Saturday, July 08, 2006

War as an after thought

Good morning. Covering a few things in this entry. C.I.'s holding entries to note some stuff from me and others so let me get started and move quick. First off, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Chaos and violence continue.
Iraq was rocked with bombings today. As Sandra Lupien noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show, "As many as 17 are dead and at least 50 wounded following attacks on mosques." The BBC reports that the bombs went off "in Baghdad and Baquba following Friday prayers." Al Jazeera notes that, in Baghdad, a car bomb went off near one Sunni mosque and a mortar round landed on another. In addition to the mortar attack on the mosque, Reuters reports another one in Baghdad that took the lieves of at least three people and wounded at least 30. Reuters also notes a car bomb exploding near a mosque in Tal Banat ("killed six and wounded 46") and that three people were gunned down in Mosul. The Associated Press reports that, in Sinjar, at least eight died and 48 were wounded when "a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque".
Along with the above, the
AFP reports that two sheikhs may have been kidnapped. Sheikh Said Mohammed Taha al-Samarrai of Mahmudiyah is reported kidnapped and killed according to Sunni members of Parliament. The second sheikh believed to be kidnapped is Sheikh Alaa Mohammed Abbas al-Rikabi -- and that's according to Sheikh Abdel Ghafur al-Sammarai who also states "that 181 Sunni clerics have been killed since February."
Mahmudiyah was the hometown of Abeer Qasim Hamza, the 15-year-old who was allegedly rape before being killed (along with three of her family members) by US military forces. Steven D. Green is the only one charged so far. In court Thursday, his attorney Scott Wendelsdorf "entered a plea of 'not guilty on all counts,'"
Reuters reports.
In peace news,
Bay Area Code Pink is fasting and picketing . . . outside the home of War Hawk Di Fi (the home warbucks is building): " Senator Diane Feinstein recently voted against John Kerry's amendment calling for the troops to come home. Let's make sure she doesn't disappoint her constituents again. Gather with us, as we encourage her to co-sponsor the Harkin bill (S. CON. RES 93) -- no permanent military presence or military bases in Iraq; no attempt to control the flow of Iraqi oil; and Armed Forces should be redeployed from Iraq as soon as practicable after the completion of Iraq's constitution-making process or December 31, 2006 - which ever comes first."
CODEPINK also continues their fast in DC and elsewhere as people across the country continue fasting or begin to show their support. Kris Wise (Daily Mail) writes of West Virginians taking part in the fast and quotes Janie Poe: "I'll go for as long as my body can hold out or until my group tells me to stop. It's probably detrimental for us on our bodies, but it's us screaming out to people to wake up."
Today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dahr Jamail and Mark Manning (info on tonight's event below) on the subject of Iraq. On the issue of the alleged rape and the murders, Dahr Jamail said, "This type of thing is happening on a regular basis in Iraq . . . [rapes during house raids] even in the capital city of Baghdad." Mark Manning pointed out that the legal immunity given to contractors and the military has created "a huge problem" and that the Iraqis have seen too many incidents being wiped away without investigation.
Event tonight:
An upcoming event: Brava Theater, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco, Friday, July 7th, 7:00 pm. (415-647-2822)

Mark Manning will be screening his film Caught in the Crossfire for those interested in knowing the realities on Falluja that Dexy and the other Green Zoners never got around to telling you. Nadia McCaffrey, who lost her son in the Iraq war, will bespeaking as will Dahr Jamail.

The event was last night. You should check out Manning's movie and know who Nadia McCaffrey is so I'm leaving it in.

So how are you doing? I'm doing better, a lot better. Nina told me last night she wanted to scream "Get over it!" at me a couple of times this week. :D I'm glad I didn't.

Last night was the group meeting where we get together to talk about the war. A few hours before, C.I. called to ask me how my speech was going? I was going to speak for ten minutes and then we were going to have the usual discussion. C.I. listened to me whine again (for about what see Polly's Brew last week for my column). C.I.'s listened all week. (Thanks for that.) I know Elaine would have said, "Work your way through it, Mike, don't stuff it in." I was thinking C.I. was trying to fill in for Elaine since she was on vacation. That still may be true but twenty minutes into my long whine, I answered a question (don't even remember now what it is) and I go, "I just don't think you treat the war like an after thought." C.I. goes, "Mike, that's your real speech."

For about a minute I was all, "Hey, I've been memorizing the speech I'm giving tonight and" all this stuff and then it hit me, that is my speech. C.I. goes, "Call me back in thirty." And I wrote that speech in link ten minutes. I then gave it to my parents to make sure I wasn't crazy about it being a good speech. The loved it and then I called back C.I. and after I finished giving it, C.I. goes, "See, if you hadn't gone through all you did, you couldn't have written that speech." That's true.

So "War As An After Thought" was my speech and people really seemed to like it. Usually, if I have to speak in front of a class, I'm so nervous and just wanting it to be over. I wasn't nervous last night. And everybody really liked the topic and it led to this really good discussion that lasted about two and a half hours with everybody providing their own examples. Since Polly was kind enough to run my column last Sunday, I offered it to her for this weeks' newsletter and she really loves it too. She passed it over to Gareth and Pru because they both e-mailed me and they really liked it. You can judge for yourself tomorrow when Polly's Brew comes out.

I don't know that it's all that but it really was an important topic and that probably helped. And people all wanted to share their own examples last night. Nina goes if I had to mope all the way through the week to get that it was worth it. :D

If you read it tomorrow, add your own examples (there are plenty, I heard lots of them last night) and then stop downing the peace movement which is working hard even if others aren't. It was really amazing to hear all the obstacles we were up against and really makes you appreciate all the work that groups and individuals are doing and have done.

C.I. asked me if I'd add something here (which I think is just C.I.'s way of trying to help me blog): someone e-mailed John Dean's recent column in for a highlight. C.I.'s not linking to it. How come? John Dean writes of someone who has never stood trial, someone who John Dean knows no evidence about (only what the Bully Boy's administration has said), that the guy's "a bad guy." C.I. says: "A lawyer doesn't right that. A lawyer knows better. John Dean's a wonderful commentator but under no circumstances will his 'verdicts' on Guantanamo detainees be linked to by The Common Ills when so many have been fighting not just for their right to trial but also for their very lives. Hopefully, that was Dean's attempt to move on to the 'bigger point' but the thing is, as a lawyer, he should grasp that innocence until proved guilty is a very 'big point.' You don't just tread over it in your rush to make another point."

Which is the perfect set up to my segment of this week's broadcast of Law and Disorder which I catch via WBAI. Rachel Meeropol with the Center for Constitutional Rights was the guest for the second segment. She talked about the roundups that took place after 9/11.

Think about that. Like right now, picture it's October 2001. You haven't seen your dad since the morning of September 11 and so you and everybody in your family is thinking he died in the attacks. That happened to some people because their fathers or husbands got rounded up in secret. They weren't guilty of terrorism, they were 'guilty' of being Muslim. And that's all the government needed to go after them. It continued to happen after 9/11 and that's what Meeropol works for, or one of the issues, at the Center for Constitutional Rights. I knew from the show and from C.I. that this was an issue Dalia Hashad had put in lots of time on. But if you didn't know that before the segment, you knew it during. I like it when she just puts it out there. There's no attempt to sweeten it up. You can tell she's pissed off and I love that.

I think too much time is spent trying to act above it all. What happened was outrageous and when you're talking about something like that, you should be outraged. People were rounded up in secret, the Muslim community was targeted, there was no need for the government to explain itself because they acted in secret. This is horrible that it happened anywhere but it shows you just how bad things were and are under the Bully Boy that it could happen here.

All it took was a little fear and then a lot of fear mongering and we were all like, "Do whatever! Just make us safe! Take away the monster from under our beds!"

So a lot of innocent people got targeted and then treated like dogs. They weren't treated like human beings and I honestly think if we'd treated dogs like this, people would have complained. But we were all being chicken littles running around screaming. If we'd had a real leader, we would have responded differently.

They talked about, Meeropol, Dalia, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith, how people were just taken away. Some of them, if they were American citizens didn't get deported. But they got rounded up too. I hope they'll do a segement on that soon. (I'm pretty sure they have before but I think it's starting to sink in how awful that was.)

People lost their lives. I'd be interested in hearing from family members because there's no way you can go on with your life if that happens to your father or your brother or your husband. The people rounded up were in this black hole, they couldn't have any contact with anyone. If you somehow found out that someone was rounded up, you couldn't talk to them. I know that some people tried to visit the places they were held in and they'd get there and find out, "Oh they were moved last night." They kept doing that, moving them around in the middle of the night. And imagine what that's like. Probably the first day, you're thinking, "Okay, this is a huge mistake. They're going to realize that and let me go." Then it goes on and you have to lose hope and start feeling like you're really all alone and no one can help you.

So listen to the segment and get outraged. I think we've spent too many times being calm about everything. Being calm about what was done to our Muslim-Americans and our Muslim visitors (there's probably a better word for it but I think "visitor" works because we encourage people to visit this country, to come to it and for a better life and we proved that if you're a guest in this country, you're not welcome with our actions on this). Being calm about the war.

We hear about Abu Ghraib and we kind of shurg our shoulders. It's wrong, we'll say but we're not supposed to get too outraged or too upset. We're supposed to say, "These things happen." I think it's past time we got outraged.

Ex soldado se declara inocente de violacion y asesinato de iraquies

Francisco: Hola mi amigos y amigas. Aqui estan 10 noticias de "Democracy Now!". Buen fin de semana.

Ex soldado se declara inocente de violación y asesinato de iraquíes
El ex soldado estadounidense acusado de violar y asesinar a una joven mujer iraquí y a tres integrantes de su familia, se declaró inocente. El ex soldado raso Steven Green, compareció ante un tribunal de Kentucky el jueves. Green es acusado de violar y asesinar a Abeer Qasim Hamza y luego quemar su cuerpo, en un intento por cubrir el crimen. Es posible que Hamza sólo tuviera 15 años de edad. Green también es acusado de asesinar a la madre de Hamza, Fakhriya Taha Muhsen, a su padre, Kasim Hamza Rasheed y a su hermana de 5 años de edad, Hadel. Otros cuatro soldados también están siendo investigados y siguen surgiendo nuevos detalles sobre el caso. El primo de Hamza, Abu Firas Janabi, dijo al periódico "Los Angeles Times" que él fue la primera persona en ingresar a la vivienda tras el ataque. Janabi dice que la cabeza del padre de Hamza estaba "destrozada" y que la hermana menor tenía un brazo visiblemente quebrado. Janabi dijo que Abeer Qasim Hamza yacía en el suelo desnuda y quemada, y que su cabeza estaba aplastada "por un bloque de concreto o un pedazo de hierro". Según Janabi, los dos hermanos pequeños de la víctima se encontraron con su casa en llamas y su familia quemándose adentro al llegar de la escuela. Janabi también sostiene que tres días antes del ataque, la madre de Abeer Qasim Hamza le había dicho que los soldados estaban constantemente registrando su casa y que creía que su hija era el blanco. Janabi dice que sugirió que la familia se mudara a una casa vacía al lado de la suya, pero que los padres insistieron en que estarían a salvo. Janabi explicó que los dos niños ahora se encuentran con su tío en una aldea cercana. Janabi dijo: "Perdieron a su padre y a su madre. Perdieron su casa y a sus hermanas. Su familia era muy pobre y no heredaron nada. Su vida es deplorable". Mientras tanto, las Fuerzas Armadas ahora investigan si el reciente secuestro y decapitación de dos soldados estadounidenses en una localidad cercana, tiene relación con el caso. Los soldados rasos asesinados, Kristian Menchaca y Thomas Tucker, pertenecían a la misma unidad militar que Steven Green y los otros cuatro soldados. Los investigadores creen que los soldados pueden haber sido asesinados en un acto de venganza por la violación y los asesinatos.

Informe: Pentágono admite a neo-nazis y extremistas en las Fuerzas Armadas
En materia militar, el Centro de Leyes para la Pobreza en el Sur advierte que las dificultades de reclutamiento del Pentágono han provocado que se permita que "un gran número de neo-nazis y extremistas radicales violentos" se unan a las Fuerzas Armadas. El Centro afirma que este número podría ascender a varios miles de personas. El investigador del Pentágono Scott Barfield, dice que aparecieron graffitis en defensa de las Naciones Arias, en Bagdad. Barfield dijo que los comandantes no están tomando medidas, incluso tras ser notificados de la presencia de extremistas o miembros de pandillas dentro de sus tropas. Barfield agregó: "No quieren causar una nueva conmoción por el hecho de que haya neo-nazis en las Fuerzas Armadas, porque los padres que ya están preocupados por que sus hijos se enlisten y mueran en Irak, rechazarán aún más la idea de que sus hijos se enlisten si sienten que estarán expuestos a pandillas y personas que creen en la supremacía de la raza blanca".

Infante de marina condecorado devolverá una medalla como símbolo de protesta
Mientras tanto, un infante de marina condecorado anunció que devolverá una de sus seis medallas como símbolo de protesta contra la guerra en Irak. El infante de marina, Sargento Matthew Bee de Akron, Ohio, afirma que considera que el presidente Bush utilizó la medalla de la Guerra contra el Terrorismo con fines políticos. Bee y otros infantes de marina viajarán a Washington, donde intentarán entregar sus medallas a Bush o a miembros del Congreso.

Estados Unidos demolerá partes del centro de Ramadi
En otras noticias de Irak, el "New York Times" informa que las fuerzas estadounidenses planean demoler varios edificios del centro de la ciudad de Ramadi para convertir el área en una nueva "Zona Verde", similar al área de comando estadounidense en Bagdad. El Teniente Coronel Stephen Neary dijo que en alguna de las áreas demolidas se construirá un parque. Y agregó: "Estéticamente será una mejora". Las Fuerzas Armadas están llevando a cabo una operación de gran escala en Ramadi que ya ha provocado la huida de miles de residentes y ha sido comparada con el ataque perpetrado contra Fallujah dos años atrás. Según el "New York Times", un cartel colocado en la base estadounidense local dice: “Sea amable, sea profesional y tenga un plan para asesinar a todas las personas que conoce”. Otro cartel que se refiere al nombre de una unidad militar dice: "Compañía Kilo: Mató a más personas que el cáncer".

Asesinatos en Bagdad aumentan un 16 por ciento
Mientras tanto, funcionarios de la morgue central de Bagdad dicen que los asesinatos se incrementaron abruptamente desde la muerte de Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Durante el mes pasado recibieron más de 1.500 cadáveres, lo cual representa un aumento del 16 por ciento con respecto al mes anterior. Mientras tanto, el periódico "United Press International" informa que son tantos los cadáveres que arriban a la morgue que ya no hay lugar para colocarlos. El sábado, 66 personas murieron y más de 100 resultaron heridas cuando un camión con explosivos detonó en un concurrido mercado de Bagdad. Este fue el ataque más letal desde que el nuevo gobierno iraquí asumió el poder en mayo.

Arrestan a funcionarios de inteligencia italiana por secuestro de la CIA
En Italia, dos oficiales de inteligencia de alto rango fueron arrestados por colaborar con agentes de la CIA en el secuestro de un clérigo musulmán en las calles de Milán, tres años atrás. Mauro Mancini, el subdirector del servicio de inteligencia militar de Italia, fue encarcelado. Su predecesor, Gustavo Pignero, se encuentra bajo arresto domiciliario. Esta es la primera vez que funcionarios italianos son vinculados al secuestro de Hassan Osama Nasr, también conocido como Abu Omar. Nasr fue secuestrado mientras caminaba desde su casa hasta una mezquita local. Nasr fue trasladado a una base conjunta estadounidense-italiana y finalmente a Egipto. Allí, Nasr asegura haber sido golpeado y haber recibido descargas eléctricas en sus genitales. Nunca fue acusado de ningún crimen y nunca fue enjuiciado. Mientras tanto, los fiscales dicen que obtuvieron nuevas órdenes de arresto en contra de tres agentes de la CIA y un empleado de la base aérea estadounidense local. Con estas nuevas órdenes, el número de estadounidenses acusados en relación a este caso desde el año pasado, asciende a 26.

Francisco: Good evening, my friends. In English, here are six news headlines for the week from Democracy Now!

Ex-Soldier Pleads Not Guilty to Rape, Killings of Iraqis
The former US soldier charged with raping a young Iraqi woman and killing her and three family members has pleaded not guilty. Former private Steven Green appeared in a Kentucky courtroom Thursday. Green is accused of raping and murdering Abeer Qasim Hamza, and then burning her body in an attempt to hide the crime. Hamza may have been as young as fifteen years old. Green is also accused of murdering Hamza's mother, Fakhriya Taha Muhsen; her father, Kasim Hamza Rasheed; and her five-year old sister Hadel. Four other soldiers are also under investigation. New details continue to emerge about the case. Family cousin Abu Firas Janabi told the Los Angeles Times he was the first person to enter the house after the attack. Janabi says the father's head had been "smashed into pieces" and the young sister's arm visibly broken. He said Abeer Qasim Hamza lay naked and burned, her head smashed in "by a concrete block or a piece of iron." And according to Janabi, the family's two young sons returned from school to see their home on fire and their family members burning inside. Janabi also says that three days before the attack, Abeer Qasim Hamza's mother had complained to him that US soldiers were constantly searching her house and that she believed her daughter was the target. Janabi says he suggested that the family move into a vacant home beside his but the parents insisted they'd be safe. Janabi says the family's two sons are now with their uncle in a nearby village. Meanwhile, the military is investigating whether the recent abduction and beheading of two US troops in a nearby town is linked to the case. The dead Privates -- Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker -- were from the same military unit as Steven Green and the four other soldiers. Investigators now believe the two soldiers may have been slain as an act of revenge for the rape and killings.

Pentagon Allowing Neo-Nazis, Extremists in Armed Forces
In military news, the Southern Poverty Law Center is warning the Pentagon's recruiting difficulties have allowed "large numbers of violent neo-Nazis and skinheads extremists" to join the armed forces. The Center says the numbers could reach into the thousands. Pentagon investigator Scott Barfield said graffiti advocating the Aryan Nations has appeared in Baghdad. He said commanders are not taking action even after being notified of the presence of extremists or gang members amidst their ranks. Barfield added: "They don't want to make a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."

Decorated Marine To Return Medal in Act of Protest
Meanwhile, a decorated Marine has announced he will return one of his six medals in protest of the Iraq war. The marine, Sgt. Matthew Bee of Akron, Ohio, says he believes President Bush has used the War on Terrorism service medal for political purposes. Bee and other Marines will travel to Washington where they will try to return their medals to Bush or to members of Congress.

US To Bulldoze Parts of Central Ramadi
In other news from Iraq, the New York Times is reporting US forces plan to bulldoze several blocks in the middle of the city of Ramadi and convert them into a new "Green Zone" similar to the US command area in Baghdad. Lt. Col. Stephen Neary said some of the razed land will be turned into a park. He added: "Aesthetically it will be an improvement." The military is engaged in a large scale operation in Ramadi that has already led to the flight of thousands of residents. According to the New York Times, one poster displayed in the local US base reads: "Be polite, be professional and have a plan to kill everyone you meet." Another poster refers to the name of the military unit and says: "Kilo Company: Killed more people than cancer."

Baghdad Killings Up 16%
Meanwhile, officials at Baghdad's central morgue say killings have sharply increased since the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. More than fifteen hundred bodies were delivered last month -- a sixteen percent increase over the month before. Meanwhile, United Press International is reporting delivery of dead bodies is so high the morgue has run out of adequate space to store them. On Saturday, sixty-six people were killed and more than one hundred injured when a truck bomb hit a crowded market in Baghdad. It was the deadliest attack since Iraq's new government took office in May.

Italy Intel Officials Arrested Over CIA Abduction
In Italy, two high-ranking intelligence officers have been arrested on charges they helped CIA agents abduct a Muslim cleric off the streets of Milan three years ago. Mauro Mancini, the deputy head of Italy's military intelligence service, has been jailed. His predecessor, Gustavo Pignero, is under house arrest. The arrests marked the first time Italian officials have been linked to the abduction of Hassan Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Nasr was seized as he walked from his home to a local mosque. He was taken to joint U.S.-Italian base and eventually flown to Egypt. There, Nasr says he was beaten and given electrical shocks on his genitals. He was never charged with a crime and has never appeared in a court of law. Meanwhile, prosecutors say they've obtained new warrants for three CIA agents and one employee of the local US air base. The new warrants bring to twenty-six the number of Americans charged in the case since last year.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ehren Watada

Almost Friday, feeling a little better. Let's kick things off with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:

Chaos and violence continue.
Today in Iraq,
CBS and AP report that a car bomb "near Ana town" wounded two. While the AFP notes car bombs in Baghdad that resulted in at least three dead and at least eight wounded. And the bombing of buses in Kufa has killed at least twelve and wounded over forty. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports that: "The bomber drove his car between the two Iranian coaches as they arrived at the Maithem al-Tamar shrine".
KUNA reports that six corpses were discovered in Kirkuk, Reuters notes "a beheaded" corpse was discovered in al-Zab, AFP reports "the discovery of 35 corpses of the last 24 hours, despite a three-week old security crackdown in the capital". The "crackdown" we're not supposed to notice the failure of.
Among the many of victims of violence has been Alaa Hassan. Hassan, 35-years-old, was an unembedded journalist who died in Iraq Wednesday June 28th: "
When Alaa crossed the bridge Jun. 28, gunmen sprayed his car with machine-gun fire, killing him with six bullets." Aaron Glantz remembers his sometimes co-writer in "A Story IPS Never Wanted to Tell" (IPS). Hassan and Glantz co-authored: "Basra Begins to Fall Apart" (IPS) and "U.S. Military Hides Many More Hadithas" (IPS). (That's not a complete list.)
Meanwhile Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the illegal occupation and the current prime minister, turns chatty.
KUNA reports that he says Iraq is "determined to hound the 41 outlaws" (including Saddam Hussein's daughter) and again bragged about how tight he was these days with the so-called insurgents. He then began recounting his whirlwhind trip in recent days (when he might have better served Iraq by addressing the issue of the alleged rape and murders in as they were happening as opposed to waiting over five days later to even make a public comment) but somehow left out the assurances he gave everyone about how 'stable' Iraq is now and how they should start investing. Though one might expect such statements to be greeted with loud laughter, greed knows no reality. IRIN reports: "Kurds approve foreigner-friendly investment law" and Reuters reports "[a] top United Nations envoy" was in Baghdad today to extoll the IMF and World Bank, and to promise international aid and support provided "Baghdad will commit itself to a series of yet unedfined political, economic and security steps."
Bloomberg notes this on al-Maliki and others' attempts at a peace 'scam': attempts at Happy Talk: "Harith al-Dari, who heads the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars, told AFP on June 30 that the amnesty offer was meaningless because it excluded those who had targeted foreign soldiers. He also said most insurgent groups had rejected the plan because it offers no timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, AFP reported.
As noted during
WBAI's Pacifica news break at noon anchored by Mitch Jeserich*, Ehren Watada was charged by the Army yesterday for his refusal to serve in the illegal war. Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) notes that "Watada said he was morally obligated to obey the Constitution, not what he claimed were unlawful orders to join in an illegal war." Courage to Resist notes: "Supporters in Washington State's Puget Sound area will gather . . . July 6, at 5pm over Interstate 5 on the Exit 119 overpass (adjacent to the entrance to Ft. Lewis)."
In other news, Mitch Jeserich also noted: "Anti-war activists are at the White House" protesting with
CODEPINK and, as Medea Benjamin stated, hope to encourage the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to do as was done during Vietnam, give harbor to the war resistors.* The fasting is to put pressure on the administration and Congress to withdraw US troops from Iraq; to say no to permanent bases; to create "a massive reconstruction effort but with funds going to Iraqi, not U.S. contractors." For more information, click here.
And in trash news, does editing the Independent for a publicity stunt mean London's Independent goes easy on you? Apparently so as
Andrew Buscombe works over time to defend the piggish 'rock star' Bono.
Fat and happy, if not exactly peaceful, Bono has long decided to play his own version of corporate raider (picking off the bones of others) but Buscombe appears unaware of that as he rushes to provide cover for Bono's part in releasing a videogame that brings the "joy" of declaring war on Venezuela to your own home. Unlike an earlier game Bono was involved with ("unwittingly" Buscombe would no doubt rush in to say), Mercenaries 2 World In Flames does not appear to have been financed with either US Defense Department money or CIA money. While Buscombe provides Bono with so much cover he's practically spooning him, Wednesday's
KPFA Evening News provided a more in depth look at the "rock star" and his business. Though quite happy to put out videogames where one gets to attack Iraq or, now, Venezuela, Bono infamously told Jann Wenner, for the November 3, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone, that he didn't feel he could "campaign" against the illegal war in Iraq. Though he may suffer from "War Got Your Tongue?" that doesn't prevent him from profitting.
*Note: Thanks to
Ruth for passing on both Mitch Jeserich items.

So I'll note that Bono's disgusting and talk about it a little but leave it mainly to Kat because this is one of her big issues -- the cowardice of Bono. I grew up hearing how he was our 'guy' -- the one doing this and that and everything. When?

In the 80s? (C.I. and Kat can talk about this at length and also talk about the reality as opposed to the image of Bono.) That was the eighties ended over 16 years ago. What have we had to show for it since? A weak ass supposed statement about AIDS (that he undercut and continues to everytime he talks about the song)?

A lot of ego, a lot of bad CDs (Pop was cow plop). People my age aren't into U2. He's like Rod Stewart or something. He's about as useful musically as Rod Stewart. He's a joke and the band's a joke. They're like the Gin Blossoms or something. They have meaning for those that listened in the 80s, I guess, but for those of us who weren't listening then (I was too young), they're just a really bad band with a singer who bleats out these 'universal' statements that really don't have anything to do with our lives because we're not middle-aged.

That's not, "Where is the love song!" They do lots of love songs, lots of really bad love songs. People my age are concerned about the war and important stuff. We're not getting excited that Bono and Bully Boy hold hands. He, or his ego, killed the group.

So the UN's getting ready to bring the IMF and World Bank in, huh? After Bremer passed all of those laws taking away any rights Iraqis had. You got to read Antonia Juhasz's The BU$H PLAN. It's filled with so many facts and so many important things that you may know already but I'm not sure if you've connected all the dots. Think things are bad now? They're about to get even worse if Iraqis start seeing all these foreign companies coming in and doing good while they take all the money out of Iraq.

I'm sorry about Alaa Hassan. He's one more person that wouldn't have died if it weren't for this illegal war/invasion/occupation. I also want to note that Aaron Glantz did something else the last few days, something really important, he wrote "Pentagon: Tell Us How Many Civilians You've Killed:"

Why won't the Pentagon tell the public how many civilians they've killed in Iraq? We know they're counting.

Pretty big news.

I'm signed up for alerts with Courage to Resist and here's something from their e-mail on the charges:

We are asking you and your organization to do what you can to make support for U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada a priority in the coming weeks and months.
We believe that Lt Watada's stand offers a historic opportunity to assert our power to challenge and end the illegal war and occupation and to support the courageous soldiers and officers who fulfill their commitment to refuse illegal orders to participate in illegal war, occupation and war crimes. We intend to make Lt Watada's stand count as a significant step towards a better, just and more peaceful world.
Refusing illegal war and occupation is not a crime
Today, Lt. Ehren Watada was formally charged with three articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: missing movement (Article 87), two counts of contempt towards officials (Article 88) - specifically President G. W. Bush, and three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman (Article 133). If convicted of all six charges by a general court-martial, Lt. Watada could be sentenced to over seven years in a military prison.
Lt. Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz, said this morning: "We expected the missing movement charge, but we are somewhat astounded by the contempt and conduct unbecoming charges. These additional charges open up the substance of Lt. Watada's statements for review and raise important First Amendment issues. We are delighted that the Army has given us the opportunity to litigate these questions." Most previous prosecutions of Article 88 took place during the Civil War and World War I, and the last known prosecution was in 1965 (Howe vs. U.S.). Lt. Howe was protesting the Vietnam War.
Even before Lt. Watada refused to ship out to Iraq on June 22, the Army was focusing their investigation on his speech. The formal charges confirm that the Army’s primary objective is silencing Lt. Watada’s dissent.
Emergency response support events tomorrow
Friends and Family of Lt. Watada is encouraging supporters that have the ability to hold a vigil, or other support activity in their community tomorrow to do so.
Supporters in Washington State’s Puget Sound area will gather tomorrow, July 6, at 5pm over Interstate 5 on the Exit 119 overpass (adjacent to the entrance to Ft. Lewis).

International day of action; Mass mobilization at Ft. Lewis
Friends and Family of Lt. Watada is calling for an international mobilization of support the day before Lt. Watada is scheduled to be court marshaled – possibly sometime in September.
We are asking groups to begin planning demonstrations, rallies, marches, vigils and/or educational events at appropriate sites in your community (federal buildings, military recruiting centers, highly visible intersections, etc.).
Groups and individuals in the Pacific Northwest, and friends that can travel, are asked to converge at Fort Lewis (south of Seattle/Tacoma, north of Olympia) for the actual court martial and a series of educational events and actions prior.
Illegal war and occupation education and action campaign
We are asking supporters to make a concerted effort in the coming months to educate their groups, networks and community about Lt. Watada’s stand and about the illegality of the war and occupation of Iraq.
This could include articles in newsletters, on websites, letters to the editor, guest editorials, teach-ins, video screenings, etc.
We will send out updates and post information on the website with education ideas, resources (videos, ideas for teach-ins, down-loadable educational materials, etc), and more in coming days and weeks.

Goals for the Lt. Watada support campaign
These are the goals that are guiding the support campaign for Lt. Ehren Watada.
1) No punishment for Lt. Watada.
2) Build mass public support for Lt Watada and others who uphold international, military, and US law by refusing to participate in illegal war and occupation.
3) De-legitimize the illegal Iraq war and occupation.
4) Create a social, political and economic cost to prosecuting illegal war and occupation refusers and to continuing the illegal Iraq war and occupation.
Friends and Family of Lt. Watada

There's a link where you can donate but I can't get that to copy and paste. And from them, here are links to the earlier demonstrations to support Watada:

Over a thousand people in more than thirty cities and towns rallied to support Lt. Ehren Watada last week on Tuesday, June 27! On behalf of the friends and family of Lt. Watada, "Thank You!" to everyone who made this day a success. Below are the photos and reports from this important first step in building a national campaign to support Ehren and to help end the illegal war and occupation of Iraq.
Fort Lewis, WA: Photos Report ~ Amherst, MA: Photos ~ Atlanta, GA: Photos & report ~ Boston, MA: Photo & report ~ Charlotte, NC: Report ~ Cleveland, OH: Photos & report ~ Corvallis, OR: Photo & report ~ Eugene, OR: Photos & report ~ Gardner, MA: Photo & report ~ Harrisburg, PA: Report ~ Honolulu, HI: Photos & report ~ Kansas City, MO: Photo & report ~ Kona, HI: Photos & report ~ Lauderhill, FL: Photos & report ~ Lawrence, KS: Photo & report ~ Los Angeles, CA: Report ~ Nanuet, NY: Photos & report ~ New York, NY: Photos & Report ~ Oakland, CA: Report ~ Oklahoma City, OK: Photos & coverage ~ Philadelphia, PA: Photos & report ~ Pittsburgh, PA: Photos & report ~ San Diego, CA: News coverage ~ San Francisco, CA: Photos & report Photos Video & photos ~ Seattle, WA: Photos & report ~ Tacoma, WA: Photos & report ~ London, United Kingdom: Report ~ Toronto, Canada: Report coming soon ~ Vancouver, Canada: Photos & report ~ Venice, Italy: Report

It matters to me. I hope it matters to you. Here's a story you should check out from Democracy Now!:

Vietnam-Era Veteran Arrested at VA Medical Center for Wearing Peace T-Shirt
Mike Ferner, a Vietnam-era veteran, says he was arrested at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center in Chicago for wearing a Veterans for Peace T-Shirt. We also speak with longtime peace activist Kathy Kelly about the crackdown on dissent.

So am I still "mopey"? A little. C.I. called last night to cheer me up and then, selfish pig that I am, I got a call today to go to X (a music store) for a pick up. Dashboard Confessional's new CD.
That was really nice and I've listened to it non-stop but I really wasn't trying to hint (to C.I. or anyone), "Give me a gift." I know C.I. doesn't think I was so that helps.

It's just a lot of disappointments coming down at once. (If you read my column in Polly's Brew about the places that ignored Nancy Youssef's article, you know what I'm not saying. I've said it about ten times here and keep deleting it.) But it's a great CD and it cheers me up some.

I don't know, maybe other people are doing fine? I just feel like so much isn't getting out. Ramadi's under seige and it's going to be Falluja November 2004 all over again. I know everybody says that the troops won't come home overnight but I would've thought that we could at least prevent the slaughter of another city. It's just depressing and one more thing on my mountain of depression.

And like with Ehren Watada, I feel like banging my head against the wall. C.I.'s real good about saying stuff like, "I can't control what anyone else does elsewhere." And I guess that's the best attitude to have. You're only responsible for what you do. Just focus on what matters to you and if others don't, that's their problem. Sunny's filling in for Elaine and yesterday she wrote "Substituting for Elaine" so be sure to check that out. Also check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BITTER SWEET BIRTHDAY FOR BULLY BOY!," Kat's "Kat subbing for Betty who's subbing for Rebecca" and especially C.I.'s "NYT: Dragging the war out" which was like a morning cup of coffee to me and actually got me up and running this morning. On the plus about all this moping, Jess says it makes it that much easier to do this weekend's edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. (You'll see.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I'm starting with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which gives you all the news you need for today:

Violence and chaos continue. Monday on KPFA's Flashpoints, Dahr Jamail told Nora Barrows-Friedman, "It really is horrible to try to keep in context the level of violence . . . Here we are doing it again with no end in sight and I wonder just how long we'll continue doing it? . . . Things are not just staying the same in Iraq, it's getting exponentially worse."
How long before the mainstream press admits that?
In kidnapping news, Raad al-Harith and his body guards have been released. al-Harith is the deputy electricity minister in Iraq who
was kidnapped Tuesday. The AFP reports that, "after being held for 10 hour," the bodyguards and al-Hareth were released but that is not the case with regards to Taiseer Najeh Awad al-Mashhadni who was kidnapped Saturday. al-Mashhadani's kidnappers, the AFP reports, "issued demands including special protection for Shiite places" and "called for the release of detainees in US custody and a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops".
Both al-Harith and al-Mashhadni were kidnapped in Baghdad. Remember Baghdad? The "crackdown"? The press seems to have largely forgotten it. As the
AFP notes regarding the continued bombings in Baghdad: "The series of blasts come despite an ongoing security plan that has put some 50,000 Iraqi soldiers and police, backed by US forces on the streets."
Basra, which was also placed under a state of emergency also appears largely forgotten.
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The state of emergency ended Saturday, but residents said that little had changed: Shiite militias and tribes still control the city's streets, political factions still fight for control of the city, and Shiite Muslim militias still threaten Sunni Muslims with death. Morgue officials report that the number of people killed in sectarian violence remains unchanged."
Baghdad? The
BBC reports that a car bomb near a mosque resulted in at least six dead and at least 17 wounded. AFP notes a bomb "outside a restaurant . . . noteworthy for the massive banners praising Shiite martyrs it displayed" that killed at least one and wounded at least seven as well as another bomb that went off in a market and wounded at least ten peopole. Reuters notes a car bomb in Kirkuk that left three wounded and a roadside bomb that left two wounded. In Mosul, AFP reports, a police officer and a civilian lost their lives when a car bomb exploded (at least four other people were wounded).
Near Kirkuk,
AFP reports, "a headless male corpse" was discovered. Reuters reports the discovery of two corpses in Kerbala. AP notes the discovery of a corpse ("shot in the head) in Baghdad.
Shooting deaths?
AFP reports a Kurd was killed while driving his car in Kirkuk. In Mosul, Reuters counts four dead from gun shots. In Baghdad, AP reports that a drive by targeted a Shi-ite family, "killing a 12-year-old boy and wounding his brother and two other relatives."
Reuters reports that the central morgue in Baghdad places the body count for June at 1,595. Abdul Razzaq al-Obaidi states: "June is the highest month in terms of receiving cases of violence since" the Februrary 22nd bombing of the Golden Mosque.
To underscore, the waves of Operation Happy Talk that the peace plan/scam was a 'turning point,' that the death of Zarqawi/"Zarqawi" was a 'turning point,' go down the list -- there has been no 'turning point.'
On Tuesday, Iraq's justice minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli made a call for an independent investigation into the alleged rape of an under-age Iraqi female as well as her alleged murder and that of three of her family members. Today, the Associated Press reports, Nouri al-Maliki (Iraq prime minister and puppet of the illegal occupation) is following al-Shebi's call for an independent investigation. Canada's CBC notes that today was the first time he spoke publicly on the matter . This despite the fact that Green was arrested Friday (news broke on Monday) and the US announced the investigation on Friday. Though various reports mention the alleged involvement of others, thus far only Steven D. Green has been charged. Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Sandra Lupien noted that the military has gone from referring to Green having an alleged "personality disorder" to his having an "anti-social personality disorder." Lebanon's The Daily Star reports that Safiyya al-Suhail and Ayda al-Sharif (both serve in Iraq's parliament, both are women) are asserting that al-Maliki needs to appear before parliament "to give assurances the US troops would be punished."

What did I do today? Went to work, went to campus for classes and to do some research in the library. I hate summer classes. Spoke to Jess on the phone for a real long time. I asked him flat out, "Jess, are you moving out to the West coast?" He loves it out there and so does Ty. It's weird because NYC and Boston aren't that close. It's not like Jess was just down the street but California!!!!

Jim thinks Jess is going to announce that shortly. I think Jess and Ty are both going to announce it. I don't blame them. It's fun out there and C.I.'s got the room for them. But it will be sad if Jess says he's moving. (Ty plays personal stuff so close to the vest I bet I'd only learn he was staying out there the day it was time for him to come back or maybe the day after.) Now Jim and Dona are out there too. Maybe that's why I'm down? I've still got classes and everyone's out there having fun: Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona, Ava, Kat and C.I. Nina told me I was in the darkest mood and that's why I've listened to Cowboy Junkies over and over today. If I wasn't in class or at work, I've listened to Early 21st Century Blues over and over.

I really do love that CD. I love the guitar playing which is mainly Michael Timmins. And sometimes Alan Anton lays down a really good base line. Margo Timmins has an amazing voice. It's like water. That's what I think of when she sings. Her voice just flows and spreads out. We did a quick review of this CD at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

I'll just add some stuff to that. My favorite track on the CD is number six, "You're Missing." But I love them all except "I Don't Want To Be A Soldier." The more I listen and listen, the more irritated I am when Rebel comes in with his rap. It's like when Blondie was on some award show with these rappers. Some voices mix well. But Margo Timmins voice is really enough and when Rebel comes on, he just drags it down to me. Most of the time, I skip that track (number 10). I like John Lennon (he wrote the song) but I just don't care for the rap. It's like this nice wave and I'm sure some rapper could come along and ride it but Rebel just sinks it.

"You're Missing" was written by Bruce Springsteen. Dad's got the CD that's on (Springsteen's The Rising) and it's nice enough on there but I really think the Junkies do it better. They're more into the song with the music and the vocal. Springsteen's into it but they're like in it. They just float through that song. I even like "One" even though I'm sick to death of Bono. (Who doesn't sing on it the way he does on Mary J. Blige's cover -- and he ruins it.) They do it really good, so good that even though Bono co-wrote it, I love it. (I'm really sick to death of Bono.)

Michael Timmins wrote some cool songs for the CD too. "This World Dreams Of" is probably my favorite of his. The band's really alive on that song and there are these blues notes the guitar's hitting that I really love. "I hate to take the easy way out, now people" is probably my favorite part of the song.

I talked to Elaine yesterday, of course. She was over here for the Fourth. All day long I was thinking, "I wonder what Elaine thinks about . . ." She's on vacation. Out of the country. Maybe that's why I'm in a mood too?

Nina thinks I'm just bummed because everyone's on vacation (Rebecca as well). I'm sure that's part of it. I wish I was on vacation. I'm so burned out on classes. I felt like I was going to nod off today and ended up pulling out the new Rolling Stone. Johnny Depp's on the cover. That's all I can tell you. I flipped through (on the back row) and mainly just stared at the pages day dreaming. I saw a Q&A with the guy from Dashboard Confessional and thought I should get his new CD. Then I started making a list of CDs I wished I had.

I got to about fifty and then class was, thankfully, over. Tony called me a "big mope" and said I was walking around like I was asleep all day. Probably was. 2008 is so far away but I guess I've been thinking about it and how everyone's like "Oh we'll go dark in November of 2008." That kind of makes me sad. Especially today. Sometimes people will go, "Mike, don't you get tired of staying up all Saturday night each week working with everyone on The Third Estate Sunday Review?" And I'm like, you don't know how much fun it is. It's a lot of fun. We laugh a lot, we argue a lot and it's just a lot of fun.

I don't think it's fun for Ava and C.I. They have to turn out a TV commentary each week and that's got to get old. There's pressure and all because that's what most people come to the site to read. That's why they haven't taken that week off that Jim promised them although I know Jim's glad they haven't taken it yet. But they're not crazy about TV to begin with and to have to write something . . . They always say the writing is the easiest part, it's the watching that kills them. Sometimes, they put off watching it until we're working on the edition and then they'll disappear for about 45 minutes to watch the show (they skip commercials). If they can make time to watch it earlier in the week, they're always in a better mood because that's out of the way. But both of them are really too busy and squeezing that hour (or half-hour) can be a problem. If they watch it early in the week, they'll usually make calls and get scripts or past episodes and some inside gossip. "TV: TESR Investigates: NYC" was their latest and they were really pissed when Jim asked them to do another CSI. They think this ends the coverage because they've reviewed them all now. Tony said this was his favorite one. :D I laughed a lot when I read it too.

So I think why I'm down in the dumps ("mopey" Tony said) was because with everyone off and doing stuff, I just really got how it is going to end at some point.

It's like that song "You're Missing."

Shirts in the closet
Shoes in the hall
Mama's in the kitchen
Baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Everybody's become such a good friend. I'm sure we'll still be in touch and all but there's a difference between being in touch and spending X number of hours on the phone or together working on an edition. It's like when I was half-way through eleventh grade and realized that after senior year, sports were going to be over. I tried not to think about it but it was always there nagging me.

So that's my mood today. Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz because even though Elaine's on vacation, Sunny's filling in for her. I told Sunny to call if she had any problems, questions or just needed to talk to someone. I'm sure she'll do a great job.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Community news for July 4th

Iraq snapshot

Chaos and violence continue. As Dahr Jamail said on Monday's Flashpoints,, "It really is horrible to try to keep in context the level of violence . . . Here we are doing it again with no end in sight and I wonder just how long we'll continue doing it? . . . Things are not just staying the same in Iraq, it's getting exponentially worse."

As Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's KPFA's The Morning Show, former US soldier Steven D. Green was arrested and charged Friday with raping an Iraqi female while he was serving in Iraq and then killing her and three members of her family. The twenty-one-year-old Green was a member of the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army before being discharged with what The New York Times termed a "personality disorder." The BBC notes that Green's next appearance in court will be July 10th. Various press reports note that four others are suspected of involvement but Green has been the only one charged. The Associated Press reports that Minister Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shebli, Iraq's justice minister, has "demanded" that the United Nations provide oversight to ensure that those guilty be brought to justice.

Though the United States military has maintained that the rape victime was at least twenty-years-old, reports beginning with Ellen Knickmeyer's (Washington Post) on Monday have placed the female's age much lower. Yesterday, Reuters reported that the mayor of Mahmudiya declared today that the woman "was no more than 16 years old when she was killed along with her parents and young sister".

In the United States, members of CODEPINK, Granny Peace Brigade, Gold Star Families for Peace, United for Peace & Justice and Women for Peace have gathered in DC and are fasting: "While many Americans will be expressing their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we'll be fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq."

Yesterday, they gathered in front of the Ghandi statue at 3:00 PM where Cindy Sheehan spoke: "This war is a crime. We represent millions of Americans who withdraw their support from this government." Others participating include Daniel Ellsberg, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and Dick Gregory. On yesterday's WBAI's Cat Radio Cafe, Janet Coleman spoke with several members of Granny Peace Brigade about the fast and other actions. Among the women Coleman spoke with was former WBAI programmer Vinnie Burrows who sang a portion of one her songs: "The kids are dying far away in a foreign land/ I must keep on trying, their lives are in our hands."

In Scotland last weekend, members of Military Always Delivers (an activist group like the Billionaires for Bush in the United States) participated in a pro-war march and rally on Saturday. Scotland Independent Media Center reports (text and photos) that many pro-war marches were not in on the prank as members of MAD shouted slogans such as "Cut Welfare, Buy More Bombs!"; "War is the Health of the State"; and "Power Grows out of the Barrel of a Gun" while passing out "deception dollars."

Today, in Iraq, Reuters reports that Raad al-Harith, Iraq's deputy electricity minister, and 19 of his bodyguards were kidnapped in Baghdad. In other violence thus far today, a roadside bomb in Baghdad claimed the lives of at least two police officers and wounded at least four; in Hawija, a mortar attack claimed the lives of at least one and wounded at least two others; and, in Falluja, "[g]unmen wounded a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars."

An upcoming event: Brava Theater, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco, Friday, July 7th, 7:00 pm. (415-647-2822) Mark Manning will be screening his film Caught in the Crossfire for those interested in knowing the realities on Falluja that Dexy and the other Green Zoners never got around to telling you. Nadia McCaffrey, who lost her son in the Iraq war, will bespeaking as will Dahr Jamail.

To date 2538 American troops have lost their lives in Iraq (official count). And 150 members ofAlpha Company of the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry are headed for Fort Dix and then Iraq.

Around the globe. The AFP reports that confronted with a direct threat of nuclear strikes, from North Korea, the White House shrugs and White House spokesmodel Tony Snow declares, "It is still deeply hypothetical." However, the Bully Boy demonstrates no reluctance to play Wallflower with Iran. The Associated Press reports "Western powers" are demanding a July 12th dealine for beginning talks and ceasing nuclear enrichment -- after that, it's a nuclear dance off! This despite Seymour Hersh's reporting that "Pentagon planners and other experts" are not in support of Bully Boy's plan to nuke Iran. Korea? Iran? Iran? Korea? Michael R. Gordon's head spins as he attempts to figure out which war is a "go" in order to start marketing his own brand of home-made (war) porn. (Seymour and Shane -- what have you wrought!) And in the occupied terroritories? The 'jokesters' at the Associated Press, reporting on continued armed agression, dub their story "Israel keeps up pressure on Gaza." In the real world, Nora Barrows-Friedman, on KPFA's Flashpoints, noted that over 130,000 Palestinians have been left without water; that sonic booms are being used to terrorize the population throughout the night; that Israeli forces, in the last week, have abducted " one-third of the Palestinian government. No one in the international community has yet expressed any outrage at this or the Palestinian political prisoner's conditions."

In election news in the United States, Robert Parry writes on the campaign "tool" that benefitted the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004: Osama bin Laden's rush-released video timed to debut four days prior to the election. Though it didn't fly off the shelves at Blockbuster, CIA analysts studying the release came to the judgement that "that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term." Meanwhile, professional politician Joe Lieberman, who never met a baby or an ass he couldn't kiss, has thrown down his Zell-Miller-like marker announcing that if he doesn't win his party's nomination (Democratic), he will run as an independent to hold on to his Senate seat. Particularly surprising to Lieberman may be no cries of: "Say it ain't so, Joe!" This as fellow Democratic War Hawk Maria Cantwell appears to hope she can just wish the war away from constituents' minds. In contrast to Cantwell's fiddle-dee-dee approach, newly declared Democrat Jim Webb stated in Saturday's Democratic radio address: ""I have believed strongly that when things aren't working well, it is the responsibility of our leaders to admit it, and to fix the problem. Some say that speaking out against a war is disloyal to the troops. Whoever says that should consider what it's like to be a troop, wishing someone would speak the truth."

In other election news: Que una sorpresa -- another election in Mexico is rife with accusations of fraud and rigging. Possibly, next time an election approaches, US media outlets could spend less time shoring up the lite candidate as "left" and more time exploring the system that continues to fail the people? (We mean the system itself, but if it's easier to focus on the voting mechanics, even that would be preferred.) The BBC reports that conservative Felipe Calderon is the winner and the less conservative Manuel Lopez Obrador is waiting for a recount while the people of Mexico wait for a real leader to emerge. (The actual count of the votes will not begin until Wednesday, as noted by the KPFA Evening News Monday.)

In science & techonology news, the London Free Press is reporting that: "A huge asteroid whizzed by Earth early yesterday, passing about 433,000 kilometres from the planet's surface -- slightly farther away than the moon." Meanwhile, Jane Kay (San Franciso Chronicle) reports on a new study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science which has found the world's bird population to be disappearing at an alarming rate: "The study, the most thorough analysis of global bird species, says 12 percent of existing species -- about 1,250 -- are threatened with extinction by 2100." La loco bird flies on the op-ed pages of the Washington Post where the always laughable Eugene Robinson shows up days late, without a tardy slip, and rushes to shore up the justifiably (long) tarnished image of Star Jones (a modern-day Joan of Arc burned at the TVQ pyre, to hear Robinson tell it) in a column that will provide laughter for years (print it up, it's doubtful the 'collected works' will ever be published). The always late for the train Robison trots out a seventies spoof of Barbara Walters but seems (not surprisingly) unaware that Star Jones has been spoofed repeatedly in more recent years on both Saturday Night Live and Mad TV. For the record, roaches weren't used in any spoof revolving around Walters. Alleged homophobe, peace-activist hater, and attorney Jones will apparently next argue the case that her firing from The View just because the audiences hated her was a case of wrongful termination at I-Hops and truck stops across the country. Chances are that she won't draw a crowd there either. Meanwhile Robinson is prepping his next hard hitting column: an exploration of Shannen Doherty's public firings. [Note: C.I. participated in the writing of the previous six sentences only after consulting with friends at the Washington Post.] In a better use of space, investigative journalist and internet sleuth Ron Byrnaert discovers that a certain Free Republic poster is apparently better known to many as a voice of the left or 'left.' Ron (Why Are We Back In Iraq?) searches for the answer to the question of "Who is Vis Numar?"

Monday's Democracy Now! offered "We Shall Overcome: An Hour With Legendary Folk Singer & Activist Pete Seeger" while today's broadcast will feature:

StoryCorps: A national social history project records the voices of ordinary people -- citizen and non-citizen, old and young -- telling their stories to each other.

Musical question of the day from Carly Simon's "Playing Possum" (written by Simon, title track to the CD of the same name):

We lived up in Cambridge
And browsed in the hippest newstands
Then we started our own newspaper
Gave the truth about Uncle Sam
We loved to be so radical
But like a rugged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared
Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while?

This joint entry written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz; Wally of The Daily Jot; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; and Ruth of Ruth's Public Radio Report. [With additional help from Dallas and Tracey.]

Monday, July 03, 2006

If the New York Times had used quotes, it wouldn't be plagairism

I'm opening with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for a reason:

Chaos and violence continue. The usual bombings, the usal corpses. The parliament continues to be split into many directions and news is breaking about a United States soldier arrested Friday. First up, KUNA reports that Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE president (United Arab Emirates), met with Nouri al-Maliki today and "voiced . . . utmost concern on deterioration of security position in Iraq".
Al Jazeera reports a car bomb went off in Mosul and took the lives of at least five today. The AP offers an update with the number of dead climbing to seven and the number of wounded to be at least 28. Reuters reports a home invasion that resulted in the death of "two women and a teenage girl" in Najaf. The Associated Press reports that a market in Mahmoudiya was bombed for the second day in a row ("three people were killed and 22 were wounded"). The AFP reports that, while in Saudi Arabia, al-Maliki was attempting to interest foreign investment and stated, "the majority security concerns are centred on Baghdad but there are plenty of other opportunities elsewhere". Apparently that area doesn't include "northern Iraq" where another bombing attack on the oil pipeline has taken place.Corpses?
In Mandali, the Associated Press reports, five corpses were found ("bullet-riddled bodies") near "a sanitation plant." In Hawija, Reuters reports the discovery of "a beheaded body."
Developments in the Mahmoudiya incident where four Iraqi civilians died, allegedly at the hands of the US forces, in March continue including the age of one of the alleged victims and the arrest of a US soldier. To recap, one of the four was allegedly raped and this morning Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) broke the news that the town felt the "woman" was a fifteen-year-old girl who had complained about the 'interest' some US forces had in her. Sandra Lupien noted on today on KPFA's The Morning Show, the military had put the age of the female at 20 years-old when they announced their investigation last week (Friday). Reuters reports that the mayor of Mahmudiya declared today that the woman "was no more than 16 years old when she was killed along with her parents and young sister". Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Ashevilled, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, "the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death" while, if convicted on the charge of rape, "the maxmium statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison."
In Parliament news, KUNA reports, the Iraqi speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani is visiting Iran "accompanied by heads of parliamentary committees and other figures". This as Reuters reports that members of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front continued their boycott and say they will not return to parliament until Taiseer Najah al-Mashhadani is returned released. al-Mashhadani was kidnapped on Saturday. And, closing out news of Iraq's parliament, the AFP reports that Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the lartest bloc of Shi'ites, has stated that amnesty should incluse "insurgents who may have killed US troops."
In the United States, as the 2006 Congressional races heat up, some feel more heat than usual such as War Hawk Maria Cantwell who is trying to keep her Senate seat but facing very vocal constitutents. The Associated Press notes 64 year-old Joe Colgan ("With all the information that is out now that shows the war was a terrible mistake, she will not admit that her vote was wrong. That's a fairly serious flaw.") and Howard Gale, 51 ("What I would be concerned about if I'm her staff is that in November, a lot of people might be so conflicted, they'll just sit it out."). The article also notes the state party's Democratic chair (War Hawk Cantwell is a Dem): "Dwight Pelz acknowledged that Cantwell's support for the Iraq war is hurting her campaign, turning away volunteers and grass-roots support."
And in peace news, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg, Tammara Rosenlef and Charlie Anderson are suing McLennan County "over roadside camping and parking bans" near Bully Boy's ranchetta in Crawford. The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit was filed on Friday. Cindy Sheehan writing her reflections as the Fourth of July is upon us:
BushCo and the neocon regime embarked on this disastrous misadventure in Iraq to prove to the world how strong and virile Pax Americana is. Their abjectly failed mission, which was evil and corrupt from the beginning, has not proven how strong our nation is, but, on the contrary, how weak. However, the neocons have managed to prove, that how, with the "mightiest" war machine in the world an insurgency in a country smaller than the state of California can hold their false freedom and deadly democracy at bay. One other thing that the neocons have proven is that America is no longer the moral touchstone of the world but is a nation that commits torture and crimes against humanity with the presidential seal of approval. BushCo has destroyed any credibility our nation ever had in the world and all of us need to fight to regain it and thereby redeem our own souls.
And finally, CODEPINK is calling for a day of action tomorrow:
On July 4, we will launch an historic hunger strike called TROOPS HOME FAST in Washington, DC in front of the White House. While many Americans will be expressing their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we'll be fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq. Read an interview with Diane Wilson to learn more. We're inviting people around the world to show their support for this open-ended fast by fasting for at least one day. Please sign here to join us in DC or to support us in your hometown and encourage your friends to do the same.

Why'd I start with that besides it being worth starting with? Tony just called and goes, "Go to the New York Times home page!"

Ex-G.I. Charged in Slaying of 4 and Rape in Iraq
By DAVID STOUT and KIRK SEMPLE 3 minutes ago
Federal prosecutors charged Steven D. Green, a 21-year-old former private first class, with murder and rape today

Three minutes ago? They sure took their time. Especially since so much of the story relies on the press release C.I. was using at 9:08 am (12:08 my times and the Times) and wire reports available then too.

I think my favorite sentence from the Times article is:

The United States attorney's office in Louisville said the defendant is subject to civilian prosecution under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows crimes committed in foreign countries by members of the United States military to be prosecuted as if they had been committed within the United States.

In fact, I'd like it the first time I read it in the press release C.I. linked to:

Green is subject to civilian prosecution under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows crimes committed in foreign countries by members of the military to be prosecuted as if they had been committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

The press release is where they got the information and it wasn't "said" it was written by them. So the Times thinks it's okay to copy word for word? What is that? 35 words they ripped off without putting in quotes?

So let's see what we've learned. Almost five hours after I saw the news at The Common Ills, the Times publishes a story that plagairizes a press release and really doesn't have much to offer (or mention the Washington Post -- where a real reporter went to speak to the people of the town)?

Tells you what you need to know about the paper of no record.

Tony also saw this by Katrina vanden Heuvel online and asked me to note it too. What I won't do for my best bud. :D This is from "A July 4th Declaration in Defense of the Constitution:"

It is clear that the American Constitution is in grave danger. It is time to make the defense of the Constitution a national theme for all candidates in this year's electoral contests.
The threat to the Constitution from President Bush, his administration, and an accomplice Republican Congress is all too obvious. In clear violation of established law and centuries-old political precedent, they have wiretapped American citizens; imprisoned citizens without warrants, charges, or means of redress; sanctioned and abetted the
torture of foreign nationals; ignored clear Congressional legislative intent with the likes of 750 signing statements; disabled Congressional oversight of their actions; undertaken an assault on the press' right to publish the truth; and suppressed dissent and public-minded information disclosure within the Executive branch itself.
This abuse and overreach of Presidential power directly challenges the "checks and balances" at the core of our constitutional design. It proposes a government fundamentally different from that declared by the Founding Fathers.