Friday, August 11, 2006

Fight the propaganda

Friday still! :D I'm not at home, we're out west. If I were home, it would be after midnight. Instead, it's not even ten o'clock.

Place is packed and a friend of C.I.'s mentioned something. I told C.I. I'd link tonight. This is from David Swanson and he's one of the people who worked really hard (really, really hard) to get the word out on the Downing Street Memos. This is from "AWOL War Resister Sergeant to Turn Himself in Today:"

Ricky Clousing, a Sergeant in the US Army, and a veteran of the Iraq War who has been AWOL for a year announced today at the Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle that he will turn himself in later today at the gates of Fort Lewis and face whatever punishment the military chooses to impose.
Clousing said he did not apply for conscientious objector status because he is not certain he would oppose every possible war, such as one fought in self-defense. He said he has spent the past year trying to figure out how to turn himself in, that the military has refused to comment on his status and that he is now choosing to force them to deal with it.
Clousing spoke at a press conference on the campus of the University of Washington. Many supporters of his stand made brief remarks before he spoke. Clousing said he served in Baghdad and Mosul as an interrogator, and that this meant he spoke to Iraqi civilians every day and learned what they thought about the war. Clousing said he witnessed the routine incarceration of civilians with no basis and no ability to contact their families. He spoke in particular of four brothers, the youngest aged 12, locked up for three to four weeks. Physical abuse of civilians and the killing of one Iraqi civilian were among the crimes Clousing said he witnessed.

That's one more speaking out. This should be a really big time for independent media. You've had the details of Abeer's death (14-years-old with a military investigator testifying to the confession of one of the four US troops accused of how they took turns holding her down and raping her before killing her -- also killed three members of her family). Camp Casey is back open. CNN does a poll that finds 60% of the people polled are against the war.

This could be a huge time, a great time for the peace movement. But that would mean people would have to be really covering it and by "people" I mean independent media.

With Ricky Clousing, Amy Goodman suddenly remembered Iraq and the peace movement. Will the memory last long or we will have to wait 16 days or more before the next story? (Ned Lamont's election isn't covering Iraq.)

C.I. was actually going to link to Goodman's story while noting the writer who broke the story (at midnight the story was online, Friday morning it was in print) but we were all like, "Uh-uh. This is one day. Let's see something that demonstrates this isn't just one day and next week will be all about Mexico's elections or Israel or whatever." I felt bad after because C.I. had the bulk of a snapshot ready really early. The Jake Kovco thing and the Ricky Clousing thing was all written and there were events of Iraq today. But it was busy this morning. There was a friend who's getting ready to present a paper at a conference who came over to try it out. There was picking us up at the airport and later seeing a friend off. There were two meetings on issues. (Iraq and immigration.) And there was this dialogue thing that Jim, Dona and C.I. organized. During all of this, there was the snapshot. And with us all going, "Don't include Democracy Now!" and making it wait, we bumped into an editor friend of C.I.'s during lunch and he looks over the snapshot C.I.'s typing away on and goes, "No, no, you have to skip that. You've got to note the week because most people have no idea what's been going on in Iraq." So C.I. again redoes the snapshot. The battery on the laptop is dying and it barely get saved. So, if I'd known the day would turn out like that, I would have said, "Note whatever." C.I. was really trying to get the snapshot done early because there was so much to do today and we were all coming in.

It's crowded here tonight. Not complaining. But I meant to blog a lot earlier. Elaine came over and said she was going to blog and then turn in and I go, "What time is it?" I thought she was telling me the time if we were back home at first because I couldn't believe it was already that late. Seemed like the party just started.

It was a busy day. Jim goes it's always like that and the way he said it made me think I was right, the gang's going to relocate. I know Jess' loves the classes he's taking out here. I think they're all going to transfer out. I think they already made the decision and the arrangements.
Dona and Jim love NYC the most. Ava's got family here and back east but she really does prefer the West coast. Ty's had a blast all summer so I've always thought he'd stay. I know they feel like more is going on out here. They feel like people are more serious or the people they know out here are more serious. And you've got C.I. and Kat out here. There's a lot going on. I'm not tempted because I like my hometown. But I can see how they would be. It'll be weird not being able to visit them because they really aren't that far compared to if they move out here. Jim and me have gone to baseball games and stuff. We all went to a concert. There's just been a lot of changes (round-robin readers know that) and I'm probably just feeling like, "Okay, what next?"

So that's the personal. Cedric, Wally, Fly Boy, Elaine and me were talking about how much happened this week, with actions agains the war and news from Iraq and how little attention it got. If independent media had given even a 1/4 of the time to Iraq this week that they gave to covering Israel, I think we would have seen some real action and some real enthusiasm even from people who just decided they were against the war. Instead, all this stuff happened without the coverage it needed.

I almost shared a story Thursday but I wanted to check the person out with Elaine. Wednesday I was supposed to cover Jake Kovco but when I was going through the all the news, I was kind of lost. I noted that and got an e-mail from "Old Flame" who is an attorney in Australia. ("Old Flame" was the requested name to be used here.) When C.I. was covering Kovco's case early on, Old Flame called and goes, "You're leaving out an important detail." And C.I. ("Old Flame" is an old flame of C.I.'s) goes no, "I don't believe in the this 'buddy system' it doesn't seem plausible and it doesn't fit." That was what the military was saying (Australian military). That they had a policy in place where a soldier emptied a gun in front of another so no one ended up with a loaded gun in their sleeping quarters. Old Flame wrote to say C.I. had been right about that. (If the system existed, if -- there's doubt about it, it wasn't being followed. That was a big point in some of the coverage and C.I. didn't buy it and didn't note it.) But it was a really cool e-mail. I mentioned it to Elaine to check "Old Flame" out and she didn't recognize the name and then I told her Australian lawyer and some other things and she said that was "years ago." :D She goes C.I. stays in touch with everyone. Lovers, friends, everybody and that's one reason C.I. can pick up the phone and go, "Hey, explain this to me." (Elaine also goes C.I. "dated out of major and out of the friendship circle" to avoid any problems after breakups. Which Elaine said was an example she should have followed in college because of a messy breakup with a guy who sounds like a real jerk.) So I started thinking about that and all and how years from now, we'll probably have another idiot in the oval office starting an illegal war or something else and I want to be able to do my part and all. The opposition to this war started before it and it has grown and grown (with little help from the media) and I think that's because of the fact that people like me were born after Vietnam and knew about it even a little so we weren't starting from point zero and also because people who were speaking out before worked their butts off. So in a decade or two if this happens again (and it probably will), I want to be able to talk to all the people at our discussion group back home and say, "We've got to get busy, what can we do?" And be able to share stories of what worked before and what works now.

There has been a lot of trashing of the peace movement by some so-called left friends and a lot of trashing young people of today. Elaine and C.I. never did that. And that's something I really hope I remember. I hope I'm smart enough not to look at college and high school students when I'm older and think, "Oh well why isn't this happening or that?" It's a process and if you're paying attention, you see it happening and growing. I've seen it with my friends and classmates.
And I really want to remember that. I want to remember how the ball got rolling and how it might be just a few at first who are willing to do something but there are people listening and they'll find their "comfort zone" and start doing a little more.

There is so much propaganda on the Iraq war and you're up against that. Which is why indymedia can never NOT cover Iraq. Look at this week. Let's just look at the two American soldiers who died. The helicopter crashed on Tuesday. Military waited until Wednesday to note it. Waited until Thursday to note that two were dead. They put as much distance between the bad news as they can. They know what they're doing.

Or take Abeer and how the New York Times wouldn't even print her name during the Article 32 hearing. They'd printed it before. But this week, there's a hearing with four soldiers accused of raping her, murdering her and her family and trying to burn her corpse. And the New York Times can't even name her. Don't kid yourself that this wasn't a way to erase her. The names you read, over and over, were the accused. And the story was all about what they went through.

That needs to be called out. But that didn't happen on radio or TV or on magazine's websites.
We were on a campus at one point today and C.I. was making the point that Abeer was erased from the hearing into what happened to her. Afterwards, I was talking to a group of students about Abeer and two people come up, friends of the people I'm talking to, and they were asking questions about what we were talking about and they were really stunned. There was disbelief that this could happen and we had to pull up the CNN story on computer to prove it. Then these two were just disgusted with the media. (CNN named her. They weren't disgusted with CNN.)

A lot of people would be disgusted right now. With what happened (which came out during a batch of scandals and is kind of vague for some people now) and with how the press ignored it.
It's too bad independent media doesn't give a damn about Iraq these days. We could have seen the 60% jump up to 70% or higher. (Amount of Americans who think the war was wrong.)

Anyway, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Friday, August 11, 2006 with two police officers dead from a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, another police officer shot dead in Mosul and a man on his way to work in Baiji shot dead. In the United States Ricky Clousing says no to war; in a sotto voice US military flacks give statements about the two US soliders who died in Tuesday helicopter crash and while recruiters struggle to meet their lowered targets, some applicants remain unwelcome.
Starting with the last item, the
AP reports on Haven Herrin who would like to serve in the military but she is a lesbian and wink-wink-nudge-nudge no gays or lesbians have ever served in the US military. Reading the report which begins and ends with the Clinton era "Don't Ask Don't Tell," news consumers are probably left unaware that an openly gay man has served in the US military.
While some can't get in, others refuse to serve in an illegal war based on lies.
Writing for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mike Barber broke the news today that Ricky Clousing would turn himself in. Ricky Clousing, 24-years-old, checked himself out of the military after serving in Iraq. Speaking to the AP, Clousing stated, "My experience in Iraq really made me second-guess my ability to perform as a soldier and also forced me to question my beliefs in associating myself". Clousing's announcement comes on day two of the Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle (which concludes Sunday the 13th). Clousing questions the legality of the illegal war and "I came to the conlusion that I could not train or be trained under a false pretense of fighting for freedom." Barber notes that Clousing went AWOL from "Fort Bragg in 2005 after returning from Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division."
Barber broke the news, the AP is all over it. And gold stars for others? They'll have to demonstrate that they're going to cover it. Not, "Look how much I care, today I'll make time for this issue and then next week . . . Back to Israel non-stop!" (or whatever the topic is). Too much isn't being covered.
Clousing is one of many war resisters. This week,
Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) took a look at some who had decided to do a self-check out and go to Candada -- mentioned were Ryan Johnson, Patrick Hart, Christian Kjar, Brandon Hughey, Darryl Anderson. Brandon Hughey and Jeremy Hinzman will learn shortly whether they're appeal will allow them to remain in Canada or not. Other war resisters include Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Aidan Delgado, Kevin Benderman. Katherine Jashinski. Camilo Mejia is generally considered to the the "first Iraqi War Resister." Benderman is attempting to appeal the Court-Martial and has been designated a "Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International. Benderman's case hasn't vanished, just any coverage of it. That's true of Hinzman and Hughey as well. Let's be really honest, that's true of the independent media attention on all things having to do with Iraq. (And remember it was Mike Barber who broke the story.)
Two names more recently in the news are
Suzanne Swift and Ehren Watada. Their cases haven't vanished just because, for example, an announced and filmed interview with Swift's grandfather never aired as Iraq fell off the radar. Watada faces an article 32 hearing on August 17th which is next Thursday. Courage to Resist and are organizing and trying to get the word out for "a National Day of Education" on August 16th. Writing of Watada, Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) noted Watada's refusal to deploy to Iraq was a "no" and that: "When we say 'no' the war ends. Ehren is saying 'no.' He can make a difference. He is making a difference but it will be a huge difference with quick impact if we show our support." Noting the work of his parents, Courage to Resist and, Cedric wondered where the coverage was?
Attending the conference in Seattle was Cindy Sheehan who is offering
Camp Casey III "as a refuge for U.S. troops who desert to resist the war in Iraq." As The State News notes on Bully Boy's low approval numbers, "Clearly, Sheehan is not alone in her position. But while a large population within the United States disapproves of Bush and the war in Iraq, it seems only a small population is doing something about it." Sheehan does her part and then some but it "seems" others aren't because of the lack of media attention. Watada and Swift are 'doing something.' Across the country, across the world, people are engaged in attempting to end this war, day in and day out. It's the media that can make it appear nothing is happening or report what's actually going on. Credit to Barber, AP, May and others in big media who've been covering these issues (especially the press in Hawaii) while others had other things to emphasize (non-stop). Or, as Molly Ivins points out: "The more surprising development is how completely one story drives out another. At other times, the collapse of Iraq would have been news." A collapse that has included, as Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) wrote, "There are no laws that say we have to wear a hijab (yet), but there are men in head-to-toe black and the turbans, the extremists and fanatics who were libearted by the occupation, and at some point, you tire of the defiance. You no longer want to be seen. I feel like the black or white scarf I fling haphazardly on my head as I walk out the door makes me invisible to a certain degree -- it's easier to blend in with the masses shrouded in black. If you're a femal, you don't want the attention -- you don't want it from Iraqi police, you don't want it from the black clad militia man, you don't want it from the American soldier. You don't want to be noticed or seen."
Reuters notes six corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("bound and blindfolded") Of the six, AP notes that they had all ben shot execution style. This was the week that, as the BBC noted, the body count at Baghdad's central morgue for July only had been 1,855. AP noted Dr. Sabah al-Husseini's declaration that "two-thirds of the deaths reported in Baghdad since January were due to violence."
This was the week of the Article 32 hearing to determine whether or not to file rape, murder and arson charges against US soldiers James Baker, Jesse V. Spielman, Bryan L. Howard and Paul Cortez. (Steven D. Green, who is also accused in the incident will stand trial in US federal court because he was discharged before the incident was uncovered. Anthony W. Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident.) The incident?
Abeer Qasim Hamza. Presenting his closing argument in the hearing, Captain Alex Pickands stated, "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable." The defense (and the New York Times) offered stress of combat and fatigue. Pickands response? "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."
It was the story that should have gotten intense coverage.
Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) has argued Abeer's story is the story of the illegal occupation boiled down to one person. Instead, as Mike (Mikey Likes It!) has pointed out, you had the New York Times offering the defense's argument and Abeer? Silence. She wasn't even named.
This was also the week of yet another poll finding where respondents echoed earlier polls by standing strongly against the illegal war.
CNN found that 60% of Americans responding in their poll were against the war -- the highest opposition since the war began in March 2003.
Those were among the Iraq related stories that should have received coverage, discussion and exploration.
Another, in Australia, would be the military inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad.
Belinda Tasker (Herald Sun) reports on Solider 1's testimony which resulted in tears for Shelley Kovco (widow of Jake Kovco) and Judy Kovco (mother of Jake Kovco). While the family of Kovco has every reason to well up when their lost one is spoken, the press has no excuse to go soft and mushy but, apparently, despite repeated testimony to the contrary, the nonsense of the 'buddy system' is back. Soldier 1 tossed off a few words (via video-link) and then used Jake Kovco to argue that they'd reworked the "buddy system" since his death. The press runs with it, failing to note that there witnesses' testimony (as opposed to the statements the military wrote and submitted in their name) that there was no "buddy system" in place. Ian McPhedran (Courier-Mail) offers a less sentimental view as he weighs in on Jake Kovco's death and Australia's involvement with Iraq: "We're being kept in the dark."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Not much due to Blogger/Blogspot

One more day to Friday. When will this go up? I don't know! I went out last night because Blogger was supposed to be down. Turns out, despite their announcement, they pushed it back to tonight. So I've got maybe seven minutes to do an entry.

Now Elaine can handle that kind of pressure and did last night. Read her "Be a pest" and sit there and think, "She wrote all this in 15 minutes?" She can type, she can write. Me, I got to hunt and peck and think a bit and then think a bit more. And I don't have that kind of time tonight.

Let me note C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and then I'll put in whatever I can after:

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Thursday, August 10, 2006. At least 35 die in a bombing, Ehren Watada supporters try to raise awareness of his upcoming Article 32 hearing, no one appears to be watching the American fatality count and a witness in the death of Jake Kovco tells the military inquiry, of his statement, "That's the words that were already on the computer" -- not what he actually told investigators.
As all things media big and small go breathless and stupid over the fact that 4 captors or "captors" of Jill Carroll may or may not have been arrested (three of which would have been arrested back in May) reality's out there and two families in America probably won't be joining the blather.
Yesterday the American military announced that on Tuesday a "60 Blackhawk helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing" crashed. The crew numbered six. Four were found (injured). Two were missing.
As some blather on over (at best) a three month old bust, the US military sneaks out the whisper that the two missing are dead. As well as those two dead,
KUNA reports US army publicist Barry Johnson announced "three soldiers died in attacks in Al-Anabar." Of the three, Reuters reports they "were assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armoured Division". We're going to drop back to June 15, 2006 for a moment when the Pentagon announced that 2500 American troops had died in Iraq.
For over six weeks, as big media and indy media have provided their wall-to-wall, non-stop coverage of Israel's armed aggression, would you guess that the body count is up to
Let's repeat that. On June 15, 2006 the Pentagon announced 2500.
97 American troops have died since then -- and where is the coverage?
Big media, little media, do American news consumers grasp that since June 15, the number of US troops killed has risen by 97?
Starting with peace news, though many in the media continues to ignore
Camp Casey III, the Green Party has announced that "Greens Join Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey." Bill Holloway states: "We stand by Cindy Sheehan and the Gold Star Families for Peace in calling for an immediate end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The Green Party has opposed the war from the beginning, before the invasion was launched."
In other peace news,
Karen Button ( interviews war resister Kyle Snyder who went on self-leave from the US army a year ago and is now in Canada. Snyder addresses his time in the military (including being prescribed Lorazipam and Paxyl for grief -- grandfather passed away, fiancee miscarried) and the 'reconstruction' he saw: "I was in Mosul. I was in Baghdad. I was in Stryker. I was in Scania. I was in Tikrit. . . Iraq is the size of Texas, it's a small country. People need to realise that. There were reconstructions of forward operating bases and military bases, but no city work being done. I mean, none of that. So, why are engineers there."
Ehren Watada is the first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. In exactly six days
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
Rod Ohira (Honolulu Advertiser) reports on the upcoming rallies and speaks with Michael McPhearson who speaks of the issue of consciousness being raised by Ehren Watada's actions: "That's the most dangerous to the pro-war people." Lester Chang (Kauai Garden Island News) reports that Watada's mother, Carolyn Ho, will visit Kauai September 10th (5:30 pm, United Church of Christ in Hanapepe) to talk "to Kaua'i folks about my son's stand and issues that surround that particular stand, and why he thinks the way he does." On this visit and the actions taking place to support Ehren Watada, his attorney tells Chang: "It is important that public opinion supports Lt. Watada. I think it will have impact on how the case proceeds."
Turning to the violence and chaos in Iraq, we'll start with news of bombings.
Of the reported violence today, the one most covered is the one that
Elsa McLaren (Times of London) describes this way: "A suicide bomber has killed at least 35 people and wounded 90 near a sacred Shia shrine in the city of Najaf in southern Iraq today."
The explosion occurred,
BBC's Mike Wooldridge reports, as "the streets leading to the shrine were packed with pilgrims and shoppers in the middle of the morning". CBS and the AP quote a man injured during the explosion: "Before I reached the checkpoint, only a few (feet) from the shrine, I heard a huge explosion. Something hit me on the head and I fell. I couldn't hear for a while but I saw bodies and human flesh everywhere." Elsa McLaren (Times of London) reports: "Television footage of the devastation showed the body of a child being laid besides other bloodied corpses on a patch of ground beside a hospital. The dead were marked and numbered with white labels on their foreheads for identification." AFP notes: "The attacker detonated an explosives-packed vest at a police checkpoint in the historic city of Najaf, a short distance from the mausoleum of Imam Ali, one of the most revered figures of the Shiite faith, police said Thursday." Reuters reports: " Ambulances drove through the streets of Najaf appealing for blood donations as the scale of the carnage became clear."
Reuters notes that a roadside bomb in Hawija killed two police officers and left two more wounded. Reuters reports: "Six people were killed by a bomb in a restaurant in southern Baghdad". In Baghdad, three people died and at least five were wounded when mortar bomb landed on a restaurant (this is not the same incident as the bomb that killed six in southern Baghdad).
Reuters reports a police officer shot to death in Falluja, a civilian killed in Mosul and "Maad al-Saadoun, a brother of Sunni legislator Mudhhir al-Saadoun, was shot dead by gunmen in his car in the town of Muqdadiya". CBS and AP report four police officers were shot dead in Baghdad, AFP puts the number at seven (citing "security and medical sources")..
AP notes that five corpses were found today. From AFP: "Baghdad's main morgue last month handled the corpses of 1,850 people from its immediate region alone, most of them gunshot victims, Iraqi health ministry spokesman Qasim Yahia told AFP." Reuters notes: "The July morgue toll of 1,815 marked a big jump over the 1,595 in June and is the largest since the aftermath of the February bombing of the Shiite Golden Mosque of Samarra, which triggered an explosion of sectarian violence.:
On April 21st, Jake Kovco died in Baghdad. How he died is the main issue of an inquiry currently going in Australia. Other issues include why the death scene was cleaned up before investigators arrived, how a Bosnian carpenter was confused with Kovco and shipped to his grieving family in Australia (Shelley Kovco, widow and mother of their three children; parents Judy and Martin Kovco). Soldiers serving in Iraq have been brought before the hearing in person and via "video-link" testimony. Soldiers are identified not by name but given a number.
Yesterday, "Soldier 14" dropped a bombshell.
Peter Charlton (Courier-Mail) reports that the soldier "told the inquiry that a statement he made to military investigators was not accurate." The so-called buddy system policy (where they were paired up and responsible for checking each other's weapons to be sure they were unloaded at the end of their shift) doesn't appear to exist. Which is strange considering how much the hearing had previously heard of it. Tom Allard (Sydney Morning Herald) notes that Soldier 14 "is the second soldier in Iraq to say their statements were strongly guided by military police." Allard reports of Soldier 14's statements: "His testimony came as more irregularities about the investigation emerged, with the military failing to pass on to police in NSW a second weapon in the room when Private Kovco died from a gunshot wound to the head."
Dan Box (The Australian) reminds that "Military police investigators also failed to conduct any forensic tests, while the army's decision to clean the room in which Kovco died and the clothes his roommates were wearing meant potentially vital forensic evidence was lost." The AAP reports that Soldier 30 has spoken (via video-link) to the hearing ("Jake Kovco's commanding officer") and he is claiming that the orders not to preserve the death/crime scene came from him because he saw it as a way "to help boost the morale of his soldiers." Which is either the biggest lie or the most frightening thing about the hearing this week.
In America, the legal news is over Nathan Phan will face charges. As
reported by Josh White and Sonya Geis (Washington Post), Lt. Phan is rumored to soon be facing charges for an April 26th incident in Hamdaniyah where US Marines alleged "grabbed an Iraqi man from his home, bound his arms and legs and shot him in the face." Daniel Strumpf ( traces the other allegations against Kilo Company (Phan is "the commanding officer of the Camp Pendleton based 2nd Platoon of Kil Company in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment") noting "seven Marines and a Navy corpsman . . . were charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy, in connection with the April 26 death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad . . . in Hamdaniya"; and that "six Marines from Kilo Company, three of whom were already charged in Awad's death . . . were accused of assaulting three Iraqi men on April 10".
Finally, in election news,
Derrick DePledge (Honolulu Advertiser) reports that Dennis Kucinich (who came in second in ""Hawai'i presedential cacus two years ago") is in Hawaii to campaign for US senator Daniel Akaka. Next month, Akaka faces Ed Case in a primary race. Case doesn't support a withdrawal of troops from Iraq and though Case would no doubt call it a 'tremendous oversimplification,' he's a War Hawk. His motto "The Time is Now!" apparently refers to dragging the illegal war on: "The Time is Now to Continue The Illegal War!" Like a Little Joe Lieberman, Case flounders while Akaka makes Iraq a central campaign issue. Ad DePledge notes, Daniel Akak was one of thirteen senators on June 22nd willing to call for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by July 2007.

Did you realize that on June 15th American military fatalities hit 2500 and that we're now three away from 2600? Where has the coverage on this been?

No where. That's almost one hundred in sixty days. The coverage hasn't reflected that, hasn't addressed that. There's been no increase in coverage, nothing to demonstrate what has been going on.

Now I can tell you everything that Israel has done. I don't live in Israel. I didn't vote for the government there. But I can tell you all about Israel. I just can't tell you about a lot of stuff going on in the US led illegal war on Iraq.

If that doesn't make independent media wake up, what will? Really. They've given constant, non-stop coverage to what Israel is doing and shoved Iraq off the map, off the radar, out of the coverage. I agree with Rebecca's "amy goodman and democracy now forget that a war rages in iraq,"they do have blood on their hands. This is unacceptable. It was unacceptable before but realizing that 97 more have died in about sixty days really drives home that point.

How long has the Israel Only coverage been going on? Four weeks, five? Six?

If Israel continues their attacks for another two months, we will even remember Iraq?

I don't think so and I think it's bullshit that Amy Goodman and others didn't cover Abeer, don't cover Iraq and think they're helping anyone.

No one said they couldn't cover Israel. But I don't live in Israel. I live in the United States. First thing you do is cover our attacks. Before you go floating all over the place, flitting back and forth between Mexico, the Congo and Israel, you damn well cover what the United States is doing. We're involved an illegal war. Our government put us in that.

So I saved the above to draft just before Blogger went down and can't think of what to add. I was on a roll and now it's gone.

So I'll just ask, "Where's the Iraq coverage?" A question a lot of people are asking now. It was the main issue of the Friday discussion group (like I wrote at Polly's Brew). You should be asking that as well. The war didn't stop but some people seem to think the coverage can. If you're opposed to the war, you shouldn't think that they can drop the ball day after day. Kat's "KPFA leaves me numb" argues that point perfectly.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Is NYT's Paul von Zielbauer's a pervert?

Blogger/Blogspot was down so Wally, Tony and I went to the movies. I'm starting late and I know the title's "provacative." Is he a pervert, a pedophile, a rapist or just a really bad reporter. (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and go with "bad reporter.") Guess what? NYT brought it on themselves.

Paul von Zielbuaer's "Bank Robbery and Bombs Kill 24 in Iraq" is one in a series of article by him and others (are Carolyn Marshall and Robert F. Worth pedophiles/perverts/rapists) that the paper's run supposedly about Abeer Qasim Hamza but they never are and they don't name her. Note this from CNN: "Iraqi authorities have identified the girl who was raped and shot to death as Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Her father, mother and 5-year-old sister were also killed, and the 14-year-old's body was set on fire after she was killed." Wow. Abeer has a name.

Not in The New York Times. Each day they cover it, they fail to mention her name. They don't provide details about her. They don't provide much of anything. Except they offer the defense's version of the events. That the four soldiers who were accused in the Article 32 hearing (which just concluded and will have a verdict of whether or not there is enough evidence to charge them with rape, murder and arson) were stressed and tired.

You know what, though? The New York Times argued that (in a news article, with all these friends and fellow soldiers of the accused) before the defense ever did. They did that in Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall's "G.I. Crime Photos May Be Evidence." How obvious was the one-sided "reporting"? So obvious that on that morning, C.I. wrote this:

Is the insanity defense going to be used because they'd have to be at least temporarily insane to think rape was okay (one they plotted for some time allegedly). And the rape victim was a fourteen-year-old girl. That's disgusting and the fact that the paper of record can't name her, can't try to report on her story from her angle is disgusting.

Did you catch Andy Mosher's "At Rape Hearing, U.S. Soldiers Describe Stress of War" in The Washington Post this morning? He wrote:

Eugene Fidell, a Washington military law expert, said Tuesday that the defense attorneys were most likely emphasizing combat stress to argue that their clients not face a possible death penalty in the event of a court-martial. "This is not a defense known to the law," Fidell said. "But this kind of evidence could come in during the court-martial, and it might be pertinent to the sentence. They could be setting the stage to avoid a death penalty."

"This is not a defense known to the law." But somehow Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall knew about it. Did the defense help them write that article or do they just know how to think like a child molestor? Which is it, help me out here? Maybe they're not pedophiles, maybe they just like to argue the case for pedophiles?

It's a defense not known to law says a legal expert. But before the defense argued their case and presented this "not known to law" defense, Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall had already provided it in The New York Times. That seems strange to me. How did they know? How did they just happen to know? Hmmm.

It's strange too how details get reported in other outlets like The Washington Post (disclosure: through C.I. I know some people at the Washington Post, I wouldn't say "friends" because I don't know them that well but I'll note that I know them and seem like good people) and the Associated Press and Reuters and The Times of London never make it into The New York Times. It's funny because these are always details that present the accused as people not under stress but as craven criminals.

Now why is that left out? I just have to wonder again if pedophiles are writing these defense pieces for the accused? Does The Times employ pedophiles? Can Bill Keller look into that? Can he figure out why the victim goes unnamed and unexplored but we've got the violins playing overtime for the accused day after day?

I can't figure it out. I can't figure out why an Article 32 hearing into murder, rape and arson isn't front page but a dumb ass story that cell phones are "cool" in Iraq is a front page story. Can you figure that out?

I'm stuck wondering how a supposed newspaper can offer story after story that gives you all the defense points (even before they're presented) in a case but never tell you about the victim or even offer her name. Maybe they aren't pedophiles? Maybe they're just rapists or rape friendly? There has to be some sort of explanation for it, right?

So what is it? Are they the pro-rape paper, the pro-pedophile paper, the water carries for the defense paper or just a really crappy newspaper with crappy reporters? My guess? They are a real crappy newspaper with crappy reporters.

Will they quote the closing argument tomorrow? I don't see how, it's a slam on every report they've run on this case where they've told you over and over about the stress and bad times: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."

Geez, sounds like the prosecution's been reading the whining from NYT reporters.

By the way, I was supposed to cover Jake Kovco tonight. I called C.I. and apologized on that. C.I. was speaking today and had to get the snapshot done quickly and I'd said last night, "I'll grab Kovco." I looked and it's a lot. I called C.I. and said, "It's late here but I can cover it if you'll talk me through some points." C.I. asked what else I was writing about and I said, "The New York Times." C.I. said just cover that and the snapshot will pick up Kovco tomorrow. Jake Kovco's an important issue. I can follow all the ins and outs in the snapshot because C.I. breaks it down (and would say, "I usually have help breaking that down" -- yeah, right :D) but today's news was about the whole first investigation and pretty intense. Tomorrow C.I. will walk us all through and I'll feel like a dope but I'd rather not make a mistake on the Kovco case because it's important.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and then I'm going to bed (it's 11: 31 right now as I'm about to copy and paste and I've got work and school tomorrow):

Today, Wednesday, August 9, 2006, violence and chaos continue in Iraq with Allister Bull (Reuters) noting that the central morgue in Baghdad received nearly 2,000 bodies in July while Centcom's announced that a US helicopter crashed Tuesday in the Anbar province ("60 Blackhawk helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircrwaft Wing") which had six crew members of which two are still missing.
Elsa McLaren (Times of London) reports: "A desperate hunt is under way in Iraq today for two American servicemen whose helicopter crashed inside the 'triangle of death' west of Baghdad." As the search goes on, an Article 32 hearing concludes into the murders of Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members with military prosecutor Captain Alex Pickands arguing of the four US troops accused of rape, murder and arson, "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."
Speaking with Andrea Lewis today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, John Stauber discussed the results of a recent Harris Poll which found 50% of all respondents wrongly believed that Iraq had WMD which is "an increase from 36 prercent in February 2005." Stauber noted the pre-war coverage (unquestioning) and pre-war propaganda (which never panned out.) "If voices of authority repeat a huge lie [. . .] that gets people supporting a war [ . . .] then that lie sticks. And this war was sold to the American public on two huge lies: that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that he was behing 9-11."
"What is going on here?" wondered Andrea Lewis. Which is a good question. Stauber pointed to Rick Santorum falsely claiming that WMDs were found and Fox "News" and the right-wing echo chamber running with the lie. Because, not stated, the right-wing will continue to sell this war and peddle lies. While the coverage of Iraq vanishes from the media (in all its forms) it doesn't vanish from the right-wing echo chamber..
Note this finding from the poll: "
Seventy-two percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (slightly down from February 2004 when 76 percent said this was true)." Why would poll respondents think that when the UN estimates 100 Iraqis die each day from violent attacks? Don't they know the reality and status of the 'reconstruction' projects? No. They generally don't and when the media decides they need to ALL pick up and go after another story, when the coverage of Iraq is a one-story-a-day thing (New York Times) or one topic a week (radio, magazines, etc -- once a week when we're lucky -- we're supposed to be grateful for the once a week treatment of an illegal war launched by the US administration) then the problem really isn't the people -- the problem's the media. One quite proud to pat themselves on the back in every venue and forum but not too interested in focusing on Iraq.
People care about this topic (now more than ever as
a CNN poll demonstrates most recently), it's the media that either is bored or just doesn't give a damn. Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) reported yesterday on the surprise of a returning Iraqi vet who spoke to a group of young adults -- his surprise that they were interested in the topic and interested in his injuries and all the injuries that the press doesn't have time to cover.
Al Jazeera reports on a mortar attack in Baghdad which "collapsed a three-storey building" and left some worried that "some people were still trapped in the rubble." Five people are known to have died. Reuters reports three Iraqi police officers dead in Habaniya from a roadside bomb; the death of a civilian in Kirkuk from a roadside bomb; the death of a civilian by a roadside bomb in Baghdad; three civilians wounded by a roadside bomb in Ramadi; and, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb wounded three Iraqi soldiers. Also CBS and AP note that, in Samarra, a police officer died on Tuesday while attempting "to defuse a roadside bomb" and another police officer was injured in the blast. Associated Press reports that a US solider was wounded by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad
Pay attention here because you know
the New York Times doesn't bother to include shooting fatalities in their 'rounded' daily undercount these days. Reuters reports the death of "Army Colonel Qasim Abdul Qadir" in Basra ("on his way to work"). CBS and AP report that Abedl-Qadir was attacked by "gunmen on two motorcycles". Reuters notes that, in western Baghdad, five civilians were shot dead.
Reuters reports that, in Baghdad, nine corpses were discovered ("killed by gunshots"), two corpses ("shot in the head and chest") were found in Dour. and, in al-Zab, a behaded corpse was discovered.
In the case of
Abeer Qasim Hamza? From CNN: "Iraqi authorities have identified the girl who was raped and shot to death as Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Her father, mother and 5-year-old sister were also killed, and the 14-year-old's body was set on fire after she was killed." The Article 32 hearing has concluded. CNN reports Alex Pickands (military prosecutor) making his closing argument with the following: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl." As the BBC notes, the Article 32 hearing was to determine whether or not should be charged with rape, murder and arson. CNN notes that the deterimination will be made by "investigating officer, Col. Dwight Warren" and that' "Warren's report will likely be at least a few days in coming".
Ehren Watada is the first known commissioned officer serving in the US military to have refused to deploy to Iraq.
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports: "The army has rejected 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's offer to resign instead of facing a possible court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq." The concludes: "[i]t's looking more likely that Honolulu Army Lt. Ehren Watada will be court martialed for refusing to serve in Iraq." Hoyt Zia (publisher of Hawaii Business Magazine) addresses the case of Ehren Watada with "Having the Courage of Your Convictions."
Kakesako notes: "Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is scheduled to face an Article 32 pretrial hearing at Fort Lewis, Wash., on Aug. 17. That hearing is equivalent to a preliminary hearing in a civilian criminal court, and is expected to last a few days."
The 17th is when the hearing is scheduled to begin. Remember
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
Cindy Sheehan is in Crawford, TX with Camp Casey. Why? As
Missy Comley Beattie (OpEdNews) writes: "Thousands of Iraqis are dying each month. Coalition troops are perceived not as liberators of grateful Iraqis free at last from the grip of a tyrant. Instead, we are occupiers and our incursion has unleashed sectarian violence that shows no sign of abating. Life is so bad in Iraq that its citizens long for the days when Saddam Hussein was in power." For those reasons and many more, Camp Casey III matters. Alison Sterling Nichols tells Chris Durant (The Times-Standard) that, "There are more people here than there were in the first few days last year."
Today is day 37 of the
Troops Home Fast action which will continue until September 21st. Today, 4, 549 people are taking part from across the world. Remember you can do a one-day fast, a one-day-a-week fast or longer. More information is available at Troops Home Fast.
CNN reporting the results of their latest poll -- "Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in Iraq, the highest number since polling on the subject began with the commencement of the war in March 2003" -- the sea of change on the Iraq war is obvious to all but the Bully Boys and Joe Liebermans.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Death and destruction continues in Iraq even if silly fools don't cover it

Tuesday. I had a funny post planned for this week and I'm holding it because I think enough people are being silly. I don't mean people like Wally and Betty who are trying to be funny. I mean people who are just silly -- you know the ones who forget that there is a war going on. Or "the show" that decided, "Hey, maybe I should talk about Iraq today but I really don't care too much about Iraqis, so how about I just cover the Lamont-Liebrman race and then I can say, 'Look, I cover Iraq!'" You know, the people who are silly because they're so damn useless. The type who, for instance, might go to a concert by the artist I'm listening right now and pass out fliers to try to stop a war that they now forget.

Who am I listening to? Me and Wally both got Ani DiFranco's Repreive today. It's pretty cool. But let me do C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" before anything else and pay attention, lots of important stuff:

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Tuesday, August 8, 2006. Bombings, a bank robery . . . all part of what the AFP term "Bloody Day in Baghdad." And while people continue to dicker in the United States with games of "Is it or isn't it a civil war," Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) reports on Iraqi politicians who "way that the country is in civil war already." This as the so-called 'crackdown' (in beefed up form) appears to . . . crack apart.
Strongest dose of
reality comes from Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch): "The vast city of seven million people, almost the size of London, is breaking up into a dozen cities, each one of which is becoming a heavily armed Shia or Sunni stronghold. Every morning brings its terrible harvest of bodies. Many lie in the streets for hours, bloating in the 120F heat, while others are found floating in the Tigris river."
In the captial,
ITV notes "three near-simulaneous bomb explosins near the Interior Ministry building." Police officer Bilal Ali Majid tells the AP that at least 10 are dead and at least 8 wounded from the three bombs. Al Jazeera puts the toll at nine and notes "[t]wo roadside bombs exploded in the main Shurja market in central Bagdad within minutes of each other, killing 10 civilians and injuring 50". CBS and AP place the death toll at 10 for each bombing (20 total). AFP notes that ths market blast "set fire to several shops."
This is the AP in case anyone's confused (some early reports lumped the two attacks together): "Three bombs exploded simultaneously near the Interior Ministry buildings in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said. A couple of hours later, two roadside bombs ripped through the main Shurja market, also in central Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and wounding 50, police Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said."
Reuters notes a police officer was wounded by a roadside bomb "in the eastern Zayouna district of Baghdad"; in Iskandariya, two people were wounded by a roadside bomb; and, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed by a roadside bomb (eight people wounded "including a child").
Reuters notes two civilians were shot to death in Rashad, "a police lieutenant colonel" was shot dead in Falluja (his brother was wounded), and two were shot dead in Mosul.
CNN reports that, in Muqdadiya, three people were shot dead (including a teacher) and that drive-by shootings claimed two lives in Baquba. AP notes "two Sunni brothers . . . slain in their car repair shop in southwestern Baghdad:.
In addition to the above, the
BBC notes the death of "three security guards and two bank officials" during a bank robbery in Baghdad today. AFP notes that the robbery of the al-Rasheed Bank utilized three cars and that the interior ministry is saying it only netted "seven million dinars (less than $5,000)". The AP states it was two cars.
CBS and AP note the discovery of nine "bullet-riddled" corpses in Kut. AFP notes that at least seven were "Iraqi border guards." Reuters notes that seven corpses were found "south of Baghdad" and that they were "wearing military uniforms". And the AP notes two corpses found in Baghdad ("shot in the head").
In addition, the
BBC reports: "Also on Tuesday, a US soldier died of wounds sustained in fighting, the US military said"; while CBS and AP report: "Two Iraqi journalists were killed in separate incidents in Baghdad, police said Tuesday. Mohammed Abbas Hamad, 28, a journalist for the Shiite-owned newspaper Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida, was shot by gunmen at he left his home Monday in western Baghdad, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said. Late Monday, police found the bullet-riddled body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, about a half mile from where he was abducted two weeks ago in northeast Baghdad, Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. The body showed sign of torture, he added." The AP reminds that the two are "among more than 100 Iraqi and foreign media workers slain here since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."
Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) notes that Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister and puppet of the occupation) no longer pushes the "reconcilation project" and that Abdullah Aliawayi (Iraqi parliamentary member) describes it as "failed." Nouri al-Maliki's criticism of the "U.S.-Iraqi attack on Mahdi Army's stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City" continues. Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) writes of the attack: "Families sleeping on rooftops to escape the summer heat were startled early Monday by helicoprters and gunfire" and that the action "killed three people, destroyed three homes and sent families scurrying for cover." (For those who wonder about the heat, a friend says it is 110 degrees in Baghdad right now). As AFP noted yesterday: "An AFP journalist in Sadr City reported that the raid on the area, a stronghold of the firebrand cleric, was accompanied by air strikes." Today AFP notes: "Coalition aircraft were called into action after the Iraqi army snatch squad came under fire, and at least three civilians were killed." Coalition aircraft would most likely mean US military aircraft. Elsa McLaren (Times of London) notes Times' colleague James Hider's observation that "This security plan is basically the last chance to save the country from civil war. It seems like he [al-Maliki] is trying to distance himself. There is a very fine line between sending your troops out to attack militia that are linked to a government party." Hider himself writes that "a clear rift" has opened between puppet al-Maliki "and the American military" which leads to "doubts about whether the security forces would have the political backing required to tackle powerful militias beholden to parties in the governing coalition."
In Baghdad, the trial into the murder of
Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members continue (as well as into the alleged rape of Abeer). This is the case that yesterday, as Reuters notes: "A US military court heard graphic testimony about how US soldiers took turns to hold down and rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murderer her and her family." Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that the attornies for the four troops currently serving (James Barker, Paul E. Cortez, Jesse V. Spielman and Bryan L. Howard; Steven D. Green is no longer in the military) accused of rape, murder and arson are calling for "a new hearing, accusing Yrbie's counsel of deliberately asking incriminating questions. A ruling was expected later in the day." Anthony Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for alleged failure to report the incident, he is not accused of rape, murder or arson. Also, CNN reports that a witness testified of "colleagues who drank whiskey and cough syrup and swallowed painkillers to cope with their jobs." The witness, Justin Cross, was asked if Steven D. Green could have done the crimes by himself and Cross responded, "Green does nothing by himself."
In the United States, peace activist Cindy Sheehan and others continue their protests in Crawford, TX.
Sheehan is quoted as saying of the Bully Boy, "He can shorten his vacations or not show up at all, but he's not hiding from the truth." Camp Casey III is up and going again this summer. Writing of Sheehan and the first Camp Casey last year, Tom Hayden noted: "Cindy Sheehan inhabits an alternative world of meaning that more Americans need to experience before this war can end. She represents the survivors' need to define a meaning in her son's death -- and her life -- that is counter to the meaning offered by President Bush. That is why she refuses any condolences, and why she continues to ask the President what was the 'noble purpose' for which Casey Sheehan died."
an interview with Dan Bacher (Toward Freedom), Sheehan spoke of the Troops Home Fast action and noted, "We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home." Troops Home Fast continues with at least 4,549 people taking part today from around the world.
In other peace news,
Edwin Tanji (The Maui News) reports that Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is getting the word out on his son (first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq) and will appear at Maui Bookseller (Wailuku) today at four p.m. as well as on the TV program Crossroads tonight at 7:00 p.m. Maui Democratic Party leader Lance Holter says of Ehren Watada: "I'm awe-struck by this man's bravery. He has taken on the entire American military machine and standing up for principles of honor and justice and American patriotism. There is no more patriotic man than this person."
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
In Australia,
AAP reports "Soldier 14" will be the next to testify into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad. In addition to Soldier 14 testifying in person, AAP reports: "The inquiry is also this week expected to hear more evidence about the bungled repatriation of Pte Kovco's body from witnesses appearing on a video link from the Middle East." Last week, one of Kovco's former roommates testified that the repatriation was contracted out and done on the cheap, tying that into the mix up that led to the body of Bosnian capenter Juso Sinanovic being sent to Australia instead of Jake Kovco. Those remembering how the scene of Jake Kovco's death was cleaned up before the investigation into what happened began won't be surprised by Ian McPhedran (Australia's Courier-Mail) report that it's happened again -- in this instance David Nary ("father-of-five SAS Warrant Officer") died in Kuwait last November and the military board's finding include "criticism for the lack of procedures to preserve an incident site."
In election news in the United States, as Ned Lamont challenges Joe Lieberman (polls close at 8:00 pm EST) for the Senate seat currently occupied by Lieberman, commentators sees the race as a sign post.
Stephen Schlesinger (Huffington Post) draws comparison to Eugene McCarthy and LBJ in 1968 and offers that: "A Lamont triumph or near success will make (and is already making) Democrats like Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden shift progressively more in favor of withdrawal from Iraq and is certainly going to alter the entire spectrum of political views over the issue of Iraq, not only for Democrats, but for Republicans, too. In short, this is likely to be the turning point". Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) takes a look at Lieberman's "strategy" noting: "Anxious to move Iraq to the backburner, Lieberma dug deep into his long history in the Senate to find a reason why Connecticut voters shouldn't send him packing tomorrow. The biggest selling point he came up with? 'I don't hate Republicans,' he said while arguing that he wasn't President Bush's 'best friend and enabler.' Talking points for the ages."

Did you get all of that? That's 37 reported dead -- reported. Most deaths don't get reported. But how could they? All the reporters have rushed out of Iraq to cover Lebanon. Hope you caught Kat's "I love KPFA but I can't take any more of this 'THE ONLY STORY IS ISRAEL!'"
which really drives home point of how little the media -- big or small -- give a damn about the war that the US started, the war that continues. And give it up for Cedric and his "Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey" which is about how independent media can't even make time for Cindy Sheehan or Camp Casey. The coverage says: "Sorry, Cindy Sheehan, you just don't matter and neither does Iraq!"

Elaine, Cedric and me all talked about this yesterday and we're not highlighting things unless they have to do with Iraq this week. No links or shout outs. We're tired of all the nonsense of "Oh, there's no time to cover Iraq! Look what's going on in the world!" Iraq is always news. If you're broadcasting in the US, a war that the US declared, started and continues is always news. You have to be a dumb ass not to grasp that. When Israel's gone as far as the Bully Boy agreed it could go, that war will end. Iraq will still be raging. So this non-stop coverage of Israel is a nice little distraction.

No one's saying it shouldn't be covered, but it shouldn't be covered the way it is, crowding out Iraq. For instance, Free Speech Radio News today? Not covering it. 4:21 minutes to Iraq; 8:42 minutes to Israel, Lebanon, Gaza. We're not interested in tossing shout outs to programs that can't treat Iraq as being as important as what Israel's doing.

We're not interested in joining independent media and letting Bully Boy have a nice vacation where the nation begs him (the trash that started wars) to "save" the Middle East. He goes from the ogre who started an illegal war to the savior. I'm not feeding his ego, not letting him off. Not letting him pretend like no one cares about the costs of his illegal war.

That would be as stupid as me living in Australia and never taking on their defense secretary or John Howard because I was too busy covering the Bully Boy. What would an Australian be doing obsessing over the Bully Boy and a little over Tony Blair without ever calling his own leader (John Howard -- a War Hawk) out? I'd look like a ridiculous fool.

And that's how independent media looks these days.

They look like fools. They drop Iraq to rush over and cover (non-stop) what Israel's doing. Let me quote Kat because I love Dahr Jamail (so does Kat) but she made me laugh so hard with this:
"And Dahr Jamail, I though your site was called Iraq Dispatches, not Live from Lebanon." That is so true. Where's Dahr? In Lebanon. Covering Lebanon. Writing about Lebanon.

I've got to quote Kat one more time:

They've got a program director. Someone should be an adult and step in and say "Look, we've covered this topic. You need to find a new topic. Dennis will cover this later today. You need to focus on Iraq and other issues." You know where they could put an Iraq program, on the schedule in place of the second daily broadcast of Democracy Now! or, as I think of the show now, Look What Israel's Done Now!

I love Kat. She's dead on right about that show being "Look What Israel's Done Now!" -- it's just a daily waste of an hour. They're idiots. They're going to let lies take root about Iraq because they're fucking idiots. If that's harsh, well too fucking bad. Tony passes that stupid "digest" on to me and we look at it and see how little the show even bothers to cover Iraq in the headlines let alone in discussion segments.

I think people should follow her around at her speaking engagements and yell, "What about Iraq, Amy! What about Iraq!"

I bet there were high fives and back pats today: "We covered the Lamont and Lieberman race! We are so good!" No, you've been pretty lousy for awhile now. You were chicken shit when CODEPINK booed Hillary Clinton. Couldn't touch on that. Was it a Nation-sponsored event? Is that why you couldn't touch on it? Is that why that "ACT NOW" idiot Peter Rothberg gave CODEPINK the public scolding? Troops Home Fast has been going on since July 4th and it's barely been covered. There was a "story" on it that didn't talk about it. Then the next week, Medea came on and that's supposed to be it, I guess.

Did they ever air the interview with Suzanne Swift's grandfather that was promised "later this week"? It never came that week. Did it ever come? I just searched the site and didn't see it. Well they had to give all that time to the Mexico election, remember? Then they had to give all that time to Lebanon. So tough shit, Suzanne Swift and Swift's grandfather, you don't matter enough to Democracy Now!

"What About Iraq, Amy?" People really should start yelling that to her now.

I don't watch the show or listen to it anymore. My parents don't. We've all had it with the disposable nature of the illegal US war on Iraq. I was talking to Jim today about this and we were both wondering when the little inroads that had been made in the mainstream media collapse? We think it won't be too long from now because independent media has failed Iraq. Not for one day, not for one week, but week after week, after week. It really started happening in June if you were paying attention. By July, you couldn't miss it.

Here's a good article, Daniel Ellsberg's "Times Call for New Pentagon Papers:"

Today, there must be, at the very least, hundreds of civilian and military officials in the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, National Security Agency and White House who have in their safes and computers comparable documentation of intense internal debates - so far carefully concealed from Congress and the public - about prospective or actual war crimes, reckless policies and domestic crimes: the Pentagon Papers of Iraq, Iran or the ongoing war on U.S. liberties. Some of those officials, I hope, will choose to accept the personal risks of revealing the truth - earlier than I did - before more lives are lost or a new war is launched.
Haditha holds a mirror up not just to American troops in the field, but to our whole society. Not just to the liars in government but to those who believe them too easily. And to all of us in the public, in the administration, in Congress and the media who dissent so far ineffectively or who stand by as murder is being done and do nothing to stop it or expose it.
Americans must summon the courage to face what is being done in their name and to refuse to be accomplices. The Voters' Pledge ( is one way to do this. This project comprises many of the major organizations in the antiwar movement - United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, and Democracy Rising - as well as groups such as the National Organization for Women, Progressive Democrats in America and The coalition's goal is to build a base of antiwar voters that cannot be ignored by anyone running for office in the United States.

I like Daniel Ellsberg but I got to say, as someone who respects him, "Mr. Ellsberg, I don't think it matters. I think someone could out with an audio tape of Bully Boy and Dick Cheney laughing about how they tricked the nation into war and no one would cover it. " That might not be fair. If there was a sentence in there about how Israel was going to attack Lebanon, I know Amy Goodman would spend forty minutes pondering that one sentence.

Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts.