wounded 24 Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad thoroughfare last September. And with debate dragging on over whether Blackwater and other security firms (which operate in numbers rivaling actual U.S. military forces in Iraq) should remain immune from prosecution, still more attention to Scahill's book is likely to follow.
"It took 17 innocent Iraqi civilians being gunned down in the streets of Baghdad for [Blackwater] to become a page one story," Scahill wrote in an e-mail. "If, in any way, winning this award means that efforts to hold Blackwater and other mercenary forces accountable for their killings and other crimes will intensify, that would mean infinitely more to me than any accolades for the book."
For Scahill, a central -- and still largely underreported -- story of the Iraq war has to do with the U.S. hiring of private military contractors, with North Carolina-based Blackwater being one of the largest, to extend its reach in war zones. These "secretive, shadow forces . . . have regularly killed Iraqis, shot at civilians and committed crimes in Iraq over the past five years in a climate where impunity and immunity have gone hand-in-hand," said the correspondent for the Nation and the national TV and radio program Democracy Now!. "They have not been held accountable under any legal system and continue their armed activities in Iraq to this moment."

The third name mentioned in the article above is Leila Fadel and she won for foreign reporting. She is based in Iraq. This is from an article about her by Sarah Behari entitled "Former S-T reporter honored for Iraq coverage:"

Fadel joined the Star-Telegram in 2004 and worked for the paper until December 2006, covering crime in Northeast Tarrant County and, later, higher education in Arlington.
She also traveled to Baghdad three times for six-week reporting stints, and she went once to Lebanon to cover the Lebanese-Israeli conflict.
Her work on those assignments caught the attention of John Walcott, McClatchy's Washington, D.C., bureau chief. "Leila has made an enormous contribution to America's understanding of what's going on in Iraq," Walcott said. "Her reporting is based on what's happening on the streets, not what's happening behind the walls of the Green Zone."
Fadel said she tries to write about everyday people going about their business. In the last year, she wrote about Iraqi widows struggling to rebuild their lives, the raucous celebrations after Iraq won the Asian Cup soccer tournament, and the hardships of Shiite and Sunni intermarriage.
In September, Fadel traveled from Baghdad west through Anbar province into Jordan, a route once notorious for hijackings, kidnappings and roadside bombs. She chronicled the seven-hour trek in a first-person narrative.
Fadel said the Polk Award also belongs to her Iraqi staff members, whom she called courageous and dedicated. "Everything I've done here, I've done with them," she said. "They help me with every piece of reporting."
Edward Hershey, a member of the Polk selection committee for about 30 years, said Fadel's portfolio immediately stood out from the others. "It's credible and devastating at the same time," Hershey said. "Her work reminded us anew of what's going on in Iraq."

Joshua Kors won for magazine writing and his focus was the veterans benefits scandal. He is a free lance writer and the magazine was The Nation. Here's some info on him from his website:

From 2004 to 2005 he worked at Northern California's top-rated news station, KCBS - AM in San Francisco, while reporting on politics and education for Knight Ridder's Contra Costa Times.
In 2003 he earned a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in New York. There he covered the African-American and Hassidic communities of Flatbush, Brooklyn.

He is also a finalist for another award:

The Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has announced the six 2008 finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting. The winner will be announced March 18 in an awards ceremony at the school.The Goldsmith Prize honors investigative pieces that expose corruption, secrecy, and mismanagement in government or the opposite -- instances of responsible governing. The finalists for this year's competition wrote stories on a range of topics, from Chinese exports to local government corruption.
"In a period when news organizations are cutting back on their budgets, the finalists for this year’s Goldsmith Prize are proof that investigative journalism of the highest quality is still a hallmark of the American press," said Thomas Patterson, acting director of the Shorenstein Center in a statement. "Each of these news stories exposed a troubling threat to our public life and, in doing do, brought about needed change."
Two nominated pieces deal with Army medicine. Joshua Kors' piece "Thanks for Nothing," published in The Nation, exposed how Army doctors often misdiagnose soldiers, saying their Iraq wounds stem from illnesses before joining the service. Dana Priest and Anne Hull wrote "he Other Walter Reed" for The Washington Post, revealing the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Both pieces led to significant change in policy and oversight.

I was really hoping to find something on him but I couldn't. If you see something, e-mail me at and I'll note it later in the week. But all three of them deserve praise for digging at stories that wouldn't have been told otherwise and that's especially true of Fadel who's reporting from a war zone that is also the most deadly war zone for journalists. More have died in Iraq than in Vietnam, for instance. They should all be proud of themselves for winning but most of all for writing about the illegal war and its effects at a time when so many -- even older 'names' -- offer so little.

I really just want to focus on those three for tonight but Susan UnPC has video and a great piece on Bambi supporters and how they can't name a single achievement. This is from "Can They List His Qualifications? (Part Deux):"

I already showed you a video of a panel of Obama supporters who were unable -- a single one of them -- to name any of Obama's legislative or other accomplishments. But even his elected supporters -- members of Congress and governors (!) -- cannot come up with anything. (Uh, you'd think that Obama's campaign would send them some talking points? If they can come up with a few?) (h/t Taylor Marsh and MyDD's "Breaking Blue")

Be sure to read Rebecca's "fools (dave lindorff) & trash (eve ensler)" from last night and C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" below:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Little Media wallows in being useless, the US military announces deaths, round-ups announced in Baghdad and more.

Starting with war resisters,
Nisa Islam Muhammad (Final Call) reports on realities for war resisters in Canada:

In the '60s and '70s, Canada was a refuge for war resisters and conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War. Iraq war resistors want the same reception and protested at Canadian consulates from coast to coast as part of Courage To Resist's "Dear Canada: Let Them Stay" campaign."We had actions in eight cities Jan. 25, at five Canadian consulates around the county on behalf of war resisters in Canada," Max Diorio of Courage to Resist told The Final Call."Thousands of soldiers are AWOL. The military doesn't know how many or where they are. Canada was a safe haven, but the climate now has Canada wanting to be on the good side of the United States."Hundreds of U.S. military personnel are in Canada because of decisions not to participate in U.S. wars and the occupation in the Middle East. There is no legal or political provision in effect in Canada that affords U.S. war resisters the right to stay in the country.Deportation looms as a real threat for many women and men seeking refuge from prosecution south of the border, even as widespread support for the rights of resisters to stay grows among Canadians.

With Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at 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 Josh Randall, 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).

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC action:
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'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers. IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible. The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won't be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it."

Staying with reality, Iraq is off the media radar and FOOLS and LIARS don't get it back on the radar. Debate whether Tom Engelhartdt is a a FOOL, a LIAR or a little bit of both when reading
his latest pathetic piece at Common Dreams. Bully Boy says there's no problem -- says Tom -- and the media "miraculously" vanished Iraq. "The mainstream media," he tells us. Fool or liar or just a bit of both. Little media didn't stand up during the Myth of the Great Return. Amy Goodman devoted one full segment to Iraq last month when? January 25th. She waited until January 25th. [The 'we only have one minute!' garbage doesn't count.] Engelhartdt needs to stop peddling those tired lies. It may keep the checks coming in from The Nation but it's not reality. Nor is this claim that "Juan Cole's Informed Comment website" is "perhaps the best daily round-up of Iraqi mayhem and disaster on the Web". Really? Well sure he was for the illegal occupation after he was against it (as Steve Rendall pointed out to his face on CounterSpin) but, hey, if he's providing a "daily round-up of Iraqi mayhem" -- best or otherwise -- we should certainly make a point to check in.. Wednesday's sole entry (thus far) -- John McCain, Bambi and Pakistan. Monday's entry -- he did only one -- on Afghanistan. Tuesday's entry -- he did only one -- on Pakistan. Not a "daily round-up" but it's a nice way for someone to kiss ass with a shout-out, isn't it? Stick to McClatchy Newspapers, Reuters and ICCC, they provide daily information. Here's the reality Tom Engelhartdt isn't telling you because he's not willing to or he's too stupid to: Iraq's off the radar because we tolerate it being off the radar.

Because we renew our subscriptions to the garbage that is The Nation or buy it in stores, because Amy Goodman's begging on air for Pacific (for herself really) and we toss out a few bucks to shut the beggar up. There is an illegal war going on that hits the fifth year mark next month. There is nothing in independent media -- despite all the money we've forked over to them -- that reflects this reality. Nothing. And as long as we continue to accept that, as long as we're thrilled to death that Katrina vanden Heuvel can provide John Nichols, the Aris (Mebler and Berman) and assorted others covering the Democratic presidential primaries each damn day while providing NOTHING on the Iraq War, the illegal war is going to go on. Engelhartdt may be too stupid to tell you that or he may just enjoy being on the dime of The Nation. But that's reality and anyone telling you otherwise is a LIAR.

Not misinformed, not disinformed, not misguided -- just a LIAR. That's reality. And lying to people is DISGUSTING. Want Iraq covered? Demand it. Refuse to support media that doesn't cover it. And let's get one damn thing real clear, it's not, despite Engelhardt's claim, the "MSM" that's dropped Iraq. If the New York Times doesn't file a story for Iraq that's the headline of a morning entry here. I know how often that's the case and how often it isn't. (And not hear to spoonfeed lazy minds like Engelhardt). The New York Times isn't dropping Iraq -- they may resell the illegal war most days, but they do cover it. It's Little Media that's dropped Iraq. And no one needs a lecture from Tom Englehardt to begin with but we certainly don't need him on his high horse when he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. If you're talking corruption in Iraq, to provide one example, you're largely talking James Glanz of the New York Times. Not that Glanz is corrupt but you are talking his beat. He's covered it. He's defined it. When few have given a damn and the occassional moments when they have, he has covered that beat since the illegal war began. I'll slam the New York Times every day of the week. I'll slam Glanz if the article offends. But I don't pretend for a minute that Little Media 'competes' with the Times or other MSM outlets. Little Media doesn't compete because Little Media (broadcast and print) doesn't give a damn. Engelhardt's offering up the kind of crap we got in 2004 and 2005 when it was time to open the checkbooks: "Look what we do! No one else brings you the truth! Judith Miller did not work for us!" Independent media hasn't done a thing worthy of praise on Iraq -- or Iraq related topics -- in years. Anyone telling you otherwise is a fool or a liar. And you should be sick of it.

Sick Of It Day is an action Veterans for Peace started on the 14th of this month and VFP's Mike Ferner offers, "I've seen the pain on the faces of the people of Iraq and the soldiers who come back from war. It's something I can't get out of my mind and there are days when it really does make me sick" to explain the need for the action asking people to call in sick March 19th and then selecting "from a wide variety of other things to do that day -- from contacting Congress and going back to bed, to more ambitious ideas like helping quarantine military shipments in U.S. ports. Campaigners are invited to come up with their own 'Sick Of It Day' activity and post it to the site." Ferner (writing at Online Journal) speaks with IVAW co-chair Adam Kokesh ("campaign originator") who explains, "I'm sick of seeing America in denial about how much we have been lied to."

To return to the nonsense offered about the MSM, it was
Sewell Chan (New York Times) who reported on a Friday NYC action where "20 antiwar activists gathered outside an Army recruiting office in East Harlem" -- it was not Democracy Now!, it was not The Nation, it was not Free Speech Radio News. The War Stops Here is a new website created to be "an online hub and journal of DIRECT ACTION." The website features text and videos. The creator of the site explained at Infoshop: "This is a project that I've long been thinking about, and unfortunately, nobody else has stepped up to help me out with it. So, here goes nothing. The basic premise is this: we're finally at a stage in the antiwar movement where there is something to report in terms of creative, militant direct actions against the occupation of Iraq happening right here in the US. It's happening on campuses, at ports, in the Capitol, in small towns and in big cities. Therefore, there ought to be a regularly-updated hub for those of us who take this work seriously, want to learn what other people are doing, and to let new people know that there are ways to tangibly grind this war to a halt." The creator's a member of today's Students for a Democratic Society and SDS' Kati Ketz is interviewed by Ron Jacobs (Dissident Voice) addressing what's coming up next month with Ketz explaining, "SDS is again putting out a call for students to take action, this time a week of action between March 17th-21st in order to protest five years of war in Iraq. We are focusing on March 20th as a student and youth specific day of action, where schools will be having walk-outs or rallies and protests on their campuses and in their cities." Ketz explains how her UNC-Asheville chapter of SDS is working with the local chapter of IVAW, "It seemed natural to our SDS group that when the IVAW-Asheville group started up in November of 2007 that we invite some of their members to speak on our campus. From that, a couple of members of IVAW-Asheville started coming to SDS meetings and getting involved in our actions on campus, which led to the counter-recruitment action we did recently. During this counter-recruitment action, we staged a mock Iraq raid based on what one member of IVAW-Asheville witnessed firsthand, with a family of Iraqi people being zip-tied and asked for information that they did not have before being carried away." More information is available at this page of the SDS website.

There are people seriously committed to ending the illegal war. Chances are you won't ever find them in what passes for 'independent' media today. Which is why we didn't hear the latest nonsense in Baghdad being called out. Again, the MSM is reporting. Where's Little Media? The damage they create with their silence is appalling. The new push is for round-ups in Baghdad.
Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports it as if that's a good thing -- having the "homeless and mentally ill residents" rounded up and it's for their protection, you understand, because they have been used as bombers ("knowingly or unknowingly") so this is the way to address that according to the Interior Ministry's Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf who explains to CNN that "[p]olice will hand beggars, vagrants and the mentally handicapped over to governmental institutions that can provide them with shelter and care". The thugs of the Interior Ministry (who control the police or did we all miss that in the James Baker Circle Jerk report?) are going to determine who is sane and who isn't? Based on what training? They're going to determine -- in a country with runaway inflation and unemployment -- who is a 'vagrant' or 'beggar'? And they're never going to base those decisions on anything but the facts, right? They won't use that power to round-up against political enemies or dissidents? Keep dreaming.

The February 1st Baghdad bombings were said to have involved two women as 'suicide bombers' who were mentally disabled or one had Down Syndrome or blah, blah, blah -- who can remember all the spin the US military was offering day after day? In fact, they're still at it.
The New York Times' Richard A. Oppel Jr. with AP (at International Herald-Tribune) reports that the US held a press briefing today in Baghdad to say they have files! medical records! and the women were ill! they had "depression and schizophrenia"! US military flack Gregory Smith explains that photos of the two women's severed heads were then photographed and -- apparently despite the heads being blown off the bodies -- were intact enough for the women to be matched up with "their psychiatric files -- not any medical files". That's such a sweet story and maybe there's a bit of truth somewhere deep.

There's no proof, just some yacking coming from a flack for the US military. Earlier today
Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported on the same topic qutoing Khalaf stating beggars under 18 would be confined "to shelters" while those over 18 "would be charged with crimes" and those 'judged' mentally disabled by the 'doctors' working the Iraqi police beat on foot patrol would end up confined to hospitals because "These people with mental defects can cause a lot of damage if they are left on the streets . . . Their proper place is in the hospitals." There's no cultural excuse for what he just stated. "Proper place" and "defects" are offensive in any culture but that's what happens when educated Iraqis flee the country because thugs are put in charge.Repeating, the thugs of the Interior Ministry just got a pass on rounding up anyone they want to in a country where unemployment is the norm and where the mental health facilities are struggling at best. And what type of a country has a law on the books that bars the mentally disabled from being seen in public? This really is a disgrace and it's something that will be used to 'eliminate' people that are not in favor with the Interior Ministry. Again, there's still no proof that the mentally disabled have been used in bombings, even after the US raided a psychiatric hospital last week (CNN says they raided two). Steve Lannen and Hussein Khadim (McClatchy Newspapers) actually report on the Al Rashad hospital -- the one raided two Sundays ago with the director, Dr. Sahi Aboub, being arrested by the US military. The reporters find that the US military's claim that Dr. Aboub has been "selecting possible suicide bombers since Jan. 1" is ridiculous since (a) his first day at the hospital was January 13th and "he had no say in when patients would check in or out of the hospital." The hospital staff also notes that it's tied to Moqtada al-Sadr -- that would be the same al-Sadr's who has endorsed a six-month truce/cease-fire since August. It doesn't add up and it never will.

Lannen and Khadim explain that there are only two psychiatric hospitals in Iraq currently -- Ibn Rushad is the other. So exactly where those pronounced 'disabled' by the Interior Ministry are supposed to go is up in the air. As for those carted off to jail,
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports on the realities of Iraqi 'justice' today, "The absence of the witnesses was the latest in a series of events that appear aimed at derailing the case, in which the officials are charged with using the resources of the Health Ministry to carry out a campaign of sectarian kidnappings and killings. Witnesses have been intimidated; their families have been threatened; and information emerged this week suggesting that the trial's outcome was fixed. One of the judges scheduled to hear the case had reportedly already agreed to find the men not guilty, according to officials close to the court."
Not disturbed yet? Those are the benefits given to Shi'ite officials and Rubin explains who the two are: "The defendants, former Deputy Health Minister Hakim al-Zamili and Brig. Gen. Hameed al-Shammari, who led the ministry's security service, are charged with running militias that killed and kidnapped hundreds of Sunnis in hospitals run by the Health Ministry and other facilities in 2005 and 2006." These round-ups should set off alarms.
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Today at the intersections of central Baghdad where forlorn women and young children typically pawn candy, gum, tissues or balloons were empty. The spokesman at the Ministry of Interior took no one off the streets. They all stayed home today." We'll come back to Fadel at the end.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing left two people wounded, another Baghdad roadside bombing targeted an official -- "the deputy minister of science and technology, Sameer Salim Al-Attar" -- who was wounded as were "two of his guards," a Baghdad car bombing claimed 1 life and left two people wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing left five police officers wounded and a Diyala Province bombing in which a bomber killed himself and 7 other people were at a bakery (with another seventeen wounded). Reuters notes a Tal Afar car bombing in which the driver died as well as two civilians -- "a woman and a 6-year-old girl" -- while eight more people were injured while a roadside bombing outside Tikrits left four people injured.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province shooting that wounded two people while 4 police officers were shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes "a police woman wearing civilian clothes" was shot dead in Mosul.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today, the
US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldiers were killed at approximately 10:30 p.m. Feb. 19 when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in northwestern Baghdad." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - North Soldier was killed as a result of injuries sustained from a rocket propelled grenade attack while conducting patrols in Mosul Feb. 20. Three soldiers were also wounded and transported to a Coalition medical facility for treatment." 3967 is the current total for US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. 23 is the current total for the month -- on the 20th day of the month.

IRIN noted the continued plight of the Palestinian refugees "trapped in three makeshift camps along the Iraqi-Syrian border". The Palestinian population of Iraq before the illegal war broke out was not considered "citizens" of Iraq. They were included in the census, they were legally in the country and had some rights (not universal rights) recognized but they were not considered citizens. This creates a huge problem when attempting to leave Iraq since many countries demand passports -- more so since the large migration of refugees out of Iraq. But prior to that large migration, Palestinians were already leaving Iraq because the illegal war meant that the few rights they had were now shredded. In May of 2003, the BBC was reporting on the United Nations explaining what was happening, how they faced the threat of eviction (with 1,000 already being kicked out of Baghdad). The crisis was expected. Those trapped between the borders of Iraq and Syria have been trapped for nearly two years. Nothing is being done.

Turning to US political news.
Margaret Kimberly (Freedom Rider -- this is Kimberley's own website, not her latest column) believes Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidential nomination is now over: "She cannot over come the barrage of negative press that has hit her. The press are in the tank for Obama, and that is obviously because he is the corporate media favorite. . . . He endorsed Joe Lieberman, his Senate mentor, he waffled on Iraq, often contradicting his own statements about being anti-war. He said he would bomb Iran. He said that Israel can keep killing people whenever and wherever it chooses. Most importantly he told them that he will keep black people quiet. Like the right wing he thinks that the 60s and 70s were 'excessive.' He says 'there is no black America' and in any case we are '90% of the way towards equality'." [For more on Hillary, Elizabeth L. Keathley examines cultural and historical bias working against the Clinton campaign at Women's eNews.] Staying with that themes Obama sells, Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) observes, "Obama is a world-class wooer. His white male wooing is made much easier by the fact that those who consider themselves his 'sisters' and 'brothers' demand nothing whatsoever from him. Just come home when you get ready, brother. Obama is free to concentrate his attentions on the hard-to-get demographics, especially white men with their peculiar notions of 'change.' No need for Obama to promise the hood a damn thing, except that he'll cut a dashing figure in the Oval Office and make the homefolks proud that he's there, symbolically representing them. Republicans and GOP-leaning 'independents' (meaning, deep-dyed whites) are crossing over in heards to vote for Obama. They've got the message: happy days are here again, when the darkies smiled and were careful not to hurt our feelings by telling the truth. That's the kind of 'change' we've always 'hoped' for, by golly! The white liberal/left, ineffectual and geographically scattered, are drawn irresistibly to the Black man who regales them with sweet nothings -- literally, nothing in the way of the concrete policies for peace and social justice they claim to champion. His presence in their midst is enough. Besides, Obama is someone who is 'capable of forging a progressive majority,' they say. That's a strange concept, since Obama doesn't act like a progressive, or claim to be one." Doesn't act like one? Fidel Castro announced he was stepping down as president of Cuba. KUNA reports on Obama's statements yesterday including that Castro's stepping down ending "a dark era." He wasn't the only Obama embarrassing himself yesterday. As Kat notes, Michelle Obama declared on Monday, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback." Cindy McCain, spouse of Senator McCain, later stated publicly, "I am proud of my country. I don't know about you. If you heard those words earlier -- I am very proud of my country." If only that was the least of Bambi's troubles. Jake Tapper (ABC News) reports on Obama and the federally indicted Antoin "Tony" Rezko: "Turns out before Obama bought the mansion (Rezko helped him by buying half the land), Obama took Rezko 'on a tour of the premises to make sure it was a good deal'." Tapper's quote comes from David Jackson and Bob Secter (Chicago Tribune) who note, "Weeks after saying he'd answered all questions about his controversial dealings with the now-indicted Rezko, Obama released new details about their purchase of adjacent lots from the same seller on the same day. But the disclosures by Obama's presidential campaign left unanswered questions and raised new ones." Today, Rhonda Schwartz and Justin Rood (ABC News) report, "Watchdog groups are questioning why it took Sen. Barack Obama more than a year to disclose additional details of his dealings with indicted fundraiser Antoin 'Tony' Rezko" and quote Better Government Association's Jay Stewart ("when you're laying out that kind of rhetoric . . . it makes sense for people to say, 'Let's look at what you've done. Let's see if your rhetoric matches wtih reality." and Illinois Campaign for Political Reform's Cindy Canary ("This is something that Sen. Obama should have put foward from the get-go."). Well he should have given away the Rezko money from the get-go but, as Chris Fusco and Tim Novack (Chicago Sun-Times) reported at the end of last month, "The latest dump of Rezko-related cash by the Democratic presidential contended is $72,650, bringing the total Obama is giving away to $157,835."

In her speech last night,
Hillary Clinton noted, "I have served on the Armed Services Committee. I've been to more than 80 countries, worked with world leaders, stood up to the Chinese government to declare that women's rights are human rights. And I am ready to end this war in Iraq and this era of cowboy diplomacy. I will restore our leadership and moral authority in the world without delays, without on-the-job training, from day one. One of us has a plan to provide health care for every single American, no one left out. And I believe -- I believe health care is a right, not a privilege. And I will not rest until every American is covered. That is my solemn promise to you." If you didn't catch that from 'independent' media today, it's because you have Smut Merchants and a lot of Pigs.

For instance, why does
Amy Goodman hate women? Alleged 'journalist' Amy Goodman -- allegedly a 'woman' -- felt the need to finally get around to noting the Polk awards. (We noted them in the snapshot yesterday, we also noted them before Democracy Now! started yesterday, they were already in the news cycle.) Joining her in dishonoring women is The Cindy Brady of the Faux Left Eric AlterPunk who makes time to note a blogger, his own magazine (which did not win) and the Washington Post. (Writers won the Polks awards, not their outlets.) So let's repeat, McClatchy Newspapers reports:

Leila Fadel, McClatchy's Baghdad bureau chief, won the
George R. Polk Award for outstanding foreign reporting and The Charlotte Observer won the Polk Award for outstanding economic reporting, Long Island University announced Tuesday.Fadel, 26, was cited for her "vivid depictions" of the military and political struggle in Iraq. "Her work provided a comprehensive array of disturbing, first-hand accounts of violence and conflict by juxtaposing the agonizing plight of families in ethnically torn neighborhoods with the braggadocio of a vengeful insurgent proud of his murderous exploits, and the carnage and sorrow among victims of Iraq's most deadly car bombing in a remote region of the country where few reporters ventured," the jurors said.:
From Robert D. McFadden (New York Times), "Leila Fadel, the Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy, won the foreign reporting Polk for wide-ranging articles from Iraq on families in ethnically torn neighborhoods, on killers and victims and on an endlessly changing military and political struggle." Editor & Publisher has reposted a 2007 article on her. Sarah Bahari (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) reviews Fadel's past reporting and notes, "From her work on that story and others, Fadel -- a former Star-Telgram reporter and now Baghdad bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, the Star-Telegram's parent company -- has been awarded the prestigious George Polk Award for foreign reporting." And that foreign reporting is coming from Iraq. So you might think she could get a shout-out from Little Media. She didn't. Petty jealousies? Anger at an an attractive and younger woman? Who knows. But she won it and she earned it and like many other women reporting from Iraq during the illegal war -- including Nancy A. Youssef, Cara Buckley, Sabrina Tavernise, Riverbend, Alissa J. Rubin, Ellen Knickmeyer, Tina Susman and Alexandra Zavis. Fadel's contributions have made a real difference. Maybe that's why Little Media could do everything -- while pretending to give a damn about Iraq -- but note the journalist who won a Polk this year for actually reporting from Iraq?