Saturday, September 23, 2006

War comes to class

This is a quick post and consider it an "extra" :D. I'm starving. We're about to get something to eat and then start working on The Third Estate Sunday Review. But I wanted to grab a few seconds to talk about today because it was my favorite day.

Community members know the ninth grade member in the DC area who wrote the thing for Polly's Brew two Sundays ago. C.I. told him that we'd be in the area this week and if he could get at least ten people we'd all get together and do a "How To Talk About The War" thing. He got together thirty-five friends.

I'm out of high school (big college man now! :D) and I was a loudmouth in high school so I've never had a problem shooting off my mouth! (Can't you tell!) But there are people who do have trouble sharing and there are people who are becoming aware of the war and need help with their first steps. So we did a thing where we all talked and shared and there were some presentations too. Tracey, Wally and me had worked on one and that went really good.

I never trembled before a teacher. If they were full of crap, I blew 'em off. But that's me. Jayson acted out the part of a student in one excercise with Betty acting as the teacher and then we broke up into groups and that was really cool too.

Me, I think the war can be brought into any class (even algebra) but it sure shouldn't be off limits in classes like history, social studies and government. Elaine had a thing about you could note the war in English classes. (And gave credit to C.I., who she and Rebecca went to college with, because C.I. could always follow the course outline and required reading but not to stick to it. Supplement it. You're studying poetry, this was one of Elaine's examples, compare and contrast the poem studied with something from Poets Against the War or Alice Walker's Sent By Earth or, she had a whole long list. For novels and stuff too.)

So that was just really great. I'll call the ninth grader "DC," so DC and his friends had a blast and we had a blast. And it's all these concrete things that can be used and we talked about non-concrete things too. It was really great to hear their stories. Forget war coming home, it's coming to class! (That's a steal from DC's best bud.)

Only problem was we had to start so early. Which was good because it gives us time for this edition but I was a sleepy-head (Ma's nice word for it) and really couldn't wake up this morning.
Nobody could wake me up. C.I. ended up playing White Stripes "Seven Army Nation" (at full blast) and that woke me up. :D

Woke me up with a smile on my face. Everybody goes I woke up before, over and over, but kept going back to sleep. I think it's because we've been so busy. (I'm not coming down with anything.)

Other beef, I slept so late, I missed breakfast. I was hopping in the shower and out and pulling on some pants before "Seven Army Nation" was over. And, C.I., sunflower kernals are not food! :D I was starving and mentioned that at about eleven o'clock. C.I. goes "I've got some food" and passes me a bag of sunflower kernals. :D Not food! Cedric had a Snickers he was kind enough to turn over after I wolfed down the kernals.

Okay, we're about to go eat so let me say, you gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta read Ruth's Report. Go read it now! :D Also there's more news on Darrell Anderson today so read C.I.'s thing. Darrell Anderson is an Iraq vet (with a Purple Heart) who went to Canada. He's decided he's coming back to the US at the end of the month.

I haven't read C.I.'s first thing this morning but Jim thinks C.I. was to nice (I'm sure that's true). A visitor wrote in to gripe that C.I. was repeating the myth of a tribal agreement to help the US in Al Anbar Province and C.I. nicely walked through the guy through. C.I.'s argument was that the visitor had discovered Dahr Jamail and that was a good thing. But I agree with Jim if you've got someone screaming at you in an e-mail (Jess read the e-mail and it was screaming) about how you didn't cover something and won't cover it (and even about how there's no link to Dahr's website when there is and has been since like The Common Ills went up), you don't respond so nicely.

But C.I.'s argument was, "Thank God there's one more person who cares about the war." And I can see that and each person who wakes up to the realities of the illegal war can and does make a difference. But I would have added in there something like, "Hey dumb ass, Dahr's great but his site is linked, he's probably had stuff he wrote or said highlighted here at least 300 times and we covered this thing at the start of the week!" (Which is why I could never be the voice of a community! :D). Instead C.I. walks the visitor through nicely (and slowly to make sure the point got through).

Dahr's article is great, "AP Propaganda About Iraq," and has some really strong stuff in it so it would have been highlighted anyway (and that was Jim's point, just highlight it because a member already noted it, don't waste time on someone who can't even grasp the obvious). But C.I. goes "Well we just touched on it, Dahr explored it and maybe that's what had the visitor so upset." (In "NYT: Caught in the spin.") No, the visitor was upset because he didn't read the site or even look at the links before rushing to his conclusion. But I get C.I.'s point and it is good that someone's just getting passionate about the war. So good for that visitor.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Who the hell is Alastair Paulin and how did he get so stupid?

Friday and lots of fun today and tonight. But I heard about Alastair Paulin who's with Mother Jones and doesn't that just about say it all -- the kind-of muckraker. Kind-of because while Mark Crispin Miller and Harper's were left to explore the 2004 vote, Mother Jones went for bitchy little unsourced note to readers. So little Alastair Paulin, who a reporter at an event tonight described as "a Ken doll with additional chins," does the sort of crap we can always expect for Mother Jones (and it's why "Toad" is so tight with the Moth-Jo gang -- I won't call it "MoJo") he rushes in to praise Dexy Filkins. Here's a quote from the non-thinking press critic
Alastair Paulin: "Dexter Filkins, who has done terrific reporting for the New York Times from Iraq, recently said that 98 percent of Iraq, including most of Baghdad, is now off-limits to Western journalists, a startling figure that begs the question of why reports from Iraq don't include such a disclaimer." Really, Filky has done such a great job?

When was that? Before or after the Washington Post outed him as the first speed number on the military's propaganda phone? Was that before or after a female reporter outed his 'techinques' of refusing to cover any topic that brought a frown to the face of the US military?
Was that before or after he wrote about all the pretty colors in the bombs destroying Falluja?

You have to be pretty stupid and wake up pretty late to praise Dexter Filkins. (Rebecca's tackling another piece of shit who did the same today.) Apparently, Alastair Paulin's never read Filkins, never heard Dahr Jamail speak about Filky's 'reporting' and knows nothing really but that, on Wednesday, he stumbled across an Editor & Publisher report. Community members know it too. Only they didn't have to wait until Wednesday of this week. They heard it about last Friday when C.I. wrote "Post-Gazette editorializes it's time to leave, Dexy Rats Out:"

Oh, how brave he is. When he's not churning out sob stories or rewriting press releases or being the US military's go-to-guy for propaganda. (As Christian Parenti pointed out to Laura Flanders years ago, back when the show was called The Laura Flanders Show, the Dexy in the paper and the Dexy in person are not the same person.)
Here's the thing, Dexy's not paid by the paper for speeches. He's paid to report. He's supposedly a reporter. If he has seen Iraq descend into anarcy, his reporting should have reflected that. If he sees that a civil war has started, his reporting should have reflected that.Instead readers got Reading Press Releases Live From The Green Zone. That wasn't reality.
And for him to play war correspondent as the actual work, the more dangerous work, was farmed out to stringers, wasn't reality. Readers of the Times may be shocked by Dexy's speech. (His cohorts may be outraged.) You can't paly reporter in front of audiences if you don't do the work required to back up the preformance.
If you'll remember the Times denied that white phosphorus was used in Falluja (in November of 2004). When that news came out and started to get traction over a year later, a reporter who'd never been in Falluja denied it and the reason for denying it was that Filkins (among other Times reporters) was there. (Filkins actually won a prize for his rah-rah 'reporting' that omitted key details.) Then the US government admitted that white phosphorus had been used. The Times noted that -- the same reporter, Scott Shane, wrote the denial and the affirmation.
Shane should have been able to depend on Filkins' 'reporting.' The paper ran with it. (Well, slow jogged it. Check the dateline on the 'award winning' piece and compare it to when it was actually published -- you'll understand why many whispers of military revisions/censorship still surround that 'award winning' piece.) Shane got burned by the paper's own reporting.

That's some of the reality. But MothJo writers and reality are a stretch. Which is how that crap ends up written (and written five days after C.I. had already discussed it at length). "Baby Cum Pants" is how the reporter I was talking to this evening nicknamed Paulin but I think I'd call him "Baby Dump Pants." Of course, the non-story is linked to by Lotta Links because they have no shame -- not when they're calling Ehren Watada "Bob Watada" (that's his father) or when they're falsely saying (last weekend) that Bob Watada is on a speaking tour (it ended weeks before), so Baby Dump Pants is perfect for Lotta Links, neither of them can think too good.

Baby Dump Pants needs to sit his ass down and wallow in his own shit instead of smearing it online. Takes a special kind of stupid to praise Dexy Filkins but damned if they don't always turn up. Who has criticized Dexy? C.I., Dahr Jamail, the Washington Post, Danny Schechter and if there's anyone else, please step forward and claim your prize. Remember Baby Dump Pants because Dexy's Falluja Fibs will be one of the stories that real press critics cite over and when the war is over as one of the biggest lies. Smart people already do (but smart people don't work at MothJo, they don't even know how to count to two at MothJo) but this is the one who will replace Judith Miller as the years go by. And Baby Dump Pants and all his crappy brothers and sisters should be held accountable when those days come because they pumped out crap to support the biggest liar in the Green Zone. I'd type, "Eat s**t, Baby Dump Pants," but it's obvious he already does.

I want to note the questions C.I. had for Dexy on January 7, 2006 (which is what Baby Dump Pants writes about with admiration today -- sorry, Baby Dump Pants, C.I. was all over this long, long ago so go back to playing with your feces):

1) Why, when Iraq was in chaos outside the Green Zone early into the occupation, did your reports not reflect that?

2) Do you really think that readers didn't have a right to know that you were provided with body guards and your movement severly restricted?

3) A reporter stated publicly that you killed an intended interview with the resistance when the American military was displeased. How often did that happen?

4) Your "reporting" on the November slaughter of Falluja ran many days after the end of fighting. Why was that? Is it true that you allowed the military to read over and make suggestions on your copy?

5) If readers had known how severely restricted your movement was from the start and, later on, even in the Green Zone itself, do you think that would have mattered? Why or why not?

6) Since the government has now been forced to admit that white phosphorus was used in Falluja, can you explain why you didn't note that in your articles? (Including your "award winning" one?)

7) What was the deal you agreed to when the military offered to take you into Falluja with them? How did that impact your coverage?

8) As you traveled with bodyguards (wearing black T-shirts with "New York Times" on the front), do you think that effected the way anyone interacted with you?

9) Did you were your own black T-shirt? (Tell the truth on that Dexy, there are some photos floating around.)

10) Using data gathered by stringers was a hallmark of the paper's reporting. In terms of your own reporting, do you feel any regret that stringers weren't credited from the early days? What of those who were the victims of violence or lost a life? Looking back, do you feel that an "end credit" in the later days was really sufficient or, if you had it to do over again, would you insist that they receive a byline?

11) As you packed heat, even while protected by bodyguards, a lot of reporters felt you were "play acting" at war correspondent. How would you reply to your critics?

12) There are those who compare you to a little boy, high on a war, intent to prove your manhood. You say what?

13) You are on record saying that no one can predict what will happen in Iraq. Do you think that their hunches might be stronger if you'd accurately portrayed the conditions under which you were "reporting"?

14) Despite winning an award, does it bother you that Seymour Hersh broke the Abu Ghraib story? That others (including Amy Goodman) broke the white phosphorus story?

15) Exactly what story do you feel that you broke? As someone who spent so much time in the Green Zone, what story do you feel proud about and why?

Stupid Baby Dump Pants really needs to stop calling attention to the fact that he soils himself in public. There's nothing in the Editor & Publisher article (which C.I. addressed a week before) that wasn't known to anyone who wasn't on the outside looking in. But that MothJo for you, always a few years behind.

As soon as I got back here, I had to look up the story because Baby Dump Pants was being trashed by real reporters for his swallowing Dexy with a smile. Let the record show, that from the first Sunday of The Common Ills, C.I. was addressing the lies of Dexy. All this time later and Baby Dump Pants still doesn't know what's what. Rebecca's going to address another person providing cover for Dexter Filkins tonight. It's really amazing that the Washington Post can call him out but our so-called 'independent media' plays dumb.

Changing topics, I'll note R. Jeffrey Smith's article on the latest in the legalization of torture. If you read the article, you'll note that Human Rights Watch is grossly ineffective. This is from Smith's "On Rough Treatment, a Rough Accord:"

Draft legislation to create a new system of military courts for terrorism suspects would allow prosecutors to introduce at future trials confessions that were obtained through "cruel, unusual, or inhumane" interrogations by the CIA or the military before 2005, but not afterward.
The legislation would also allow defense attorneys to challenge the use of hearsay information obtained through coercive interrogations in distant countries only if they can prove it is unreliable, a daunting task if the information consists of written statements from people the lawyers have no right to confront in court.

[. . .]
Many human rights groups and legal experts who parsed the bill yesterday said the White House had achieved most of its objectives in negotiations with dissident GOP senators, including John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and John W. Warner (Va.).
They said the bill's provisions would violate detainees' legitimate rights, conflict with Supreme Court decisions, and come back to haunt Washington when Americans in foreign custody are subjected to the same harsh interrogations and military trials.
"It replaces the old broken" military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court with "a new broken commission system," said Marine Corps Col. Dwight Sullivan, the chief defense counsel for the Defense Department's Office of Military Commissions. He said "it methodically strips rights" guaranteed by laws and treaties and appears to be unconstitutional.

Methodically strips rights and that's the military. Human Rights Watch, by contrast, pins their hopes on a speech John McCain gives tomorrow. They really are becoming a joke (this on top of their response to Israel's armed aggression this summer). Iraq? Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 22, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the 2700 mark for US military fatalities in Iraq looms ever closer (2697), the Defense Department learns (again) that the press makes the best lobbyist, and, as Democrats continue to run from Iraq, activists continue to speak out and organize.
Starting with peace news, Mima Mohammed (Los Angelse Times) reports on Helga Aguayo's statements regarding her husband, war resister Agustin Aguayo, who decided to self-check out September 2, 2006: "My husband has never broken a law and I am proud of him. He doesn't want to support the war -- he cannot do so conscientiously. He is a conscientious objector, but the Army forced him to become a resister." Helga Aguayo was speaking Wednesday at Camp Democracy (which continues free and open to the public through October 1st) in Washington, DC. and stated that her husband will turn himself in but he will not go to Iraq.
Also reporting on war resistance and Camp Democracy, Tim Wheeler (People's World Weekly) covers war resister Ricky Clousing's speech from this past weekend where Clousing noted what he saw "an innocent Iraqi killed before my eyes by U.S. troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability" and notes some of the torture techniques he observed and how Bully Boy "is seeking legal cover. . . . He is seeking another loophole to continue what they have been doing." Ricky Clousing announced at the Seattle Veterans for Peace conference in August that he would be turning himself in after self-checking out. He did so and that military has charged him with desertion and the war drags on . . .
While the military gets all the money they can grab (that's at the top, it never flows down to the enlisted). AP reports that today $70 billion more for quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan were added to the trough "as they wrapped up talks on a $447 billion Pentagon funding bill. The additional war frunds would bring the total approved by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [. . .*] to more than $500 billion, with another installment likely to come next spring."
The bumper sticker reads: "Bully Boy illegal invaded Iraq and all I got was a mountain of debt."
"*"? AP feels the need to insert "since September 11, 2001" into the sentence for some unknown reason. Are they attempting to repeat the discredited "link" between Iraq and 9-11? Clearly Congress approved no war spending measures on September 11th. AP also notes that the Defense Department got what it wanted and AP ties it to those reports of an overstretched (economically) military. Again we ask the question of Thom Shanker and Michael R. Gordon's report (New York Times) today:"Is it news or is it fundraising?"
AP also editorializes with this: "Even opponents of the war tend to support the measure because it supports U.S. troops in harm's way." Actually, cutting off the spending would cut the war. But don't rock the conventional 'wisdom' boat, don't tip the boat over. Which is apparently the m.o. for Dems when it comes to the November elections. Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) reports that the big plan revolves around stressing the economy and ignoring Iraq: "In poll after poll, voters place Iraq well above the economy when asked which issue will most affect their vote this year. And when you combine concerns about the war with concerns about terrorism/national security, it's the economy that is 'a distant reality.' Yet Democrats keep returning to the same domestic-issues-uber-alles thinking that cost them the elections in 2002 and 2004. They can't really believe that people are more interested in raising the minimum wage, middle class tax relief, and college affordability than they are in who's going to keep them from being blown up, can they? The Dems are like a bunch of crack addicts who know that the stuff is killing them, but keep reaching for the pipe."
This as Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that James Thurman (US "Maj. Gen.") loosens his grip on reality (further?) and claims that attacks on civilians in Iraq are down. Well pay it forward, Thurman. America can't afford universal health care but can pay $500 billion (and counting) for wars? Turman also stated that, "As we clean up the streets, we find a city capable of starting to function properly." Street cleaners? That's what US troops are being kept in Iraq for? No, they aren't street cleaners and Thurman needs to work a little harder at his illustrations (working harder at capturing reality might cause a blood vessel to explode so we'll accept the fact that he's an Operation Happy Talker and move on.)
In the real world (which Thurman is welcome to visit), Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reminds: "The pervasive use of torture is only one aspect of the utter breakdown of government across Iraq outside the three Kurdish provinces in the north. In July and August alone, 6,599 civilians were killed, the UN says." The torture, the UN has stated, is being committed by a variety of groups including 'government forces.' Tim Reid (Times of London) reports that the White House takes offense to the UN report and denies it. We all await Condi Rice trotting out her "No one could have guessed" line yet again.
AFP reports, that in Baghdad, two bomb detector/defusers were killed when a bomb they were attempting to defuse exploded. Reuters reports a civilian dead from a roadside bomb in Latifiyaand sixteen wounded from bombs in Baghdad.
AFP reports that four Iraqi police officers were shot dead in Baquba. AP reports that attacks on mosques and homes resulted in four shooting deaths in Baghdad. China's People's Daily notes that four houses were set on fire in the attacks. Reuters reports one civilian shot dead in Kirkuk and that Nomass Atout shot dead "near his house in Diwaniya".
KUNA reports that 48 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today. AP reports a corpse ("blindfolded . . . bound") was discovered in Musayyib. Reuters reports two corpses discovered in Mosul and a woman's corpse found in Kirkuk. That should be 64 deaths reported, counting corpses, thus far today.
Returning to peace news, Paul Hogarth (Beyond Chron) reports, " About 25 activists gathered at the Office of Supervisor Chris Daly yesterday to display the Code Pink Peace Ribbon Quilt, and to kick off the Declaration of Peace Week of Action. The Declaration, which has been endorsed by over 180 peace and justice organizations throughout the country has three basic platforms: (1) bring our troops home now, (2) establish a plan to end the war in Iraq, and (3) prevent future U.S. invasions such as Iran, Syria or North Korea."

It was a pretty busy day. There was activism, there was fun (and activism is fun, but non-activism fun), Tracey and me were going to cook for everyone tonight, but at the last minute, we all ended up going to a party. It was a pretty nice party. I thought it might be stuffy, like the embassy thing we did last time in DC, but it was really fun. Now be sure and check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Brief do to Blogger/Blogspot problems

Okay, nonstop problems with the computer today. C.I. had the worst, dictated a post to a friend, it didn't make it to the blog (e-mailed) and C.I. finds out when we're doing a late lunch, whips out the laptop and starts having Blogger/Blogspot problems. C.I. finally gets something together and then Blogger/Blogspot is down so it was just a crazy day. And it continued -- what's up with Explorer? Everytime I open it shuts down, same with everybody here. I don't like to use mozilla for posting because copying & pasting is a problem.

This'll bore all but the techies (and they'll laugh at my attempts to describe it). You have two options when you're trying to write a post: "Compose" and "Edit." If you use "Edit," anything you copy with links in it will end up having the links disappear. If you use "Compose," the links will be there. Does that make sense? But in Mozilla, forget about using "Compose" because copy & paste doesn't work in "Compose" with Mozilla. I mentioned that to C.I. when I was about to give up on Blogging tonight and ended up getting a useful tip (handed on from UK Computer Gurus) which is use shift-insert. That will paste anything you copy into a "Compose" screen in Mozilla.

Rebecca's blogging and I'm blogging and I don't know who else will. But that's what's going on tonight. We're all unable to use Explorer and there are probably half a dozen other problems as well.

Okay, Rebecca just slid something over to me to note too. This is from CODEPINK:

Diplomacy can work. We can choose peace, and we are. Toward this end, CODEPINK is taking to the streets to spread the Declaration of Peace.

The Declaration of Peace is a nationwide campaign to establish a concrete and rapid plan for peace in Iraq. From September 21-28, we will take part in nonviolent action, marches, rallies, demonstrations, interfaith services, candlelight vigils and other inspired ways to declare peace at the US Capitol and in cities and towns across the US. Join CODEPINK for a week of creative and outrageous action in Washington DC, including an Arms are for Hugging "Hug In" at Congress.

Local CODEPINK groups are also taking action in communities from New York City to Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco to Boulder. To join an action in your area, or to get info about planning one, click here.

This week, Yoko Ono, Kate Hudson and Samuel L. Jackson signed on to our Give Peace a Vote campaign. Have you? Consider becoming one of our 1000 Peacemakers who are getting 100 others to vote for peace. And pass on John Stauber's flash video from his new book, The Best War Ever, to encourage voters for peace.

As John Lennon and Yoko Ono said so beautifully, "WAR IS OVER, if we want it."

Declaring peace and gratitude,
Andrea, Anedra, Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Laura, Liz, Medea, Nancy, Patricia, Rae, Samantha, and Sonia

Peace, to reuse one of Bush's phrases, is on the march. Positive signs of change are everywhere we turn.

  • In anti-war candidates gaining support from the American public.
  • In 102 Iraqi Parliamentarians asking for a fixed timetable for the withdrawal of US troops.
  • In the efforts of the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency to find negotiated solutions in Iran.
  • In the Israeli/Lebanese ceasefire, monitored by international peacekeepers.
  • In the growing grassroots campaign to deploy UN peacekeepers in Darfur.

Diplomacy can work. We can choose peace, and we are. Toward this end, CODEPINK is taking to the streets to spread the Declaration of Peace.

The Declaration of Peace is a nationwide campaign to establish a concrete and rapid plan for peace in Iraq. From September 21-28, we will take part in nonviolent action, marches, rallies, demonstrations, interfaith services, candlelight vigils and other inspired ways to declare peace at the US Capitol and in cities and towns across the US. Join CODEPINK for a week of creative and outrageous action in Washington DC, including an Arms are for Hugging "Hug In" at Congress.

Local CODEPINK groups are also taking action in communities from New York City to Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco to Boulder. To join an action in your area, or to get info about planning one, click here.

This week, Yoko Ono, Kate Hudson and Samuel L. Jackson signed on to our Give Peace a Vote campaign. Have you? Consider becoming one of our 1000 Peacemakers who are getting 100 others to vote for peace. And pass on John Stauber's flash video from his new book, The Best War Ever, to encourage voters for peace.

As John Lennon and Yoko Ono said so beautifully, "WAR IS OVER, if we want it."

Declaring peace and gratitude,
Andrea, Anedra, Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Laura, Liz, Medea, Nancy, Patricia, Rae, Samantha, and Sonia

Be sure to read C.I.'s "NYT: 5,106 dead in Baghdad during July & August (Richard A. Oppel)" which we were all going, "Put this in!" and "Talk about that!" We probably gave C.I. a huge headache. :D And let me add to the issue of peace coverage that Democracy When observed International Peace Day by . . . nothing. They didn't do any reports on peace activities planned or that had taken place, they didn't do anything on peace activists. Democracy When?

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Thursday, September 21st, 2006, International Peace Day established by the United Nations November 30, 1981 and Bully Boy offers 'alternative programming' as the chaos and violence continues in Iraq, as the press learns that 'suicide bomber' is an imprecise term, as those doing the torture includes 'government forces,' as the US military fatality count approaches the 2700 mark and the so-called coalition of the willing continues to shrink with the US forces left to sing,
"To be the last to leave, the last to be gone, stolen from the ones who hung on to it" ("Fireflies," written by Stevie Nicks, available on Fleetwood Mac Live).

The BBC reports that Manfred Nowak (anti-torture expert for the United Nations and Austrian law professor) has stated that torture is not only on the rise in Iraq but it may be happening more frequently than when Saddam Huseein was in power. Nowak's statements were based on a UN report which found that "Victims come from prisons run by US-led multinational forces as well as by the ministries of interior and defence and private militias".

This as Reuters notes: "The Sunni religious organisation, the Muslim Scholars Association, accused unnamed militia and government forces of killing five people in the village of al-Intsar, on the northeastern outskirts of Baghdad late on Wednesday. The group said others were kidnapped and houses burned."

Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported today, in Baghdad alone, at least "5,106 people . . . died violent deathd during July and August". Which is no doubt why, as reported by Sudarsan Raghavan's (Washington Post), The Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, William Caldwell IV, US military spokesperson, announced the obvious, after the UN had, that there was "a spike in execution-style murders" and "many bodies found had clear signs of being bound, tortured and executed." Way to stay ahead of the curve, but then he wouldn't look like the third guest, the loopy, bra-less one, if he couldn't state the obvious long after it had already been noted, would he?

Meanwhile Reuters reports that at least 38 corpses were discovered in Baghdad with most bearing signs of torture. Bombings? Reuters reports that a rocket attack on a home in Baghdad killed four and left five wounded, while bombs killed eight in Baghdad and left eighteen wounded and, in Diwaniya, a roadside bomb took the lives of two Iraq soldiers. Shootings? Reuters reports 3 shot dead in Kerbala and three police officers in Baquba. In a combination of the two (mortar attack, followed by gunfire) AP reports the deaths of six Iraqi police officers when their Baghdad police station was attacked.

AFP reports that the so-called coalition of the willing continues to suffer from shrinkage as Italy hands over Dhi Qar to Iraqi forces and, low and behold, there are no reports the Italy's actions "embolden" terrorism or that their action prevents "democracy." Quite the contrary, a US military press release credited to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
maintains that the handover and Italy's withdrawal predicated on the handover is "another sign of progress." Progress is possible, apparently, for all but the U.S. and England. Reuters identifies Italy as "the last major Western European ally" for England and the US and notes that an Italian soldier died just "hours" before the handover raising the total number of Italian soldiers who died in the war to 32.

The US military fatality count continues to rise and the US military announced today that a US soldier died in Baghdad Wednesday from a roadside bomb while today a soldier died from wounds received while fighting in al Anbar province. The announcements come as the US military fatality count is at 2,693 (seven away from the 2700 mark) and as the AP reports questions remain in another Wednesday US military death in Baghdad ("Sgt. 1st Class Charles Jason Jones, 29, of Lawrenceburg", Kentucky ) which is currently classified as due to "non combat-related causes".

"Suicide bombers" and "suicide car bombers"? The AP reports that term is far from precise and that the Iraqi Defense Ministry issued a warning today based upon the fact that people are being kidnapped, released and then used as unknowing bombers via remote control from devices planted on them or their vehicles.

In peace news, Sue Anne Pressley Montes (Washington Post) reports "A group of ministers, veterans and peace activists attempted to deliver a 'declaration of peace' to the White House today, kicking off a week of vigils and other activities in 350 communities across the country calling for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq" and "The day's activities also featured vigils for peace in dozens of cities and towns, including Little Rock, Ark.; Tucson, Ariz.; Pasadena, Ca.; Miami, Fla.; Decatur, Ga.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Austin, Tex. In San Diego Friday, there will be a Dance Action for Peace; on Saturday in Cincinnati, a Peace Tent City will be erected. San Francisco is hosting a mass bicycle ride to protest the conflict, and Madison, Wisc., is holding community forums on the issue." The Declaration of Peace site contains a
Vigils Calendar that will help you find events in your area as well as more information.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick one

Well the gangs all together and I'm doing a quick post (which, with my typing probably means I'll be the last one to post, no matter what time everyone else starts posting). We had a lot of fun today and if I were able to keep from yawning, I wouldn't be posting right now but I'm afraid I'm going to fall out any second. (Remember, never be a fall out boy unless you're willing to have photos of your dick posted online! :D) I flew in with Rebecca, Fly Boy and Elaine and Rebecca had printed up some of Ava and C.I.'s TV reviews so we were reading those and laughing. Jim's always saying that if things ever get too busy for them to write a new review (and there's time to), that a thing could be done with their past reviews. You know how you see those books of movie reviews where they pull a paragraph or two from a review and list all these movies? I think that should be done with their reviews. Rebecca and me were trying to pick out different stuff we'd include. I think the Supernatural thing would be funny that way, about how it was like gay porn but the actors forget to take their clothes off. :D

So it's been a busy and fun day. We got here early and there's been so much to do that I really am yawning. I'm like mainlining Dr. Pepper and either it's not kicked in yet or it's not working, I'm about to fall over.

So let me note this thing that talks about Brat Lauer and Robin Roberts (of Good Morning America, I don't know who she is). This is Media Matters' "Today, Good Morning America didn't question Rice about Bush's contradictory bin Laden remarks, report of cronyism in Iraq reconstruction:"

Also, in discussions about the risk of Iraq descending into full-scale civil war, neither Lauer nor Roberts asked Rice about Washington Post staff writer Rajiv Chandrasekaran's front-page article from two days before, reporting that many of the individuals hired by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to assist in rebuilding Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion "lacked vital skills and experience" and were hired based on their "loyalty to the Bush administration" rather than their expertise in "the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction." The Post article further noted that "[t]he decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors."
Rice blamed the chaos in Iraq on years of rule by a "brutal dictator" and a tradition of solving problems through "violence and repression." Neither Lauer nor Roberts mentioned the political cronyism reported by the Post as another possible explanation for the current difficulties in Iraq. As Media Matters
noted, cable and broadcast networks and major newspapers have ignored the Post report.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and that's it for me, I'm wiped out:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006. Violence and chaos continue in Iraq with the Associated Press estimating at least 45 have died and the United Nations estimating that July and August saw the death of 6.5 thousand Iraqis; a British prosecutor argues an admitted war criminal heard the sounds of torture and compared them to a a choir singing; Camp Democracy continues in Washington DC on Women's Peace day;
and Iraqi vet and war resister Darrell Anderson discusses a planned September 29th return to the United States: "
I just want to put my uniform back on and then tell them no to their face that 'I'm not going to participate in your war. Do whatever you want to me because I'm right and this is how I feel.' I've never had the chance to do that."
AFP reports that the United Nations, noting the increase in reported deaths since the start of July, has estimated that "[a]t least 6,599 civilians were killed across war-torn Iraq in the months of July and August".
And the violence goes on.
AFP notes six dead and thirty-seven wounded in Samarra "when a suicide bomber carried out the bloodiest attack by ramming his car into the house of a tribal leader" and, in Baghdad, three dead from a "suicide bomber driving a truck" in an attack on "a police station near an oil refinery". AP notes that seven were killed in the truck bombing attack on the police headquarters and that a police officer and two civilians were killed in a mortar attack in Baghdad. AP also notes that a roadside bomb claimed one life and left "two more wounded in east Baghdad".
AP reports that "a U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday by small arms fire in northeastern Baghdad" (we'll note US soldiers' death in a moment).
AP notes the "mutilated" corpse of a police officer was discovered in Kut. Reuters notes 35 corpses discovered in Baghdad "in the last 24 hours"
Iraq in microcosm.
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) looks at the farming of dates in Iraq and speaks to Iraqi farmer Aboud Ahdim Abbas Mohammad ("whose family has grown dates here since the 18th century") and "U.S. Army Maj. Marcus Snow, a member of the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team in Dayala, . . . stockbroker from Lancaster, PA". Mohammad states his intent to remain in Iraq despite threats on his life and Snow can't stop raving about a desire for "better accounting, production and marketing practices . . . better packaging and transportion systems" and increasing the cost of exported dates by 10 percent. As malnutrition continues throughout Iraq (the alarming increase in malnutrition among children is only one population segment effected), the US occupation sees profit-motive and the people continue to go hungry.
Larger picture?
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report on the continued destruction of Ramadi and "collective punishment of civilians in several cities across the al-Anbar province". They report on those teaching and attending the University of al-Anbar where: "Nearly every week we face raids by the Americans or their Iraqi colleagues" (a professor) and "The infrastructure destruction is huge around the governorate building in downtown Ramadi." They also quote Fayiq al-Dilaimy, an engineer "who was on the rebuilding committee set up after the November 2004 U.S.-led operation which destroyed approximately 75 percent of the city" who states:
"Infrastructure rebuilding is just a joke that nobody laughs at. People of this city could rebuild their city in six months if given a real chance. Now look at it and how sorrowful it looks under the boots of the 'liberators'."
In England, a court martial goes on against seven British soldiers. One, Donald Payne pleaded guilty to war crimes yesterday. The
BBC reports that Payne, while copping to war crimes, "denied a further charge of perverting the course of justice." Devika Bhat (Times of London) notes that the argument made today was that Payne "enjoyed beating his prisoners until they became a 'choir,' of pain". The BBC quotes prosuctor Julian Bevan telling the court martial Payne was the "conducter": "The choir consisted of Cpl Payne systematically assaulting each detainee in turn by, for instance, hitting in their stomachs, kicking them and punching them wherever on their bodies, causing them to shriek out or groan in pain, their various noises constituting the music".
As noted above, a US soldier died from "small arms fire" in Baghdad. This is in addition to ones noted earlier today. Prior to the one who died from "small arms fire," as
David Rising (AP) notes, "the US military [had] announced the deaths of four other soldiers in Iraq. On was killed Tuesday by a suicide car bombing, which also wounded two other soldiers. Antoher two soldiers were killed Sunday -- one by small arms fire and the other by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. A fourth soldier, assigned to a medical task force, died Monday of non-combat related injuries in the capital." Those four, the one who died from "small arms fire" and "an American soldier was killed by a roadside blast northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday." The current total of American fatalities since the beginning of the illegal war is 2691. Proving that he can at least recognize an increase, Giddy in the Greenzone William B. Caldwell IV has noted the obvious --- "Attacks against U.S. troops have increased".
In peace news,
Armina Ligaya (Globe & Mail) spoke with war resister Darrell Anderson who was "one of the first of about 225 U.S. soldiers to flee to Canada since 2004". Courage to Resist has noted that Anderson is planning to return to the United States. Anderson explains to Ligaya that there are options prior to his planned return to the US which could explain Canada granting him refugee status or approving his sponsorship claim (Anderson is married to Canadian citizen Gail Greer.) Anderson doesn't have hopes of either happening by September 29th.
Today is Women's Peace Day and
NOW and CODEPINK are joint-sponsoring events at Camp Democracy which is where the Troops Home Fast ends today on Day 78. An estimated 5,023 people are participating today and people have grabbed one-day only, one-day each week and longterm fasts through the 78 days. In addition, The Feminist Wire notes: "Other activities on Wednesday include a discussion on how to end violence in Iraq, an update on the violence against women in Juarez, a panel discussion by military women, and a history workshop led by Howard Zinn."
Tomorrow (Thursday Sept. 21st) is International Peace Day and
Camp Democracy notes: "We will encourage Camp Democracy participants on this day to engage in activities organized by the Declaration of Peace, including a press conference at 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. followed by an action at the White House."
Actions will be going on around the US (
Corvallis Gazette-Times notes a gathering Thursday, Sept. 21st, at the Benton County Courthouse, 120 N.W. Fourth St., Corvallis, OR) and around the world.)
A complete schedule can be found
In California,
Martin Snapp (Contra Costa Times) reports the the Berkeley City Council "unanimously passed a resolution supporting Lt. Ehren Watada, an Army officer who is facing a court martial for refusing to go to Iraq." George Coates (Berkeley Daily Planet) writes of Berkeley mayor Tom Bates: "Now Bates is up for re-election at a time when many high school-age students are learning that the U.S. military is monitoring their MySpace pages and targeting potential recruits. The plight of soldiers like Lt. Erhen Watada, the first commissioned officer to go AWOL from duty in Iraq, has also triggered fears that a national draft could be reinstated if the number of volunteer enlistments continue to decline as the war threatens to widen. Progressive Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring's effort to pass a resolution in support of Lt. Watada is important because if it succeeds the city will have deepened its stance against the war and candidates for mayor will have heard the message: Sanctuary for war resisters is a local issue that no serious candidate for mayor can evade."
More information on Watada can be found at
Courage to Resist and

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thoughts on McGreevey

Elaine and I were both going to write about something. But she ended up finding something else so I'm going to write about it. There was a piece online that was "Oh that Jim McGreevey's so embarrassing." Apparently there's some debate on this in some gay circles. I can't offer "the" or "a" gay view. I'm straight. So here are my thoughts and take them or blow them.

Jim McGreevey was on Oprah today. He's the New Jersey governor that had a sexual relationship with someone who worked for him. He went public (with his then-wife standing beside him) and such Moral Paragons as Christie Todd Whitman (of the 'get thee back to Ground Zero -- it's fine and dandy' fame) began insisting he had to step down. He did. He divorced. He's got a new partner (male, Mark O'Donnell) and a new book.

So what did I think about Jim McGreevey? I could relate to him. As he is today, I could relate to him and I could relate to what he was talking about. I'm a lot younger than him, but even in this supposed new world, I know "gay" was the word you didn't want to be called ("gay" or worse). I knew it growing up. Coaches didn't yell "throws like a girl" at my teams. They said things like "butt pirates," "sugar britches," and more. And I grew up in the "new world." So I can imagine how it could be for someone McGreevey's age.

So when he was talking about not wanting to be the perceived 'bad' thing, I could understand that. I also wondered how much of it was due to being gay?

When I'd hear that stuff, I'd take it as an insult (the way it was meant) and get mad. But I wasn't thinking, "Do they know?" If you're gay, that kind of b.s. takes on a different level and I thought he was getting at that.

I also wanted to talk about the guy who denies being his lover. Oprah said he was invited to respond, this guy, through his lawyer but didn't want to and she noted what's in the press today.
I'm going to comment on that b.s. because that's all it is.

The guy's name is Golan Cipel and thanks to Ty for finding the article for me. I saw it on Yahoo as an AP on Yahoo story and those things disappear real quick. Ty found an article from one of the paper's out there and e-mailed it to me. (Or, the same article, but running in a paper so it may be up a little longer.) Cipel was the assistant to McGreevey.

Cipel says he's not gay, that he was harrassed.


If he's not gay, he's bi-sexual or he's a someone who uses anything to advance. Walking through the claims of the harrassment in the AP article:

In the statement, Cipel said a drunken McGreevey once tried to force himself on him. In a second incident, McGreevey, lying in bed recovering from a broken leg, masturbated in front of him, Cipel said.

WTF. No straight guy is going to be, "Uh, what do I do?" Somebody forces themsevles on you and you're not gay, if you're a man, you say no. They whip it out later, you're out of there. There is no third incident.

Cipel said it was the third incident that forced him to leave his job.
He said that occurred when he was accompanying McGreevey in a van on a trip to Washington, D.C. The governor was lying on a mattress in the van and Cipel was sitting in a back seat when suddenly McGreevey grabbed his leg and began masturbating, Cipel said.
After a struggle, Cipel pulled his leg back and was poised to kick McGreevey in the throat when the governor let go, Cipel wrote. Three state troopers were in the vehicle, he said.

I read that crap and thought, "I don't know anyone who would say something like this." Then I remember my old teammate from high school that I bumped into a few months back. He's gay and out now. He wasn't then. So I asked him and his opinion was the guy, Cipel, wasn't an innocent. He was either curious or participating. He also questioned whether a straight man would threaten to go public?

"I could see him getting out of there, if he was straight," my friend said, "but there's no way he would go public with it if he were straght."

He talked about all the times we were told to 'toughen up' when we were physically hurt or down by coaches growing up. He says a straight guy would've walked away and would've walked away without dragging himself publicly into the whole thing. He called the guy "a drama queen."

Three instances? I don't know a straight guy that would work for some guy under a "three strikes you're out" policy. You'd be out of there. And if the guy couldn't grasp your no, then you weren't saying it loud enough the other two times.

Now Cipel may not be your average guy and, if that's the case, maybe he's telling the truth. But I don't think so. Men can be harrassed. I'm not saying they can't be. But I think if Cipel's the straight guy he's claiming to be, then he would have responded differently during and after.

Cipel said that when they reached Washington, he was shocked to find himself booked into the same hotel room as McGreevey. He said he locked himself in the bathroom and spent a fitful night trying to sleep on the floor.

That's something a woman with little options or nervous might do, I don't see a grown man doing that. Not if he's straight. A straight guy would have gotten out of there, not gone to the bathroom to sleep behind a locked door and to "fitful" all night to get to sleep.

So I don't buy it. The guy was over thirty when he said he was being harrassed. If you're a man, and you're not gay, and some guy starts masturbating and grabbing you, after he's already made a pass at you, you get out of there if it's harrassment. I can understand some confusion if it was a woman doing it. There would be the whole "Am I pussy? Am I a wuss?" because it's a woman offering sex. And I'm not trying to offend anyone with the p-word, but I'm saying what would be in my head and most guy's heads. An attractive woman (McGreevey's a good looking guy) is hitting on you. She's your boss and it might take you by surprise. But a man hits on you, masturbates in front of you, twice, you're already out of there. You're not a scared little girl hiding behind a locked bathroom door all night. And that's what you would have been raised to think "little girl" if you acted that way.

I have no problem believing that Anita Hill was sexually harrassed by Clarance Thomas. But women were raised differently. And since Cipel's over a decade older than I am, I'm guessing he was raised with a lot more macho crap than I was. Cipel is post-Anita Hill. If he was really sexually harrassed, her example should have been one for him. I called Tony and six other friends and asked them what they would do. Everyone said they'd say no once and think it was over. If it happened again, they'd be out the door. That was on a pass. When I told them that Cipel claims the second incident involved McGreevey whipping it out and going to town in front of him, they said no way in hell.

A woman might believe in Cipel's story because of the way she was raised. But I don't buy it. Cipel was raised in a much more anti-gay environment than I was. He was over thirty when it happened. He took a job, according to him, and kept it from the guy that was doing this. Cipel says nothing happened. If that's true, Cipel may have been a little hustler who thought he could flirt a little, leave McGreevey hoping and stall. But it seems more likely to me that he had some sort of relationship with McGreevey. Maybe they jerked each other off. But I just don't see Cipel's story as true. I don't see McGreevey doing that and doing it with state troopers present. It's unbelievable. Clarence Thomas wasn't harrassing Anita Hill in front of other people.

The story just goes out the reality window. Now if Cipel was gay, I might see the story differently. But a straight guy just wouldn't put up with that. And McGreevey's lawyer turned the matter over to the FBI when McGreevey was still in office, saying Cipel was trying to blackmail him. The guy's not married, has no kids, so what's to stop him from picking up and getting another job? If your boss hits on you and you don't like it, you get out. It can be different for women, I realize that. But if you're a guy, you turn down the first offer. When the second alleged incident occurs, you start sending out that resume. There's no third time.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, violence and chaos continue in Iraq, Bully Boy went to the United Nations and so did activists, a soldier pleads guilty to a war crime, Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC and, in Australia, Shelley Kovco tells the military inquiry into the Aprtil 21st Baghdad death of her husband, "'Sorry' just doesn't cut it after the first time."
Starting in Australia, on April 21, 2006, Jake Kovco became the first Australian soldier to die in Iraq. For months now, a military inquiry into his death and the problems immediately after (including the destruction of evidence and losing his body) has been ongoing.
Belinda Tasker (Herald-Sun) reports that the head of the inquiry, Group Captain Warren Cook, has stated: "It is the intenion of the board to say . . . Jake Kovco did not committ suicide. . . . I can't make it any plainer than that."
Eleanor Hall (ABC's The World Today) summarized: "It wasn't suicide. In a surprise announcement this morning, the Preisdent of the Board inquiring into the death of Private Jake Kovco in Iraq interrupted an address from one of the Kovco lawyers to say that he had already ruled out that the young soldier deliberately took his own life."
Dan Box (The Australian) reports that Colonel Leslie Young ("representing [Jake] Kovco's interests") declared that the hearing should issue a finding of accidental death or "return an open verdict" due to the destruction and loss of evidence. Box quotes Young: ""Have you ever received direct evidence that Jake was handling his weapon when it discharged? The answer is no."
This follows (see
yesterday's snapshot) the statements made by Judy Kovco, mother of Jake Kovco, to Kerry O'Brien in an interview on ABC's 7:30 Report. Judy Kovco discussed her feelings regarding the inquiry, how "the evidence so far, there is no way known, no, he did not shoot himself" and that she believes the military would cover up "an accidental shooting by somebody else or a murder". Conor Duffy (ABC's The World Today) reported that the announcement of no finding of suicide came as Lieutenant Colonel Holles "was speaking for Jake Kovco's parents, Martin and Judy, and he began addressing the board and tell them why they shouldn't find suicide."
Following the announcement that the inquiry would not issue a finding of suicide, Shelly Kovco, Jake Kovco's widow, addressed the inquiry.
PM provides a recreation of some of her statements including: "I had explained to Tyie that Daddy's mates were bringing him home so that we could say goodbye. I then had to explain to my son why we weren't picking Daddy up. No mother ever wants to tell their children their Daddy has died and they won't see him again. But out on top of that, they didn't bring Daddy home, it was another man, we have to go get Daddy in a couple of days, is pretty hard and confusing on him and me."
Tyrie is the young son of Shelley and Jake Kovco (under five-years-old) and the couple also has a younger daughter, Alana (a one-year-old).
Conor Duffy reported on the statements to Eleanor Hall (ABC's The World Today), "Eleanor, so far Shelley Kovco has remained silent throught the entire three months of the inquiry, and today she was dressed in black and she gave an emotional address, and it really revealed the extent of her anger and the sense of betrayal she feels towards the Defence Force and to the Government."
Belinda Tasker (Herald-Sun) reports that it was a five-page statement and that Shelley Kovco was "[s]obbing as she read" it. The statement directly addressed Brendan Nelson's actions. Nelson is the Defense Minister and his breathless, uninformed gushing to the media helped no one (and may have tarnished his own 'rising star'). Dan Box (The Australian) reports her stating, "Brendan Nelson has said Jake was cleaning his pistol, and then he changed his story . . . These things shouldn't have been said to the media until the truth was known."
Shelley Kovco also addressed the pain caused by some of the rumors that were circulated. (We didn't note them here when they were circulating as gospel, we won't note them now but we will note that she addressed them, and the pain they caused, in her statement.)
Belinda Tasker reports that Shelley Kovco stated "she did not hold either of her husband's roommates, Pt Ray Johnson and Pte Rob Shore, repsonsible for his death . . . Likewise, she said she did not believe another soldier, Pte Steve Carr, whose DNA was found on Pte Kovco's pistol, was to blame."
Also speaking was David Small, Shelley Kovco's father.
Dan Box (The Australian) reports he spoke "outside the inquiry" to reporters and "said the family held Alastar Adams, the Australian consular official in Kuwait City who sealed Kovco's casket, responsible for the confusion over the body's transport." And what did Small say to the inquiry? Conor Duffy, on ABC's PM, reported: "Shelley Kovco was followed onto the stand by her father David Small, a former military man who also attacked the Defence force, saying the bungled repatriation had almost caused him to return his medals. . . He also attacked the facilities used to return Private Kovco's remains to Autralia, saying staff at the Kuwaiti morgue was illiterate and little more than fridge mechanics and cleaners." Small is quoted stating: "We have no reason to believe that Jake's death is anything but a tragic accident. However, we think that something has been withheld, perhaps with misquided good intentions. For Shelley and the kids' sake, if anyone knows anything that hasn't been said please come forward now and not in some years time as it will only increase the pain."
According to Dan Box (The Australian), it will be "about six weeks" before the board of the inquiry turns "a final report . . . [over] to the chief of the defence force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston".
Meanwhile, as noted by Aileen Alfandary on
KPFA's The Morning Show, today, Bully Boy went to the United Nations (and spoke to French president Jacques Chirac, before speech making). Bully Boy went to the United Nations and so did activists "calling for an immediate end to the war in Iraq" (Alfandary). Alfandary spoke to Leslie Cagan (United for Peace and Justice) moments before the protests were to begin. Cagan: "We are out on the streets of New York because President Bush is addressing the UN General Assembly and we're here to say no to his war, it's time to end the war, bring all the troops home and no new wars."
CBS and AP note, Bully Boy's speech included the cry "Stand up for peace." No word on whether that was greeted by UN delegates with snorts of derision or boos and hisses.
Gertrue Chavez-Dreyfuss (Reuters) reports on what took place outside with
"[t]housands of protesters including former American soldiers rallied . . . urging the U.S. government to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home." The article quotes
Raed Jarrar, "People in Iraq also want to end the war. We want our country back."
From the Bully Boy to another war war criminal -- in England, Corporal Donald Payne pleaded guilty "
to inhumanely treating civilians detained in Iraq between Sept 13 and Sept 16 2003 in Basra, Iraq" (Telegraph of London). The Guardian notes that Payne ("one of seven British troops who went on trial today facing charges linked to the death of an Iraqi civilian") was pleading guilty to chrages that "relate to the death of Baha Musa, 26, an Iraqi civilian in Basra". Jeremey Lovell (Reuters) reports that Musa is said to have had "93 injuries on his body, including a broken nose and ribs" and that "another detainee was so badly beaten that he nearly died of kidney failure."
This as
Reuters reports British military has announced that two British soldiers died in Iraq on Monday (British Iraq fatalities now stand at 118) and the BBC reports that the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, is calling "for urgent actions from Iraqi leaders and the international community to bring Iraq back from the brink." The brink? As AFP notes, "Violence continued unabated Tuesday" in Iraq.
CBS and AP report, in Baghdad, 10 people are dead and 19 wounded as a result of a "rocket attack". A car bomb, AFP reports, claimed the lives of two more people in Baghdad. Outside Baghdad, Reuters reports one dead (two wounded) from a car bomb al-Rasheed; two dead (seven wounded) in Mahmudiya from mortar attacks; and, in Baquba, two dead from a roadside bomb.
AFP notes a police officer was shot dead in Baquba. Reuters notes that eleven people were shot dead today "across Baquba" and that two people were killed in Najaf.
Reuters reports that 11 corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya.
AFP reports that John Abizaid ("US Central Command chief") told Congress that he thinks "this level probably will have to be sustained through the spring and then we'll re-evaluate". He was speaking of the fact that 140,000 US troops are currently in Iraq. Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that Abizaid also spoke of the option of adding more troops "or extending the Iraq deployments of other units if needed." Apparently no one's supposed to remember the talk at the end of 2005 -- about drawing down the numbers. In June, the number was 127,000. It's now 140,000 -- like everything else the Bully Boy attempts, it goes the wrong way.
In peace news,
Camp Democracy continues its activities in Washington DC -- free and open to the public and open through October 1st. Camp Democracy's activities today revolved around media activism and tomorrow's activities focus around Women's Peace Day and is joint-sponsored by NOW and CODEPINK (among those scheduled to participate is Howard Zinn). . A complete schedule can be found here.
And, in Berkeley,
Judith Scherr (Berkeley Daily Planet) reports on the agenda for this evening's city council meeting which includes a vote on the "resolution to support Lt. Ehren Watada". Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In August, an Article 32 hearing was held. Last Friday, the military tried to sneak in a new charge ("conduct unbecoming an officer" for statements made at at the Veterans for Peace conference held in Seattle -- here at CounterPunch and here at Truthout). More information on Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and