Friday, March 17, 2006

Air Assault Launched, Speak out, Amy Goodman Stands Up To The Embed

Good evening. Starting late because we were doing the roundtable for the gina & krista roundrobin that goes out tomorrow. We wanted to get that out of the way so that Gina and Krista didn't have to stay up any later than necessary putting it together. I really think they do a great job and they'd include C.I. in the "they" as will I. It's Gina and Krista's newsletter but they know they don't ever have to ask C.I. for anything, they just have to say "We're a little short" and C.I. will jump in to help. So let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

US Launches Largest Air Assault Since Iraq Invasion
US and Iraqi troops have launched what the military is calling the largest air assault in the three years since the Iraq invasion. In a press release, the army said over fifteen hundred troops and fifty aircraft have been deployed in a "suspected insurgent operating area" northeast of Samarra. Operation "Swarmer" is expected to last for several days. No casualties have been reported so far.

No surprise that no casualities have been reported. That's standard M.O. for this administration. But you can be sure there are casualties. "Suspected insurgent operating areas" are getting bombed. Not known ones, mind you, suspected. I was really glad they included that because it's so important. We're back to bombing like we did when the invasion began. We've bombed since, but this is on that level. We won't read about it in the papers or hear about on the networks, probably. Except in the same terms as last time which was basically, "Wow!" and "Awesome." Asheligh Banfield made a point (and got in trouble for it) that the reporter's job wasn't just to show the hardware but to show what happened where the bombs landed. We didn't get that before and we won't get it now, not from the corporate media. (That's a point Amy Goodman's made many times too, by the way. That we don't get the stories from corporate media about what happens where the bombs land.)

Over 500 Events Planned For Events Marking Third Year of Iraq War
And as the invasion and occupation of Iraq reaches the three-year mark this Sunday, activists are staging anti-war events around the world. At least 500 protests are being held in the US this weekend alone. United for Peace and Justice has organized actions in all 50 states. Some began earlier this week. A veterans march for peace, which began in Alabama Tuesday, will end in New Orleans. According to USA Today, a new poll shows 60 percent of Americans believe the war was not "worth it." In London, the Stop the War Coalition will stage a protest Saturday to demand the withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq. Similar demonstrations are to be held in cities in Iraq, as well as in Mexico, Japan, and other parts of Europe.

Third year mark. You better be doing something. Don't want to be a war cheerleader, do you? One of The New Republicans saying, "Cool! I love it when we go to war and people die!"? Don't want to suffer from a nasty case of "War Got Your Tongue?" -- right?

Let me pass on this if you're not a regular Democracy Now! viewer. After a protest, you can expect Democracy Now! to cover it. When the corporate media didn't care, Democracy Now! was there. So probably Monday or Tuesday they'll have something on the protests.

Okay, now this is going to be really late going up. Elaine just called. She was reading "War Got Your Tongue?" for the first time since we all wrote it. She was asking me if I'd read it since we wrote it? (I have.) She thinks that may be one of the best things we've written as a group and I agree.

It was funny because she goes, "Just let me read the opening to you." And then she goes, "Okay, there's a point coming up, so let me just read that one." And she ended up reading the whole thing to me over the phone.

That was written as a "special edition." And we were all dead tired by the time that was done. I can't believe it took her this long to get around to reading it. I've probably read it twenty times since it went up December 9th. But it is pretty powerful.

And the whole point of it is that we are all powerful, all of us. If we use our power. Being silent on the third anniversary isn't using your power.

You gotta use your power or be useless. It's your choice.

Amy Goodman could be useless. She could say, "Oh, who cares?" I'm sure she gets tired of fighting to bring attention to something. Everybody gets tired sometimes. But she always does it. She always owns her power and she uses it. She knows that too many people won't. She's one person (though she works like fifty) and she does what she has to in order to get a story out.
If she can do it, you can at least try.

So this weekend, remember that you have power. You have the power of your voice. You can use your power and know you made a difference or you can stay silent and let other people do the work.

If you're letting others do the work, you're not owning your power. Own it. And use it.

And if you need more motivation, check out C.I.'s "And the war drags on (Indymedia Roundup)."

We were doing last night's roundtable for the roundrobin while C.I. was typing that. If you read the discussion, you know C.I. was in their tossing things out throughout. We'd hear the click, click of the keyboard and know C.I. was doing that entry. Because of the points C.I. was making (and building on the points of others in some cases), none of us probably expected much from the entry. I didn't even read it until I got to campus and Tony starts pounding on my back going it was F--king Awesome. I didn't believe him, so we headed to the library so I could log on and read it. It is F--king Awesome. Read "And the war drags on (Indymedia Roundup)" and you'll think C.I. just had all the time in the world and was just focused on writing that. Not that there was a column to write for the roundrobin and for Polly's new newsletter (which was pretty incredible so hats off to Polly). During the discussion, C.I. was coughing and sipping the cough medicine. The voice sounded shredded from all the events C.I.'s been at all week. So I wasn't expecting much at all. But that opening is so powerful. When we were eating dinner tonight, Dad was like, "That's what I call spirit."

Here's something else you should check out "New York Times Chief Military Correspondent Michael Gordon Defends Pre-War Reporting on WMDs" because Amy Goodman doesn't let Michael Gordon get away with anything. He's so insulting and rude to her but she stays focused. Ma said he came off like a real condescending priss-pot. I heard it, but Ma saw and she said especially at the end he was wagging his finger at the camera like we all needed a lecture from a reporter who couldn't get the facts straight during the lead up to the war. By the way, Ma's planning on blogging tomorrow night like usual (at Trina's Kitchen) but if she doesn't, it's because she and all of us are probably going to be tired. We're going to make our voices heard. Are you?

Another things you should check out is Like Maria Said Paz to get Elaine's take on things. But more than anything, you need to use your voice this weekend. You need to be counted and be heard.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Iraq air wars and crap on TV

Good evening. I'm soloing tonight because Elaine takes off Thursday. Let's get started with Democracy Now!

US Strikes Blamed for Death of Iraqi Family Members
Meanwhile, a US military attack in the Iraqi town of Balad is being blamed for the deaths of at least a dozen members of the same family. The dead include five children and six women. The Associated Press is reporting the family’s house was flattened by an airstrike from a US helicopter. The victims were wrapped in blankets and driven to the Tikrit General Hospital. Ahmed Khalaf, the brother of one of the victims, said: "The dead family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."

Get ready for a lot more innocent Iraqis dying. I was on the phone with Wally a few minutes ago. He'd read his new thing to C.I. over the phone and C.I. had told him it was great. "But C.I. always says that," Wally complained. So he read it to me. The US has launched what the administration and the military are calling Operation Swarmer. They're going to be bombing 'suspected areas' and good thing that bombs only fall on bad guys, right? Wrong.

It's disgusting. Filing for the "Bully Boy Press," Wally can make you laugh about the nonsense so check out his post.

Updated NSR Reaffirms Preemptive War, Singles Out Iran
The Bush administration plans to release its quadrennial National Security Strategy later today. The document reiterates the White House’s commitment to launching pre-emptive strikes against countries it decides are a threat to national security and interests. The Security Strategy places new emphasis on Iran, stating: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than Iran. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq."

C.I. noted that this morning. On the radio, I heard that the US is concerned about China's "buildup" so I guess that means China can hop on the list too. But everyone's on the list now. You don't need to do anything for us to go to war with you, for us to attack you, you just need to make us nervous. It's like arresting and convicting someone not because they committed a crime but because you thought some day they might.

And when that gets tossed back in our face, don't be surprised. Maybe it will be someone attacking one of our allies or a country we don't care about one way or another. And we'll say, "Why did you do that?" The answer will be "pre-emptive war." Or maybe we won't big the bulliest on the block and someone will attack us. We'll whine "international crime!" and the response will be, "Hey, you pushed pre-emptive war."

When I was on the phone with Wally, Wally asked me if I'd had problems with my site? Nope. The only ones who do are The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review. In fact, with the recent "white listing" and other stuff, a number of people wonder if The Common Ills isn't targeted? My guess? If you blog and you're left, you're a target. Just like if you speak out like that story Democracy Now! had on the spying on the Thomas Merton Center yesterday (Newly Released Files Reveal FBI Spied on PA Peace Group Because of Antiwar Views).

Shayla e-mailed to ask for two things. First she wanted me to highlight Ava and C.I.'s latest TV review. It's called "TV Review: Dick Wolf's Conviction:"

Conviction. Is that what we watched on NBC? It's the latest nonsense from Dick Wolf and it's gone through a number of titles before premiering Friday night. We liked the Young Prosecutors best of all the aliases, er, titles. Young Prosecutors gave it a sort of The Bold Ones/The New Doctors/The Lawyers/The Protectors type feel and told you immediately that this tired show would be dead on arrival.
Which it was. Who killed it? A title card says the episode was written by Rick Eid but we'd argue many a Dick Wolf series plays as if it had been still born in the mind of the creator who refuses to give either himself or the public a day of rest. This one is so bad, it may make you long Law & Order: Trial by Jury. (Then again, that nostalgia may result from the fact that this show uses the same sets as that cancelled show.)
[. . .]
And this is all before the opening credits, in different locales, with characters we've never met and aren't introduced to. If Dick Wolf thought he had an ER opening on his hands, he was mistaken. Corpses don't end up in the emergency room, they go to the morgue.
[. . .]
So we'll sum up by noting the life lessons that World o' Wolf is so fond of. Small breasted women are obsessed with their breasts (and other women's as well) and will talk about breasts with anyone, male or female. Women who sport their breasts just want sex, no romance. In World o' Wolf, this may be the "occupational hazard" to sporting breasts. Real men beat up other men and make sure to tell them that they are bitches -- as both the future sports star and Peluso did in the first episode. Those out of the closet "gay boys"? Little hustlers. It's a variation on the "You can be gay, just don't tell me about it" theme that World o' Wolf explored in the nineties.
Sex workers get what they deserve. If you try to treat them like people, they, like the out of the closet "gay boys," will only end up hustling you.
Watching Conviction is like serving time. If Friday's episode was any indication, America can take comfort in the fact that it already feels like it's going to be a very short sentence.

Shayla thought it was the funniest thing she'd read all week and it hilarious. Her second question was about a comment that Ava and C.I. had made about these kind of shows last summer in "TV Review: CSI Miami:"

Last week's review led to two e-mailers questioning what we saw as the glorification of the "law" and the "of course he's guilty" attitude of Law & Order: Trial By Jury. For those two, and any others missing the obvious, we offer the following dialogue exchanged during the show.
Procter: Do you think the parents have any idea that they are paying for their kids to have sex with teachers and buy their grades?
Adam Rodriguez: I don't know but it makes me realize what an angel I was.
Makes the audience realize that too. Makes them feel really smug and satisfied the way their parents did watching those wacky hippies on the cop shows of the sixties and early seventies. We'd argue that anyone from that period who watches this nonsense today was never interested in opening the floodgates to all, just opening them to themselves. Fair or not, that's why the baby boomers have one of the worst generational images. We're glad that we can say the boomers we choose to hang around don't share that selfish, 'Me-Decade' quality, but this crap obviously sells to those who do -- as well as to the reactionaries of all ages who need to be reassured of how wicked the world is.
There's no need for characterization in these type of shows or for strong acting, they're morality plays, little parables about the wickedness that is all around you and how only the strong arm of the law can save you. So you smirk as Caruso strongs arms a meth user or as Proctor has an entire school turn over their cell phones. (Proctor rolls her eyes when a campus security guard says he's there to make sure she doesn't trample the student's civil rights.)
These type of shows are what the boomers once rebelled against. Forgive us if badly acted, badly written, reactionary sermonettes don't strike us as entertaining. It's not that there's not a place for shows like these, it's just that the place is PAX and not CBS.

Yeah, I think that's pretty accurate. Most people on campus don't watch the Law & Orders or the CSIs. They're seen as "old people" shows. But there are a few people who are into them. They're usually the hard core Republicans. White kids who get nervous if an African-American student or professor walks by. You can see them go rigid. They need these crappy shows to feel safe because they think the world's out of control and the country's populated with worthless degenerates. Everyone's a liar and a crook, that's the message of those shows.

Shayla wondered what they're going to review this week? I honestly don't know. I know they're wanting to review a sitcom because that's their favorite kind of show but a lot of times they're still deciding on Friday night what they're going to review.

Now be sure to check out C.I.'s "NYT: It's only news when Republicans issue statements" because it captures all that is wrong with the New York Times perfectly. C.I.'s covering David Kirkpatrick's "Call for Censure Is Rallying Cry To Bush's Base" and besides disproving Kirkpatrick, C.I. will make you burst out laughing:

He's mainlining 90s Times' news print. He's getting high off the "reporting" of Jeff Gerth and so many others who presented Republican spin as fact.
[. . .]
Today, Davy Kirkpatrick puts on some flannel, drops a little X, hums a little Hootie, and heads off in search of a mosh pit, where he can bump up against other bare chested males in what is obviously homoerotic behavior but it's not gay, you understand, because it's all so darn butch.

Check out Elaine's "Peace doesn't come about through silence" from yesterday too. Now the last thing in Shayla's e-mail was an event. Martha and Shirley have a list of events from all over the place in tomorrow's round-robin. If you got an event that's not covered by that, I'll note it tomorrow. But if your event's covered there, to be fair, let someone else be noted. This one's going on in St. Louis:

Join us at the World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park on the 3rd Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq * Sunday, March 19th * 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm *
In addition to the continuing loss of lives in the war, our nation's vast resources are being needlessly wasted. We will hold an Assembly to Reclaim Our Resources: Food - Jobs - Housing - Education - Energy - Health Care
Panel of featured speakers to include Dr. Rashad Zidan, an Iraqi pharmacist who lives and works in Baghdad. Dr. Rashad has been active in Baghdad and Fallujah through the Women and Knowledge Society, an organization she founded to aid victims of war, especially orphans, and to address the issues of women's education and employment in Iraq.
The assembly will feature art, poetry, music and other displays highlighting the human costs of the war on the people here at home. We will also remember the fallen with a solemn tombstone memorial to the U.S. and Iraqi dead by
Veterans for Peace.
Please bring canned goods for local food pantries, as we will be taking a collection and using what canned goods you bring in a special display.
Join one of our feeder marches leading to the event.
Feeder marches are planned for artists, labor, women, children, students, farmers and religious congregations. Others may be planned. Watch this space for additional details as the date approaches.
Revised Flyers for the Event (revised Monday, March 6, 5:45 pm):Download the flyer
in color or in black & white (For easy download, right-click on the link and select "Save As"). Please Distribute Widely!
We have a special flyer addressed to artists, musicians and performers: Please download the
Call for Artists to Creatively Protest
More specific details about the event and the marches can be found here:
Update 3-15: This is a national effort and this event is “IT” for our area. Please show your support as an artist against the war, by joining the artist “feeder march” starting at the NE side of the Grand Basin in Forest Park (feeder march=where multiple groups arrive at the destination from various locations). Call Laurie @ 314-882-7336 or go to if you have any questions.
NOTE: There will be a table labeled “THE ART TABLE” with the rest of the information tables, please leave your flyers, cards, announcements, etc with a paper weight (–to make sure they do not blow away).
Also note that STLIMC
gladly welcomes your coverage of this event!


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Feingold, crimp in the war on Iran, jealousy and more

Instead of staying up all night for a roundtable (like we did last night), we all got on the phone this evening. It will be in tomorrow's gina & krista round-robin and everyone's probably going to be late as a result. C.I. had an activity to participate in so we had a "hard deadline" or cut off point for tonight's discussion. And Rebecca said she was going to eat and take a long bath before blogging tonight. So expect for sites to be running late. Me and Elaine are both doing our blogs now.

Feingold Criticizes Fellow Dems Bush Measure
Here in the United States, Senator Russ Feingold has lashed out at fellow Democrats for not supporting his measure to censure President Bush for his warrantless domestic spy program. Feingold has failed to attract any co-sponsors. Appearing on Fox News, Feingold said: "I'm amazed at Democrats, cowering with this president's numbers so low. The administration just has to raise the specter of the war and the Democrats run and hide. … Too many Democrats are going to do the same thing they did in 2000 and 2004.… [Democrats shouldn't] cower to the argument, that whatever you do, if you question the administration, you're helping the terrorists."

How many Democrats does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One to do it and forty to cower and hide.

That's how it seems these days. You know, if they were saying "I'd back it but I want to save my big ammo for impeachment" you could get behind that. But they don't want to impeach. I'm really starting to wonder what taking back one or both houses in the 2006 election will bring because I'm not seeing anything to impress me.

I'm seeing a lot of the same nonsense we saw when the Dems still controlled the Senate from before the 2002 elections. They helped bury the investigation into 9/11. I'm wondering exactly who has any guts in the Senate because I'm not seeing a lot of guts. Harry Reid has got to go as minority leader. He's done the worst job in the world "leading" the Dem Senators. Under his watch, we've had two zealots confirmed to the Court and that alone is reason for him to go. But he's got no spine and he's one of those "Like me, love me!" Dems.

Of course they only wanted to be liked by the big media. They don't serve anyone but the TV camera.

Top US Military Commander: No Evidence of Iran Links
Meanwhile, the top US military ommander said Tuesday there is no evidence Iran is aiding the Iraqi insurgency. At a Pentagon briefing, Gen. Peter Pace, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked if he thought Iran was arming militants or sending weapons to Iraq. Pace replied: "I do not sir." Pace's comments appear to contradict recent statements made by both President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld linking the violence in Iraq to the Iranian government.

Yep, Bully Boy's been playing the "link game" (like Wally called it). Linking Iran to the violence the way he linked Iraq to 9/11 and you just heard that there's no evidence.

Remember that as they try to roll out the war for Iran. Question every "fact" they offer. They're liars. Remember that too.

Elaine's having the worst time trying to post something tonight. She's on the phone right now and says she'll get something up and not go to sleep until she does so check out Like Maria Said Paz. (And Elaine's really tired. We were all up late doing the roundtable last night and we're not all able to go with no or little sleep like C.I. can.)

Here's an event. This is in Canada. Vic noted it from Canada's Maritimes Indymedia:

Rally to end the Occupation
with Michael Franti and special guests rocking out against the war

EVENT: Protest and Concert
DATE: Saturday, March 18, 2006 -- 1:00pm
LOCATION: Farmers Market (march), Victoria Park (concert) Halifax --
On Saturday, March 18th, to mark the 3rd Anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, artists, speakers, and peace activists will congregate in Victoria Park to say "No" to the ongoing illegal occupation of Iraq and Coalition forces military involvement. The Stage of Engagement, organized by the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG), will feature such popular entertainers as monolithic hip-hop performer Michael Franti of Spearhead, and passionate speakers such as Yazin Nal-Qaydi, a 17 year-old Iraqi boy. A rally will begin at noon in front of the Halifax Farmer's Market, and will continue to march through downtown to arrive at the stage in Victoria Park at 1pm. There, the crowd will join thousands around the world to stand in solidarity against war and occupation. Representatives from a coalition of community groups including Haiti Action Halifax, the Halifax Peace Coalition, Student Coalition Against War, Palestine Solidarity Society, and NSPIRG, will express the need for a concerted opposition to corporate colonialism and unlawful military campaigns abroad. Michael Franti, a singer and songwriter from California, will be at the event to liven up the crowd with his inspirational and empowering lyrics like We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can't bomb it into peace. Franti recently returned from a peace mission to Iraq, Israel, and Palestine and produced a film about his journey. "Today we are in a war against war" says Franti, "and music is our power." Franti will be playing an intimate concert later that same evening at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. For more information: I know I'm not Alone

I hope you're figuring out how to use your voice this weekend. If you still haven't or on the fence, read Cedric's "Get Active" Kat's "Help stop the Bully Boy's blood lust" or Rebecca's
"what are you doing to be heard?" for some motivation.

So I ahd a question in the e-mails. Benny wonders if I'm jealous of Wally? I think that's because I wrote something like "Wally, you bastard" here. I was joking with him and we do that to each other on the phone all the time.

I'm not jealous of Wally. The Daily Jot is probably the second hottest site in the community right now. (The Common Ills is always the most read.) That's because Wally's doing some amazing work. I'm proud of my bud.

The biggest site in the community always is and always will be The Common Ills. We're all off shoots of that site. After that Rebecca and The Third Estate Sunday Review have carved out their own large followings. If you were to do like a chart or something, Wally would be the "heat seeker" moving up the Billboard chart because he's getting a lot of attention these days. He's earned it and I'm proud of him.

There's no jealousy because if one boat rises, we all rise. I might get a reader from him and he might get a reader from me. When one of us does well, we all do well. (And Ma's doing pretty good lately in terms of the amount of e-mails she's getting on her site: Trina's Kitchen.)

C.I. does a wonderful job but none of us could do that job. C.I. has been C.I. from the start and that's why The Common Ills is such a huge thing. It's about speaking in your own voice. If you asked Wally, he'd tell you that he felt like he was losing The Daily Jot before he took his week off and that was because he felt like he had to be like the other sites. He doesn't. Rebecca's never been anybody but Rebecca and she's got a very dedicated following. Betty has to stay in character for every chapter she does and she's got a dedicated following.

It's about using your own voice. If you speak in your own voice, you'll get an audience. Wally's got his own voice going again and he deserves the attention. I'm proud of him. I wrote an angry e-mail last week to an idiot who wrote me and insulted my mother. He was going that Ma's talking about cooking and who needs that?

Well, gee, asshole, we all need to eat. And Ma's a great cook. Think about the fact that most people don't have a lot of money to spend and Ma's talking them through easy recipes they can make and right away you got a good enough reason to do a site. But if you asked any of the rest of us doing sites, you'd know that we were thrilled that Trina's Kitchen was starting not just because we all love my mom but also because it's a new angle. She might reach some people that the rest of our sites don't. And sure enough that has happened. That's why C.I. has always said, "Write about what interests you." If you're faking interest, you're going to come off boring. If you care about something, people will be interested in reading.

It's like the TV reviews Ava and C.I. do at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Those are the most read things each week. Jim will tell you it's the site's calling card. And Ava and C.I. are political and doing their feminist critique and all but besides that, there's the fact that people visit for those reviews and most end up staying around to read some more stuff.

I wasn't participating with them back then. But I know the story. They weren't planning to have TV every edition. And it wasn't going to be just two people doing the reviews. But readers were responding to the TV reviews and it was Ava and C.I.'s things they were responding to. That's how those two ended up doing the reviews by themselves. If you asked Jim, Dona, Ty or Jess they wouldn't say, "I'm so jealous of them!" They'd point out that the TV stuff brings readers in. So there's no jealousy there. It's that platform that allowed "War Got Your Tongue?" to be so huge and that thing was and remains huge. People still e-mail about it. If you were going to be all, "Oh, I'm mad that Ava and C.I. get attention so let's stop the TV reviews" there never would be the potential audience for that editorial or anything else.

We're all happy for Wally and proud of him. You should be too. Besides, me and Wally both think Cedric's Big Mix is doing pretty good and that with the work Cedric does, he's probably going to end up the new "hot site" shortly.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bully Boy tries Operation Happy Talk, students in Sussex stand up, Iraq and more

Good evening. Let's get things kicked off with Democracy Now!

Bush Vows to Turn Over Most of Iraq to Iraqi Troops By Year's End
On Monday, President Bush vowed for the first time to turn over most of Iraq to newly trained Iraqi troops by the end of this year. It is unclear how this will happen. Just last month the Pentagon admitted there are no longer any Iraqi battalions capable of fighting without U.S. support.

So if there are no capable battalions and Bully Boy's claiming the United States would turn over the operations to the non-equipped battalions, what's going on? Smoke & mirrors. We're in an election year cycle. Bully Boy ups the lie wattage because to tell the truth to the people would hurt his party. I wonder how many people will believe the latest lie?

This is yet another wave of what C.I. long ago dubbed Operation Happy Talk. That's all it is. Tell feel good lies and hope people don't get the ugly reality.

I told C.I. that I'd help out if there were members wanting to post events coming up to protest the invasion of Iraq on the third anniversary and I got this forwarded to me. It's from Durham Girl who is also a reader here. She found it at Indymedia, "North Carolina Week of Action Against the War:"

Kick off a week of peace and justice with a major regional anti-war march and rally in Fayetteville on Saturday, March 18. Highlighting the connection between the war in Iraq and domestic issues such as spying, torture and the failed government response to Hurricane Katrina, the week is an open invitation to North Carolinians to express their opposition to wars at home and abroad.
March 18: March & Rally for Peace & Justice, Fayetteville.
WHERE: Participants will gather at 10:00 am at the County Health Center, 227 Fountainhead Lane, and march to Rowan Street Park on Woodside Ave for a Rally from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.
WHO: Speakers at the rally will include Iraqi pharmacist Dr. Rashad Zidan, who works in Baghdad and Fallujah to aid victims of war, especially orphans; Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and outspoken Bush administration critic; Summer Lipford, mother of Army private Steven Sirko who died in Iraq last April; Patrick and Bernadette O'Neill of Stop Torture Now; Vietnam veteran and peace activist Wade Fulmer; and many more
March 19-24: A wide variety of actions and a diversity of tactics. Actions will include:
March 19: Rally at Pack Park, 2:00-4:00, Asheville March 20: March on the Pentagon, 9:00-12:00, 410-323-7200, Washington, D.C March 23: Lobbying and vigils at NC Congressional offices, March 25: Iraq War Resister Camillo Mejia Speaks Out, Greensboro
March 25: Really Really Free Market and Festival of Resistance, Raleigh
For more information and updates on Week of Action events:
Andrew Pearson 919/360-2028
The war is still on. And it's not just in Iraq.
It's in Central Prison, it's at the unemployment office, it's in New Orleans, it's on women's bodies, it's in Guantanamo Bay, it's on your privacy, it's on your health care, it's on the atmosphere, it's on your children and it's on your children's children
Stop The War.

So if you live in North Carolina and are thinking "I don't think we're doing anything" there is stuff going on. You can be active. I'll try to put up some stuff all week. Yes, I could find my own stuff. I do know how to surf the net. But Elaine and I were talking and feeling a little lazy because C.I.'s already active in protests this week. Then Elaine told me C.I. had a nasty cold and was "buying cough syrup by the six pack" which was a joke but if you know C.I. you know that's not too far from the mark. Speaking out on the third anniversary is important and knowing C.I.'s once again got a cold and is still pulling out all stops made me and Elaine wonder what more we could do? So what we decided is we could be doing more to get the word out about events. And yeah, we could surf and get some stuff or we could do C.I. a solid and say, "Look, we know you're pressed for time and can't note everything so how about you slide some things members want noted our way and we'll help out?"

We are a community. No, not every community member visits my site but most of my readers are members and I'm one too. So we can run C.I. into the ground as a community or we can help out. And we really do need to all be getting the word out so this is a way to do that, help out C.I. and help out the community. Thanks to Durham Gal for saying it was cool to note her highlight here.

By the way, there's a special edition of the gina & krista round-robin that will go out tomorrow morning. Gina, Krista, Elaine, me, C.I., Jess, Ava and Betty are all participating in a late night (real late night) roundtable where we'll be discussing Danny Schechter's documenatry Weapons of Mass Deceptions. Eli and Wally are going to try to take part too so look for that. There will a special edition tomorrow, Thursday, the regular edition Friday and a special edition Saturday. Gina and Krista are trying to get people who aren't taking part in rallies for whatever reason to do house parties. Schechter's WMD is a great movie and if you're trying to plan something for you and your friends to do, you can rent or buy that movie and show it at your place.

Ma's going to write a column for Thursday's special-edition to help out and Nina's doing one right now in my bedroom for tomorrow's special-edition. Kat's got some photos she's putting in to tomorrow's special-edition so that will be cool too. We're all trying to do a little extra because usually the weight falls on Gina and Krista and C.I. and you can go, "Well it's Gina and Krista's thing" but they need help when they're doing special-editions and it usually falls just to or mainly to C.I. Elaine and me were talking about how we'd feel guilty anyway but knowing that C.I.'s got a nasty cold and is going all out just makes us feel more guilty. So if you're a community member, I hope you'll find some way to participate. Pru's not going to just do her stump ___ column that she always does but she's also getting together with some of the other members in England to offer their perspective. That's supposed to go in Thursday's special-edition so look for it Thursday morning. And Friday morning, you can also look forward to reading a thing Dad's going to do. He's so nervous about it but when I asked him if he'd do something, he said he would. He said it may be lame (it'll be great) but it will be ready and in Friday's round-robin.

Back to Democracy Now!

New Poll: 36% Approve Bush; 60% Say War is Going Badly
Bush made the announcement during a speech that launched a new public relations campaign to win greater support for the war in Iraq and his presidency. The latest USA Today/CNN poll shows the president's approval rating is at just 36 percent. And 60 percent of the country says the war in Iraq is going badly.

See that's why Bully Boy has to do another round of Operation Happy Talk. People have caught on to him and he needs lies to try to win back approval.

C.I. passed another thing on. Lori e-mailed on this and thank you to Lori for letting me have it here. This is from UK Indymedia and it's "Sussex students revolt!:"

MORE than 100 students at Sussex University have staged a 'learn-in' occupation of their library in protest at the "continued degradation" of the quality of their education.
On the evening of Wednesday 8th March 2006 the Sussex University library at Falmer, Brighton, was held open past its 9:30pm closing time, until 2am.
Amongst many activities, discussions (‘libraries as communist anomalies within capitalism’, ‘education and war,’ etc), workshops (creative writing, yoga, activist training, etc), book readings, film showings, international student networking and plain old dissertation writing were held successfully. The atmosphere inside the library was described as "breathtaking".
Students agreed by equal consensus to leave at 2am in respect for the Library building manager and possibly other library staff who could only go to sleep when students left. Said one student: "Library staff were very understanding and so were Security. It seems like the vast majority at Sussex University are against the Vice Chancellor Alasdair Smith in particular and the problems facing students and workers globally in general. Apparently the university [mis]management is shaking in their knees. They've come to realise that their positions are soon to be history!"
The action was in full support of all AUT industrial action, the sortUSout campaign, and the global fight for free high quality education the world over (as this is being written 45 universities in France are on strike or under student occupation!).
Through privatisation and corporatisation financial profit for the few is being put over the right of education for all, globally. Students and staff at Sussex University are tired of empty words and silent blows. Together we demand change.

When we were on the phone this afternoon, C.I. mentioned that and I was like, "If Lori's okay with it, I'll grab it." Students are making themselves heard. They're saying no to the idea that it's okay to turn the public goods into a private business. We can make ourselves heard here in the United States. We can be a powerful force. So I hope everyone who is in college like me or in high school will do their part on this third anniversary and speak out.

My professor pointed this out to me. People online are going on about the New York Times story that might not be accurate. And they all seem to have discovered that story late this morning. C.I. wrote about it early this morning "NYT: How to grab glory but spread blame" and apparently is the only print reader which is how C.I. caught it (and started writing about it Saturday). It's not just that they might have made a mistake, it's also that they're trying to spread the blame. Like prof said, "To know that you have to read The Common Ills." He goes, "I hope you'll put a link up to it at your site." No problem. But everyone was asking me on campus to link to another thing (and I was already planning to) which is "The war coverage (and lack of it)." That'll explain to you why we need to be demanding better coverage from the corporate media so check it out.

Now get over to Like Maria Said Paz and check out Elaine.

Monday, March 13, 2006

War resisters, international, Dave Zirin and more

Good evening. Hope everybody had a great weekend. Let's get things started with Democracy Now!:

Latino War Resisters Begin 241-Mile March For Peace
And Iraqi war resisters Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia and Aidan Delgado as well as Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son was killed in Iraq, have begun a 241-mile march for peace from Tijuana, Mexico to San Francisco. The march is inspired by Gandhi's 1930 Salt March protesting British imperialism. Historian Howard Zinn said, "This is one of the most significant actions taken yet to dramatize the movement against the war -- especially because it calls attention to the Latino population, the loss of Latino life in the war, and the unrecognized Latino opposition to the war."

C.I. pointed out that there were a lot of items to choose from and that's no joke. Elaine and I were talking for probably a half-hour just trying to figure out what to choose. We finally decided to go with the two here. How come? Because they are things that need more attention.

Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia, and Aidan Delgado. They've spoken out against the war before public opinion changed. Last night, in "And the war drags on," C.I. wrote:

Resistance is going on all over the world. In the United States, we know the names of (or should) people like Camilo Mejia, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Kevin Benderman and Katherine Jashinski.

Kevin Benderman applied for c.o. status and got screwed over. In November, Katherine Jashinski became the first woman serving to become a war resister to the occupation in Iraq. Forget Tommy Franks and the other arm chair, media generals, these are names you should know. Of the five, and there are more, Camilo is the best known among my friends. I hope you know their names and that you pay attention when you hear them or hear about them on alternative media like Democracy Now! What they are doing takes bravery.

Elite UK Soldier Refuses to Fight w/ U.S. in Iraq
In Britain, an elite SAS soldier is refusing to return to fight in Iraq in what he describes as a morally wrong war of aggression. The soldier, Ben Griffin, is believed to be the first SAS soldier to refuse to go into combat and to leave the army on moral grounds. Griffin said he refused to fight alongside U.S. troops because they viewed Iraqis as "untermenschen" -- the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. He also accused U.S. troops of committing "dozens of illegal acts" in Iraq.

This is our second item and it was tough to pick today. But we need to do our part to get the word out. Ben Griffin took a stand. There is an international resistance to the war. And it keeps growing every day. So we all need to be doing our part and saying no to this illegal war.
This is an important time to make yourself heard because it's the third anniversary of the war. People wonder if protests do anything and I think they do.

I think they raise awareness and motivate others to speak out and that's based on what I saw after the September protests in DC. When I got back that's all anyone wanted to talk to me about. Not just my friends but people I barely knew. They'd come up and say, "I heard you went to DC to protest?"

There's more news and probably one of the biggest is that Russ Feingold is trying to get the Senate to censure Bully Boy. This is from Common Dreams and it's Feingold's "Introducing a Resolution to Censure President George W. Bush:"

Mr. President, when the President of the United States breaks the law, he must be held accountable. That is why today I am introducing a resolution to censure President George W. Bush.
The President authorized an illegal program to spy on American citizens on American soil, and then misled Congress and the public about the existence and legality of that program. It is up to this body to reaffirm the rule of law by condemning the President’s actions.
All of us in this body took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and bear true allegiance to the same. Fulfilling that oath requires us to speak clearly and forcefully when the President violates the law. This resolution allows us to send a clear message that the President's conduct was wrong.
And we must do that. The President’s actions demand a formal judgment from Congress.
At moments in our history like this, we are reminded why the founders balanced the powers of the different branches of government so carefully in the Constitution. At the very heart of our system of government lies the recognition that some leaders will do wrong, and that others in the government will then bear the responsibility to do right.
This President has done wrong. This body can do right by condemning his conduct and showing the people of this nation that his actions will not be allowed to stand unchallenged.

I got two more things to pass on. The first is the one, the only, the powerful Dave Zirin's "Stained Uniforms:"

'Will Major League Baseball be more resistant to change than apartheid South Africa?"That's the question posed by Dennis Brutus, a former leading fighter against apartheid who is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance. The group is pressuring the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team to lead a major league campaign to improve the working conditions of those who stitch and sew uniforms and caps.
In a highly unusual move, the alliance of students, workers, academics and labor activists last year took its case directly to fans entering PNC Park, where the Pirates play. The group's most creative tools are "anti-sweat baseball cards" that use cartoons, celebrity images and satire to tell the story of how Major League Baseball, which negotiates apparel contracts for all teams, exploits foreign workers to produce the gear worn by players and the clothing sold as memorabilia to fans. On the back of the cards, statistics describe the huge profit margins -- an L.A. Dodger jersey can cost between $50 and $300 -- on the clothing items that cost pennies to sew.
The conditions in the sweatshops are deplorable. Pay is virtually subsistence, and on-the-job injury and fatality rates are high. Shifts can run 18 hours with no overtime pay. There is no healthcare insurance, and women are given compulsory pregnancy tests; a positive result is grounds for dismissal. Union organizers usually find themselves out of a job.

By the way, Nina taped Law and Disorder for me and it's everything she and Ruth said it was.
If you've never checked the radio show out, you should. It was really cool. They discussed copyrights and how they effect society and had a Republican on who explained how Bully Boy and the neocons weren't really Republicans. I've been stopping while typing to listen. It's really worth checking out. Be sure to check out Elaine's thoughts at Like Maria Said Paz.

Now if you missed some news last week, here's something for you. And maybe you followed the news but still missed something? Here's the thing Maria did to pull ten stories from last week's Democracy Now! headlines.

"Cinco localidades de Vermont apoyaron juicio político a Bush (Democracy Now!)"
Maria: Buenos dias. De parte de "
Democracy Now!" diez cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Cinco localidades de Vermont apoyaron juicio político a Bush
En Vermont, cinco localidades aprobaron medidas para solicitar el juicio político al Presidente Bush. Los votos surgieron en un momento en que las conversaciones sobre el juicio político aumentan. El lunes, el "Wall Street Journal" publicó un extenso artículo que señalaba que las encuestas indican que hay un mayor apoyo por parte de la población para que se someta al presidente Bush a juicio político, que el que hubo para realizar un juicio político al Presidente Clinton durante todo su mandato. En 1998, las encuestas mostraron que el 27 por ciento de los estadounidenses apoyaban el juicio político a Clinton si había mentido acerca de si había mantenido relaciones sexuales con Monica Lewinsky. Mientras tanto, una encuesta realizada recientemente por Zogby, indicó que el 51 por ciento de los estadounidenses encuestados dijo que el Congreso debería considerar realizar un juicio político al presidente Bush si no decía la verdad sobre las razones para iniciar la guerra en Irak.

Ex fiscal del Departamento de Justicia: "Justificación débil" para el programa de espionaje sin órdenes judiciales
Mientras tanto, un ex abogado de alto rango de seguridad nacional del Departamento de Justicia criticó algunas de las principales justificaciones legales del gobierno de Bush para llevar a cabo el programa de espionaje sin órdenes judiciales. El ex vicefiscal general asociado, David Kris, dice que el argumento del gobierno de Bush de que el Congreso había autorizado el programa de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional al aprobar la utilización de la fuerza contra al-Qaeda, era una "justificación débil" y que probablemente no sería respaldada por la justicia. Kris supervisó los asuntos de seguridad nacional en el Departamento de Justicia desde 2000 hasta 2003.

Grupos por las libertades civiles piden a tribunal que cancele programa de espionaje de la NSA
Dos grupos por las libertades civiles pidieron el jueves a tribunales federales que obliguen al gobierno de Bush a que ponga fin a su programa de espionaje nacional sin ordenes judiciales porque viola el derecho a la privacidad y a la libertad de expresión de los ciudadanos estadounidenses. El pedido del Centro para los Derechos Constitucionales y la Unión Estadounidense para las Libertades Civiles (ACLU, por sus siglas en inglés), surgió sólo días después que los Republicanos obstruyeran una investigación del Senado sobre el programa de espionaje de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional. El Director Ejecutivo de ACLU, Anthony Romero, dijo: "En Estados Unidos, nadie está por encima de la ley, ni siquiera el Presidente. Los aliados del Presidente en el Congreso se están preparando para ocultar su programa ilegal, mientras que otros miembros del Congreso se mantienen al margen. Cuando el Presidente viola la ley, el Congreso no debería dejarlo en libertad".

Bush y Senadores Republicanos llegan a acuerdo sobre espionaje del gobierno
En Capitol Hill, el Comité de Inteligencia del Senado decidió mediante una votación rechazar una propuesta para investigar el programa de espionaje interno del gobierno de Bush. Esta votación surgió luego de que la Casa Blanca y Senadores Republicanos acordaran nuevos lineamientos para la escucha de conversaciones telefónicas llevada a cabo por el gobierno sin órdenes judiciales. Según el "New York Times", el acuerdo establece que el gobierno de Bush debe solicitar órdenes judiciales sólo "cuando sea posible". Al gobierno de Bush se le otorgará un período de gracia de 45 días para llevar a cabo espionaje sin órdenes judiciales si consideraran que solicitarlas comprometería la seguridad nacional. Luego de transcurrido ese periodo de 45 días, el espionaje sin órdenes judiciales puede ser extendido si el fiscal general certifica la postura del gobierno. Asimismo, varios miembros del Congreso estarán informados sobre las actividades del programa. Los Demócratas atacaron el acuerdo. El Senador de Virginia Occidental John Rockefeller, quien se desempeña como vicepresidente del Comité de Inteligencia del Senado, dijo: "Para decirlo sin rodeos, el Comité está básicamente controlado por la Casa Blanca".

Gran Bretaña anuncia intención de retirar soldados de Irak
En otras noticias de Irak, el principal comandante militar británico en Irak anunció planes de retirar a casi todos sus soldados para la primavera de 2008. En una entrevista con el diario "Daily Telegraph", el Teniente General Nick Houghton dijo que el retiro por etapas comenzarían en semanas. Sin embargo, Houghton dijo que el retiro depende fundamentalmente de que los legisladores iraquíes formen un gobierno de coalición nacional y de que los gobiernos estadounidense y británico consideren que las fuerzas armadas iraquíes están preparadas para manejar la seguridad. En la actualidad hay 8.000 soldados británicos en Irak.

Comandante militar iraquí de alto rango muere en Bagdad
Mientras tanto, el jefe de la división del ejército iraquí en Bagdad murió el lunes cuando su vehículo fue atacado. El Mayor General Mubdar Hatim Hazya al-Dulaimi es uno de los oficiales militares iraquíes de más alto rango que perdió su vida en manos de la violencia de los insurgentes. Un comandante estadounidense de las fuerzas armadas que supervisó el contigente militar de Estados Unidos en Bagdad el año pasado dijo acerca de la muerte del General: "Podría ser un golpe del que llevará tiempo recuperarse". El incidente fue uno de varios ataques que se produjeron el lunes y que dejaron un saldo de más de 20 muertos y 50 heridos en todo Irak. En el peor ataque del día, siete personas murieron, entre ellas cinco niños, en un atentado con bomba en un mercado repleto de gente en la localidad de Baquba. Otras 17 personas resultaron heridas.

250 especialistas médicos condenan trato de Estados Unidos a prisioneros de Guantánamo
Más de 250 especialistas médicos firmaron una carta que condena a Estados Unidos por alimentar a la fuerza a prisioneros en huelga de hambre en la prisión de Bahía de Guantánamo, Cuba. La carta fue publicada en la revista médica británica "The Lancet". Los médicos escribieron: "Exhortamos al gobierno estadounidense a asegurar que los detenidos sean evaluados por médicos independientes y que las técnicas como la alimentación forzada o las sillas de sujeción sean descartadas". Los médicos también dijeron que la Asociación Médica Estadounidense debería iniciar procesos disciplinarios contra cualquier miembro que se sepa que violó los códigos de ética mientras trabajaba en Guantánamo.

Amnistía dice que sistema de cárceles iraquí administrado por Estados Unidos es una "receta para el maltrato"
En otras noticias, Amnistía Internacional condenó lo que denomina detención "arbitraria" de decenas de miles de personas en Irak. En un nuevo informe, el grupo defensor de los derechos humanos dice que el sistema de cárceles administrado por Estados Unidos se ha transformado en una "receta para el maltrato". Kate Allen, la directora de Amnistía Internacional en el Reino Unido dijo: "Mientras que las fuerzas estadounidenses y británicas tengan prisioneros en condiciones de reclusión secretas, es más probable que haya tortura, y que ésta no sean detectada ni castigada".

Manifestante dijo a Condoleeza Rice: "Tiene las manos sucias de sangre"
Un manifestante fue expulsado de la audiencia del Senado luego de interrumpir la declaración de la Secretaria de Estado Condoleeza Rice. El manifestante dijo: "Es una guerra ilegal e inmoral, cuántos de ustedes tienen hijos en esa guerra ilegal e inmoral. Tienen las manos sucias de sangre y no se las pueden lavar. Tienen las manos sucias de sangre y no se las pueden lavar".

Se le diagnosticó cáncer de mama a Lynne Stewart
Y la defensora de los derechos civiles condenada a prisión, Lynne Stewart, reveló que está luchando contra el cáncer de mama. A Stewart le diagnosticaron la enfermedad en noviembre, y le extirparon un tumor a principios de este año. Stewart fue condenada el año pasado por conspiración y por apoyar al terrorismo mediante la publicación de una declaración de su cliente encarcelado, jeque Omar Abdel-Rahman. Siempre ha sostenido su inocencia. Afronta una pena máxima de treinta años en prisión. La condena de Stewart está programada para la semana próxima. Sus abogados solicitaron que se postergara la condena hasta fines de julio para que pueda someterse a tratamiento.

Maria: Good morning. Now in English, here are ten news stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

Five Vermont Towns Back Impeachment of Bush
In Vermont, five towns have approved measures calling for the impeachment of President Bush. The votes come at a time when the talk of impeachment is increasing. On Monday the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy article pointing out how polls show there is greater support among the public for the impeachment of President Bush than there ever was for President Clinton. In 1998, polls showed 27 percent of the country backed the impeachment of Clinton if he lied about having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Meanwhile a recent Zogby poll showed 51 percent of the country said Congress should consider impeaching Bush if he didn't tell truth about the reasons for the Iraq war.

Ex-Justice Attorney: "Weak Justification" for Warrantless Spying
A former high-ranking national security lawyer at the Justice Department has come forward to criticize some of the Bush administration's key legal justifications for the warrantless spying program. Former associate deputy attorney general David Kris says the Bush administration's contention that Congress had authorized the NSA program by approving the use of force against al-Qaeda was a "weak justification" unlikely to be supported by the courts. Kris oversaw national security issues at the Justice Department from 2000 until 2003.

Civil Liberties Groups Seek Court to Shutdown NSA Spy Program
Two civil liberties groups asked the federal courts on Thursday to force the Bush administration to end its warrantless domestic spying program because it violates the privacy and free speech rights of US citizens. The requests from the Center for Constitutional Rights and American Civil Liberties Union came just days after Republicans blocked a Senate investigation into the National Security Agency spy program. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said "In America, no one is above the law, not even the president. The president's allies in Congress are preparing to cover up his illegal program, while others in Congress are standing on the sidelines. When the President breaks the law, Congress should not be giving him a get-out-of-jail free card."

Bush, GOP Sens. Reach Eavesdropping Agreement
On Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted down a proposal to investigate the Bush administration's domestic spy program. The vote came after the White House and Republican Senators agreed to new guidelines for the practice of government eavesdropping without court-approved warrants. According to the New York Times, the deal asks the Bush administration to request court warrants only "whenever possible." The Bush administration would be given a 45 day grace period to spy without court warrants if they felt requesting them would compromise national security. After the 45-day period, the warrantless eavesdropping could then be extended if the attorney general certifies the administration's stance. In addition, a handful of extra members of Congress would also be briefed on the program's activities. Democrats lashed out at the deal. West Virginia Senator John Rockefeller, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said: "The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House."

Britain Announces Intent To Withdraw Troops from Iraq
In other Iraq news, Britain's top military commander in Iraq has announced plans to withdraw nearly all of its soldiers by the summer of 2008. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Lieutenant General Nick Houghton said phased withdrawals would begin within weeks. However, Houghton said the pullout is ultimately contingent on Iraqi lawmakers forming a national coalition government and the US and British governments judging the Iraqi military ready to handle security. There are currently 8,000 British troops in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi Military Commander Killed in Baghdad
Meanwhile, the head of the Iraqi army's Baghdad division was killed Monday when his vehicle came under attack. Major General Mubdar Hatim Hazya al-Dulaimi is one of the highest-ranking Iraqi military officials to lose their lives in insurgent violence. A US military commander who oversaw the US military contingent in Baghdad last year said of the General's death: "It could be a blow that takes a long time to overcome." The incident was one of several Monday that left more than 20 people dead and 50 injured around Iraq. In the day's worst attack, five children were among seven people killed in a bombing in a crowded market in the town of Baqubah. Another 17 people were injured.

250 Doctors Condemn U.S. Treatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo
More than 250 medical experts have co-signed a letter condemning the United States for force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The letter appears in the British medical journal The Lancet. The doctors wrote "We urge the US government to ensure that detainees are assessed by independent physicians and that techniques such as force-feeding and restraint chairs are abandoned." The doctors also said the American Medical Association should instigate disciplinary proceedings against any members known to have violated ethical codes while working at Guantanamo.

Amnesty Says US-Run Iraqi Prison System "Recipe for Abuse"
In other news, Amnesty International has condemned what it calls the "arbitrary" detention of tens of thousands of people in Iraq. In a new report, the human rights group says the US-run prison system has become "a recipe for abuse." Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: "As long as U.S. and U.K. forces hold prisoners in secret detention conditions, torture is much more likely to occur, to go undetected and to go unpunished."

Protester to Condoleeza Rice: "Blood Is On Your Hands"
A protester was thrown out of the Senate hearing after disrupting testimony by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The protester said " 'It's an Illegal and immoral war -- how many of you have children in the illegal and immoral war. Their blood is on your hands and cannot wash it away. Their blood is on your hands and you cannot wash it away."

Lynne Stewart Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
And convicted civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart has disclosed she is battling breast cancer. Stewart was diagnosed in November, and had a tumor removed earlier this year. Stewart was convicted last year of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorism by releasing a statement by her imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. She has always maintained her innocence. She is facing a maximum of thirty years in prison. Stewart is scheduled to be sentenced next week. Her lawyers have requested sentencing be postponed until the end of July so she can pursue treatment.