Friday, November 24, 2006

Robert Parry, Iraq

Day after Thanksgiving. If you celebrated, I hope you had enough to eat and people you cared about with you. Holidays can be rough and sometimes other people don't even notice that they are rough. I was all over the place Thursday morning, running errands, carrying things into the house, helping Dad set up in the backyard and probably a hundred other things. It wasn't until we were sitting down to eat that I even knew what Elaine wrote about in "Thanksgiving" was going on. I'd love to tell you I took care of it, but I was on my way out to talk to Elaine. While I was outside, Ma took care of it. Like Elaine says, no one was trying to be mean or rude, but sometimes (me talking) people don't have to try to be those things. I'm glad she wrote about and I know Ma's writing about it this weekend too. I do bet that happened to others as well. When you get a lot of people together, you really need to pay attention and I didn't. Yeah, I was helping to unload cars and all that stuff but I should have been paying attention.

It's one of those things you realize after the fact. I've apologized for not noticing it while it was going on and I bet a lot of people feel bad about not noticing it. If you're like me, we can either beat ourselves up or learn from it. So I'm going to try to learn from it.

Know what else we can learn from? The past. And Robert Parry's not throwing in the towel. He continues to explain why Robert Gates is a bad choice for Secretary of Defense, I hope people are paying attention. Here's a bit of his latest called "Gates & the Iran Arms Sales:"

In November 1987, as the Reagan administration was still scrambling to contain the Iran-Contra scandal, then-deputy CIA director Robert M. Gates denied that the spy agency had soft-pedaled intelligence about Iran’s support for terrorism to clear the way for secret U.S. arms shipments to the Islamic regime.
"Only one or two analysts believed Iranian support for terrorism was waning," Gates wrote in articles that appeared in the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs magazine. "And no CIA publication asserted these things."
However, a month earlier, an internal CIA review had found three reports from Nov. 22, 1985, to May 15, 1986, claiming that Iranian-sponsored terrorism had declined, according to a sworn statement from veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who prepared the review for senior officials in the Directorate of Intelligence [DI].
"My findings uncovered an unexplained discontinuity," McGovern's affidavit said. "To wit on 22 November 1985, in an abrupt departure from the longstanding analytical line on Iranian support for terrorism, DI publications began to assert that Iranian-sponsored terrorism had 'dropped off substantially' in 1985. I recall being particularly struck by the fact that no evidence was adduced to support that important judgment.
"This new line was repeated in at least two additional DI publications, the last of which appeared on 15 May 1986. Again, no supporting evidence was cited. After May 1986, the analytical line changed, just as abruptly, back to the line that had characterized DI reporting on this subject up to November 1985 (with no mention of any substantial drop or other reduction in Iranian support for terrorist activity)."
The timing of CIA's dubious reporting in 1985 about a decline in Iranian-backed terrorism is significant because the Reagan administration was then in the midst of secret Israeli-brokered arms shipments of U.S. weapons to Iran.
The shipments not only were politically sensitive, but also violated federal export laws -- in part because Iran was officially designated a terrorist state. So, playing down Iran’s hand in terrorism worked for the White House whether supported by the facts or not.
At that time, Gates was deputy director in charge of the DI, putting him in a key bureaucratic position as the CIA worked to justify geopolitical openings to Iran. Even earlier, in spring 1985, Gates had overseen the production of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate that had warned of Soviet inroads in Iran and conjured up supposed moderates in the Iranian government.
That Gates, two years later, would make exculpatory claims about the CIA's reporting -- assertions contradicted by an internal DI report -- suggests that he remained more interested in protecting the Reagan administration’s flanks than being straight with the American public.

It does matter. But we're all supposed to toss in the towel and act like it's not important. I guess that's more of that sort of 'we won because voters wanted a change but we prefer to ignore that and play patty cakes with the Republicans.'

Carrie e-mailed about the guest post last week, "Ty, Jess and Ava filling in for Elaine," where Ava explained why she wondered if it was me and Wally that were the couple. Carrie wanted to know if I really wasn't offended? I really wasn't. In fact, while Wally was staying here this summer, we joked about doing a post about being lovers and then, at the end, noting I was with Elaine. Elaine didn't want to make a big deal about announcing it and also wanted to be sure not to make Nina uncomfortable. So me and Wally were going to do this whole thing about how we were lovers and argue about who Brokeback whose Mountain! :D, then, at the end of the post, say, "Fooled ya!" :D

But like, Ty's a good friend and he's gay and I don't think there's anything insulting about it. I did get a lot of e-mails about it and a number of people were all, "How dare Ava think that about you!" It wasn't supposed to be an insult. I'm glad people cared about my feelings, but it wasn't an insult and I wasn't insulted.

Time to wind down, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, over 200 die in Baghdad on Thursday, war resister John A. Rogowskyj Jr. finds that the US military feels no obligation to follow even their own written policy, Bully Boy's meet up in Jordan comes under attack, and is Nouri al-Maliki on the way out?
Starting with resistance within the US military. Conscientious objector John A. Rogowskyj Jr. was deployed to Iraq at the start of this month. The twenty-two-year-old Marine was deployed, as the Associated Press notes, after a Marine captain recommended he be discharged, after a major said he couldn't serve in compbat duty in June, because a D.V. Odell Jr. ("commander of the Fourth Marine Division") doesn't seem to grasp what a c.o. is the policy that the US military has on them. The AP notes that Odell, a major general, found Rogowskyj to be "theologically confused and [he] does not reflect any officially recognized faith group."
Take that, America's fore fathers. The slow witted Odell Junior might also make some time to check out "Selective Service System: Fast Facts" which notes: "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man's reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest." By the military's own guidelines, Odell Junior's statements are not only insulting but ignorant. "May be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Rogowskyj was deployed as a result of Odell Junior's failure to grasp the policies the military has set in place. There ought to be disciplinary actions for Odell (busted back down to a New Orleans post?). More likely, everyone will play stupid (well the tone is set from the Oval Office).
Edward Colimore (Philadelphia Inquirer) reports that Rogowskyj declares in the court papers: "I see now that I must separate from the military with all due haste, or suffer without the forgiveness of grace, for defying the truth that I see plainly before me, that violence as a means or end cannot be tolerated."
To repeat for the slow witted Odell Junior, who not only fails to grasp the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution but also fails to grasp official military policy, Rogowkyj need not belong to any church or faith, need not subscribe to Odell Junior's notions of 'old time religion,' in order to be granted c.o. status.Rogowskyj signed up for the reserves in 2002 thinking he would be helping stateside during national emergencies.
In Iraq, yesterday the violence prompted ABC to break in to their daytime lineup with a breaking news announcement by Elizabeth Vargas on what is being called the most deadly attack in Iraq since the illegal war began. For which ABC got the usual number of complaints, though nothing like the concerned and outraged comments they received in 2003 when they broke in to announce that Bully Boy was carrying a fake turkey around a base in Iraq.
Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that 144 people were killed. That number is incorrect today and was wrong yesterday as well when AFP reported that 152 were already dead. Today, All Headline News reports that the death toll is now 202, that at least 250 more are injured with doctors not expecting all to live and that "Officials said that the death toll could rise, as body parts and bodies are dispersed throughout the city and could not be counted." The BBC reports that "at least three" car bombs were used in the cooridnated attacks on Thursday followed by mortar rounds and quotes photo journalist Kareem al-Rubaie on witnessing the violence, "I saw a car from a wedding party, covered in ribbons and flowers. It was burning. There were pools of blood on the street and children dead on the ground." Reuters places the number of bombs at six. CNN reported Thursday: "Thursday's attacks, launched within the course of half an hour, were part of a spasm of violence that shook two Baghdad bastions of support for anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- the Sadr City slum in the Iraqi capital's northeast and the Health Ministry compound, controlled by the cleric's political movement."
The BBC reports that Baghdad is now under curfew and the Baghdad Airport has been closed. Reuters states that all vehicle traffic is banned in Baghdad for Saturday as well. AFP adds that the airport in Basra has been closed as well as well as "its southern seaports."
The 202 dead and counting from Thursday's attack surpasses the previous reported most violent day in Iraq. The BBC notes September 14, 2005 as a day when there were 182 reported deaths in Baghdad.
As if the violence on Thursday wasn't bad enough, rumors floated that Dick Cheney was in Iraq on Thursday. CBS and AP report that the White House denies those rumors. Current rumor is that Cheney was supposed to be in Baghdad and the press would be alerted after landing; however, the violence on Thursday resulted in the trip being cancelled.
Press reports continue to caution that Iraq might be on the brink of civil war which leaves one wondering how they might have reported Sherman's March to the Sea?The violence and chaos continued today.
CBS and AP report that a mortar attack was launched at the Association of Muslim Scholars in Baghdad leaving four guards injured. This is seen as a retaliation for Thursday's attack as are the multiple attacks, noted by Al Jazeera, in the Hurriay district of Baghdad that targeted "four Sunni Mosques with rocket-propelled grenades" and claimed the lives of at least thirty. Reuters reports one dead and two wounded from mortar attacks in Diwaniya and the bombing of "an office of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's . . . in . . . Baquba". CNN reports that a man set off a bomb "strapped to his body" and one in his car in a parking lot in Tal Afar and killed at least 22 people while wounding 30 more.
Reuters reports that at least two funeral goers are wounded in Baghdad after a US helicopter fired on a funeral.
Reuters reports that thirty corpses were discovered in Baghdad while three were discovered in Mosul. Reporting on Wednesday's UN report, Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) noted that, in the September and October period studied by the UN, "Sixty-five percent of all deaths in Baghdad were categorized as unindentified corpses, the signature of militias, who kidnap, kill and throw away bodies at a rate that now outstrips the slaughter inflicted by suicide bombers."They do so even when the capitol is under 'curfew' (and the never ending 'crackdown').
In addition, AP reports: "Militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by, and seven Sunni mosques came under attack as Shiites took revenge for the slaughter of 215 people in the Sadr City slum."
The BBC reports the death of a British solider in Basra and notes that 126 British soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The British military announces: "The soldier sustained gunshot wounds during the operation and was evacuated to a nearby military hospital. Despite the best possible medical care, the soldier later died from his injuries. The soldier was a member of the Parachute Regiment, on secondment to Headquarters Multinational Division South East, Iraq."
Thursday's attacks and today's is having ripple effects in Iraq that go beyond bombs and bullets.
Tuesday, Charles Wolfson (CBS) reported on next week's planned meet up in Jordan between Bully Boy and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki. The meet up was quickly announced following the announcement of al-Maliki going to Tehran for a Saturday meeting with the presidents of Iran and Syria. The meet up with the Bully Boy is now in question.
CNN reports that, today, "Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc threatened to withdraw support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki should he meet President Bush as planned next week" and quotes spokesperson Salih al-Aleiki stating: "We announce that if the security situation and the basic services do not improve, and if the prime minister goes ahead and meets with the criminal Bush in Amman, then we will suspend our memberships with the Iraqi parliament and the government." As Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) notes, it's not an idle threat: "The United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite political parties, won 128 of the 275 seats in the Iraqi parliament in December's elections." Should the al-Sadr block withdraw their support, the United Iraqi Alliance would fall from a 128 member bloc to a 98 member one. That's on the condition that all 98 remain behind al-Maliki -- should he find new support his bloc could increase. The second largest bloc, with 53 members, is the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan which successfully backed (with US support) Jalal Talabani for president of Iraq.
The above follows on the heels of Tom Hayden's report (for Common Dreams) that the US is putting out feelers for new governing officials in Iraq which could include the disposing of al-Maliki.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robert Parry, Iraq, Judith Regan

I took out everything I wrote and am starting it over. I was in the middle of a post when Elaine got here and completely forgot about it. I'm doing a quick post.

Yesterday was the anniversary of JFK's assassination and, along with the links at the end of the snapshot, Ruth wrote about it so check that out. You know what was weird? That it got so pretty much no attention. I don't get that.

On another topic, Wally's "JUDITH REGAN: BORN TRASH, DIE TRASH AND STINKING UP THE WORLD IN BETWEEN" and Cedric's "Trashmouth Judith Regan" covers the latest on Judith Regan and Rupert Murdoch and Fox, so check it out.

I did get a call about the upcoming TV review at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I'm begging Ava and C.I. to put in a line they quoted to me tonight. It's too funny. But even if they don't, you do not want to miss this review. Seriously, this is the review that will knock your socks off. You're thinking, "They usually do that every week." The big problem with this review is they're not sure how to cover it -- they have so much they want to put into it. It's actually covering two shows and they think they can deal with one in about a paragraph but the second one was so hideous, they're wondering how to take the notes they made and zoom in on just a few things.

I told C.I. that I'd note this if they'd consider putting my favorite line (it's about a phone call they made while watching the second thing, the piece of crap) into their review. So here's Amy Goodman's "Rumsfeld and a Mountain of Misery:"

Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist, began life as a slave on Maryland's Eastern Shore. When his owner had trouble with the young, unruly slave, Douglass was sent to Edward Covey, a notorious "slave breaker." Covey's plantation, where physical and psychological torture were standard, was called Mount Misery. Douglass eventually fought back, escaped to the North and went on to change the world. Today Mount Misery is owned by Donald Rumsfeld, the outgoing secretary of defense.
It is ironic that this notorious plantation run by a practiced torturer would now be owned by Rumsfeld, himself accused as the man principally responsible for the U.S. military's program of torture and detention.
Rumsfeld was recently named along with 11 other high-ranking U.S. officials in a criminal complaint filed in Germany by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. The center is requesting that the German government conduct an investigation and ultimately a criminal prosecution of Rumsfeld and company. CCR President Michael Ratner says U.S. policy authorizing "harsh interrogation techniques" is in fact a torture program that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld authorized himself, passed down through the chain of command and was implemented by one of the other defendants, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller.
The complaint represents victims of torture at Abu Ghraib prison, the U.S. prison at Guantanamo. Says Ratner, "I think it is important to make it very clear that CCR's suit is not just saying Rumsfeld is a war criminal because he tops the chain of command, but that he personally played a central role in one of the worst interrogations at Gitmo."

That's my trade with C.I. :D Now having noted that, Sy Hersh was a guest on Democracy Now! this week. Tony told me to watch it and I did catch it on TV. Why? Was it a great interview? No, it really wasn't.

Hersh really ticked me off.

Goodman brought up what Robert Parry and Mel Goodman had earlier warned about with Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense and Hersh was all like 'ancient history, blah blah.' Wait, here's what he said when Amy Goodman brought up Robert Parry and Mel Goodman's criticism of Gates because he was part of the illegal Iran-Contra scam.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Look, you can spend a lot of time going over the past. Iran-contra was one of the most underreported stories of the time. As much attention as it got, there's no question that the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and all of the people immediately around him, knew much more. This is one of the worst reported stories of the decade, of the last couple of decades. We really didn't get to it, none of us in the press corps, it was a failure. Bob Gates was certainly in the middle of this, but I'll tell you right now, the issue for Gates, if you want to worry about the past, worry about the past. The issue for Gates now is, is he going to throw -- President of a major University, he's written a memoir, he's come out of it with his reputation pretty much intact, is he going to throw it away, by going into the tank?
In other words, one way he's brought in, one reason he's brought in, he's seen as somebody, unlike Rumsfeld, who in case they decide to go to war or they think there's intelligence that supports going to war with Iran, he's seen as somebody that can go brief it and be accepted by the Congress. As you know, many of the legislators are Democrats, Joe Biden among them, who voted against Gates, very -- when he was up for CIA Director, a decade ago, were very quick to say they would vote for him now.
And so the issue for Gates -- Gates is really going to be in a very tough spot. Is he going to throw away 35 years and put himself right back in the maelstrom by being -- being a mouthpiece for some of the people who want to do things that he may not agree with, or is he going to tell it straight? But he's going to have credibility, he's gonna be seen as somebody who is going to be replacing Rumsfeld. Bob Gates is not the worst person in the world. I don't disagree with what Mel Goodwin--Goodman says, and he and I have talked about this in the past. But gates is also very strong-minded and what he could see as tilting intelligence, could be Gates inflicting his views which is also wrong, but it’s different.

We really didn't get it? I believe Robert Parry's written books on it. I think he "got" it. I don't know Mel Goodman but he may have gotten it too. It just seemed really strange to me that circumventing (breaking) the Constitution is seen as "ancient history." Hasn't part of the problem with the Bully Boy been that so many crooks have been brought in?

As for this nonsense about how Hersh knows or suspects Gates won't do anything to hurt his reputation, that wasn't true during Iran-Contra. If you're going to argue he learned something, his lesson may have been that the press will always cover up for him?

That was a crap answer and the sort of thing I expect from the guy who supposed tried to lure what he thought were two underage girls to have sex with him. (He can prove he's innocent, if he is, by okaying the release of the sealed court records. That he won't indicates he is guilty as the press reported.) Hersh did a tour with that guy, remember? And remember how the alleged pedophile promised us that the US was going to war with Iran . . . starting in the summer of 2006? Didn't happen. Jason Leopold gets creamed for that story but The Nation lets the alleged pedophile pen a story.

I'm sorry, if you think what Mark Foley did was disgusting, you need to find the alleged pedophile disgusting too. You can't go, "Ew!" on one and not the other. The press reported that the jerk was busted in an FBI sting where they caught him online trying to lure what he thought was a 14 year old girl into a sexual situation. Turns out, the press reported, there was another bust for the same thing. He won't deny it. He says he won't talk about it.

Maybe that should be a defense pedophiles should use? "I won't talk about it."

That guy's disgusting and shame on The Nation for printing someone's that's been reported to be a pedophile. They better not say one word about Judith Regan because this guy is as bad as O.J. Simpson. And they let him write for them.

I don't like pedophiles, I don't feel sorry for them. I got a kid sister and if the jerk had pulled that with her, he'd be in a hospital somewhere. And if I was in charge of The Nation, they wouldn't be running pieces by someone who refuses to release the court records but wants us all to put our trust him that he's innocent.

I thought Hersh came off like an apologist for Iran-Contra and an advocate of Gates. Maybe Gates is one of his sources? There was a moment there when it seemed like he was on the verge of saying that.

Gates was part of Iran-Contra, he's not fit to serve in any public position. Here's Robert Parry writing about Gates:

One risk of putting career intelligence officer Robert Gates in charge of the Defense Department is that he has a secret -- and controversial -- history that might open him to pressure from foreign operatives, including some living in countries of U.S. military interest, such as Iran and Iraq.
Put more crudely, the 63-year-old Gates could become the target of pressure or even blackmail unless some of the troubling questions about his past are answered conclusively, not just cosmetically.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Gates benefited from half-hearted probes by the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch into these mysteries. The investigators -- some of whom were Gates’s friends -- acted as if their goal was more to sweep incriminating evidence under the rug than to expose the facts to public scrutiny.
While giving Gates another pass might work for Official Washington, which always has had a soft spot for the polite mild-mannered Gates, it won't solve the potential for a problem if other countries have incriminating evidence about him. So, before the U.S. Senate waves Gates’s through -- as happened in 1991 when he was confirmed as CIA director -- it would make sense to resolve two issues in particular:
--Did Gates participate in secret and possibly illegal contacts with Iranian leaders from the 1980 election campaign through the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986?
--Did Gates oversee a clandestine pipeline of weapons and other military equipment to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq starting in 1982?
Gates has denied allegations linking him to these operations, but evidence that has emerged since 1991 has buttressed claims about Gates’s involvement. Other new documents, such as papers recovered from Iraqi government files after the U.S. invasion in 2003, also could shed light on the mysteries.
Teicher Affidavit
On the question of Gates and the Iraqi arms shipments, former National Security Council aide Howard Teicher swore out
an affidavit in 1995 detailing Gates’s secret role in shepherding military equipment via third countries to Iraq.
Teicher said the secret arming of Iraq was approved by President Ronald Reagan in June 1982 as part of a National Security Decision Directive. Under it, CIA Director William Casey and his then-deputy, Robert Gates, "authorized, approved and assisted" delivery of cluster bombs and other materiel to Iraq, Teicher said.
Teicher’s affidavit corroborated earlier public statements by former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe and Iranian-born businessman Richard Babayan, who claimed first-hand knowledge of Gates's central role in the secret Iraq operations.
In 1995, however, Teicher's affidavit embarrassed President Bill Clinton's Justice Department, which had just tried to dispose of the so-called Iraqgate scandal with a report that found no evidence to support allegations that the Reagan-Bush administration had illegally armed Saddam Hussein.
Clinton’s Justice Department apparently wanted to clear the decks of these complicated historical scandals from the Reagan-Bush years. Clinton found those old controversies a distraction from his goal of focusing on the nation’s domestic needs.
The Clinton administration's debunking report about Iraqgate had been so determined to see no evil that the Clinton lawyers didn’t even object to the discovery that the CIA had been hiding evidence from them.

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; a lesson is learned (hopefully) that stand up comedy is not for everyone; is England planning to withdraw troops from Iraq?; October becomes the deadliest month for Iraqis since the illegal war began;

Starting with news of war resisters within the US military. Yesterday,
Ehren Watada held a press conference, early in the morning. Possibly too early for the independent print publications or possibly it didn't make the New York Times so they had no heads up? Whatever the reason, Alex Massie (UK's Telgraph) did cover it and notes that Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq, intends to "fight with with everything I have for my freedom and that of all Americans. I will face imprisonment to stand up for my beliefs" which means "subpoena withnesses - including 'decision-makers' - whose testimony will . . . demonstrate the war's illegality."

Turning to news of another US war resister,
Agustin Aguayo, who had a day in court yesterday, even if he wasn't present for it. Leo Shane III (Stars and Stripes) reports that while Aguayo is held in "military confinement in Mannheim, Germany," his attorney, Peter Goldberger, told the judges of the US Court of Appeals in D.C. that Aguayo was wrongly denied c.o. status and not supplied a sound reason for the denials: "Enough is enough. This decision by the Army has been baseless and cruel. They've had two previous chances to recognize his status, and they've failed to give a reason for denying it twice."

Turning to news of war resister
Darrell Anderson who self-checked out of the military in January 2005 and turned himself in at Fort Knox on October 3, 2006. By the end of the week, he was released from military custody and it was announced he would not be charged. He continues to speak out and will be taking part in events next month.

Courage to Resist:

Military resisters, their families, veterans and concerned community members call for public action Dec. 8-10th!
It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women GI's who have in many different ways followed the their conscience, upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and stood up for their rights. Widespread public support and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights. We call for the following:1) Support for War Objectors 2) Protect the Right to Conscientious Objection 3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of GI's 4) Sanctuary for War Objectors. We urge you to join us December 8-10th for a weekend of action in supportof GI Resistance and GI Rights!

As part of those events, Darrell Anderson will be at the College of Marin on Friday, December 8th to speak at a screening of The Ground Truth. Also speaking will be Anita Anderson (or Anita Dennis to use her married name), Darrell's mother. This is one of a number of events
Courage to Resist and other organizations will be staging.

And we can't note Anderson without noting
Kyle Snyder who shared the same attorney and was supposed to share the same agreement. Synder self-checked out and moved to Canada after serving in Iraq. He returned to the United States last month and, on October 31st, turning himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. As Courage to Resist notes, "At the risk of arrest, he is speaking out bravely on behalf of war resisters and active duty GI's." They are asking that you: "Call Ft. Leonard Wood Fort Leonard Wood Office of the Commanding General Major General William McCoy, Jr., 573-596-0131 and the Public Affairs Office, 573-563-4013 email: -- Demand that the Army 'Discharge Kyle Snyder with No Punishment'."

Until resistance is covered, the illegal war continues. And the dead and wounded mount on all sides as the war continues.
CNN reports that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq has issued a new figure: 3,709. 3,709 is the figure of Iraqis killed during the month of October. The UNAMI found "that 7,054 civilians were violently killed, with no less than 4,984 in Baghdad alone, most of them as a result of gunshot wounds. Compared to the number of 6,599 killed in July and August reported by HRO [UN Human Rights Office] previously, it is evident that violence continued to claim an increasing number of victims. . . . During the period under review, the report points out that freedom of expression continued to be undermined, minorities continued to be adversely and directly affected, women's conditions continued to deteriorate, the targeting of professionals, such as journalists, teachers, professors, lawyers, doctors and other intellectuals, political, tribal and religious leaders, Government officials and members of the security forces continued unabated and that violence is impacting education, preventing many schools and universites from opening. According to the report, the deteriorating situtation in the country, coupled with increasing poverty, has generated unparalleled movements of IDPs [Internally Displaced People] in search of safety within and outside the country. In addition, the document indicates that the total number of detainees in Iraq as of 31 October stood at 29,256 (13,571 of which are in MNF I facilities), noting a decrease from 35,543 at the end of August."

And the violence and chaos continues. Among the reported events today . . .


Reuters notes that bombs continued to explode in Iraq: roadside bombs in Baghdad injured two polie officers,


CBS and AP report on the shooting death of Raad Jaafar Hamadi who worked "for the state-run al-Sabah newspaper in Baghdad . . . The slaying raised to at least 92 the number of journalists who have been killed in Iraq since the war began. Thirty-six other media employees -- including drivers, interpreters and guards -- also have been killed, all of them Iraqi except one Lebanese." Al Jazeera notes that he was shot by four people "travelling in a black BMW". Reuters notes the following gunfire incidents: Ahmed al-Allawi seriously wounded in an attack in Kerbala, a police officer shot dead in Falluja, and three police officers shot dead in Baquba. CNN notes the shooting deaths of two in Muqtadya (five more wounded).


Reuters notes that 14 corpses were discovered in Mosul, three near Ramadi, and the "police Major Basim Hasan al-Hasnawi" was discovered shot to death in Kerbala.

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, died of a non-battle injury in Salah ad Din Province Tuesday." Don't expect to read about it indymedia, the soldier probably couldn't have made them a playa so they have no time. Which was followed later by this announcement: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was killed and three others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle while they were conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province Tuesday." The two deaths bring the US troops fatality count to 49 for the month and to 2869 since the start of the illegal war. (If ICCC has not updated those numbers when this goes up, Monday we noted their count of 47 and 2867.)

Is there a change in the air? In England,
This Is London reports: "Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett this afternoon surprised MPs by signalling the countdown to a withdrawal from Iraq. She told the Commons that Basra, where the bulk of the UK's 7,200 personnel are stationed, could be handed over from British military control to Iraqi forces as early as next spring." Basra has been a violent area for British soldiers (and for Iraqis). Earlier this month, on England's Rememberance Sunday, four British troops were killed while on a boat patrol in Basra and three more were wounded. The four killed included Sharron Elliott who was "the second British female servicewoman to die in action." The other three were Jason Hylton, Ben Nowak, and Lee Hopkins. Mortar attacks have been common in Basra and, in August, a British soldier died as a result of wounds received from mortar rounds. In October, a British soldier died in Basra from road traffic. The end of October was also when the British consulate in Basra was evacuated after it was decided it was no longer safe after two months of mortar attacks. (In August, British troops 'evacuated' from their base in Amara due to repeated mortar attacks.)

Mark Tran (Guardian of London) reports that Dhi Qar and Muthanna have already been returned to Iraqi control and that "[m]ost UK troops are stationed in and around Basra". Tran also notes that General Richard Dannatt had earlier stated (and later dickered over the wording) the statement that England should leave Iraq "some time soon." Dekiva Bhat (Times of London) notes that Beckett expressed "confidence" about turning over another province, Maysan, "in January" which would leave Basra as the only area UK troops are currently responsible for patrolling. Bhat notes the opinion of the paper's Diplomatic Editor Richard Beeston: "The most likely forms of a withcrawal, Beeston said, would see British troops leaving Basra but remaining in the Shaiba logistics base, outside the city, where they would have armoured units and helicopters on stand-by should Iraqi forces need reinforcements. He added that it appeared that the US military was thinking in similar tones -- considering the possibility of handing over to Iraqi forces by withdrawing from bases but without completely leaving the country."

In which case, it wouldn't be a withdrawal at all. It would be more like a man who says he's going to pull out and doesn't.

Turning to news of long, public "deaths," some people shouldn't try to do stand up -- both because they aren't funny and because they can't handle hecklers. Yes, we're talking Poppy Bush. On Tuesday, Poppy Bush took his tired act to the United Arab Emirates and it wasn't pretty. Even the sure laugh getter of "
My son is a honest man" didn't turn out the way Poppy would have liked. While Poppy tried to command the stage, it was a female heckler, who stated: "We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," who got the crowd pumping. AP reports: "Bush appeared stunned as the auidence of young business leaders whooped and whistled in approval." Poppy Bush stated that the Bully Boy "is working hard for peace" a 'funny' that didn't help pull the audience to his side and even the laugh getter of "This is going to work out in Iraq" didn't turn him into Jon Stewart. Attacking the audience, Bully Boy began baiting them with "How come everybody wants to come to the United States if the United States is so bad?"

Possibly he was so weakened by that point causing even the hecklers to not notice the significant and obvious drop in attempted enrollments at US campuses? And apparently finally responding to the public fact that his family built their money not just on oil but also by collaborating with the Nazi war machine,
Poppy Bush stated: "To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy." Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell (Guardian of London) reported the following in 2004:

George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.

The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.

His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.

Let the record show that Poppy Bush has stated the drive wasn't just about money. Apparently that family also believed in 'causes.'

In news of a draft in the United States, which
US Rep. Charlie Rangel is advocating, Marc Sandalow (San Francisco Chronicle) notes that "Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this morning she does not support bringing back the military draft." Also weighing in against Rangel's proposal are Ron Jacobs (at Op-Ed News) and Mike (Mikey Likes It!).

Lastly, as
Danny Schechter News Dissector reminds today is the anniversary of the assassination of JFK (November 22, 1963). Danny notes Beyond JFK and refers to people to Globalvision for more info. Beyond JFK is a documentary he made while Oliver Stone's JFK was being filmed. He interviews various people who were there (including Robert MacNeil -- formerly of The NewsHour). If you rent or purchase the DVD special edition (two disc) of Oliver Stone's JFK, the documentary is included as a bonus disc. Jess notes a number of e-mails are asking about it.

In addition,on today's
KPFA's Guns and Butter (airs over the airwaves and online at 1:00 pm PST, 3:00 pm Central and 4:00 pm EST) Bonnie Faulkner offers the second half of her interview with John Judge on the topic of the JFK assassination. And Joan Mellen (who is still doing events on her book tour for Farewell to Justice) essay on the topic remains popular with members. (Book tour events include Mandeville, LA on Jan 16th and NYC Jan. 28th).

mikey likes it

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Judith Regan, Media Matters, Iraq

Tuesday, and if Judith Regan's face didn't scare you off, hang in a bit! :D The illustration goes with "Judith Regan: Trash merchant (still!)" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). What do you know, the trash merchant ended up with no special and no book. She was going to peddle O.J. Simpson's book, If I Did, and peddle him a two-part interview that Fox was going to air next week. Now both are gone.

She's part of the Murdoch empire and they seem to think that America will buy any trash that spew. I really think Fox, not just Fox "News," but Fox itself damages us. I can't stand any of their programs. I never cared for Married With Children which just seemed like 30 minutes of hatred. And all their programs try to scare you or make you hate. Every now and then there's an exception, but not very often. There animiated shows are a little better, but not much. I think they're more for adults because they certainly didn't reflect the world I grew up in. (When middle-aged writers write about their childhood, they need to grasp that the world has changed.)

So I think it's great that Murdoch's empire lost their most heavily promoted thing for this month.

I don't think it should have ever been aired. It wasn't news. It was a promotion for a book and when you're talking about someone who a lot of people (including me) think killed his wife (Nicole Simpson) and Ron Goldman, why are you promoting them?

Supposedly, O.J.'s money was going to his children. They can't work? They don't know how to work? A civil court found him liable for the deaths of Nicole and Ron. He doesn't need any money. He needs to pay what he owes. Once upon a time he did have money. There's no guarantee that he gets to keep it.

And does any kid want money coming from their father talking about how he would have killed his wife (their dead mother) if he was going to kill her?

It's tacky and trashy and it's Fox.

So I really was happy to hear that on the radio today.

Here's something else I found that made me happy, Media Matters' "NPR's Liasson touted McCain's 'maverick conservatism,' bipartisanship as 'what voters are looking for now,' ignoring voters' rejection of his view on Iraq:"

On the November 17 broadcast of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, national political correspondent Mara Liasson reported that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in two speeches a day earlier, had made "the implicit argument that his brand of maverick conservatism and his history of working across party lines is just what voters are looking for now." Liasson went on to assert that the outcome of the midterm elections -- particularly "the role of independent and moderate voters" -- "reinforces McCain's appeal as a general election candidate." But Liasson's report ignored one of the key differences between McCain and most voters -- his continued support for the Iraq war -- a difference that undermines her assertion that the election "reinforces McCain's appeal." Independent voters cited their opposition to the war as one of their top reasons for voting Democratic this year.
In a November 17 New York Times
article on the speeches, chief political reporter Adam Nagourney noted without challenge that McCain "used the talks to reiterate his position on Iraq, urging Washington not to take the wrong lesson from the election, and arguing that the way to success was through increased troop strength." Like Liasson, Nagourney failed to mention that exit polls from the midterms showed that a majority of American voters -- including most independents -- disagree with McCain's position on Iraq.

I don't like Liarson or Ad Nags or John McCain. So this whole thing was like a Christmas present to me! :D John McCain is too angry to be president. He's always angry. A lot of times when he's supposed to be funny, he just comes off mean. You get the feeling he wants you to go into the house so he can run down your dog or something.

He's the old crank on the street who yells at kids even when they're not making noise.

And he's an idiot on Iraq, yes. I don't like War Hawks. But put that to the side for a minute and you're left with the fact that he's the old guy screaming, "You kids keep it down!" If he wasn't in the Senate, he'd probably own the first house on the block to be t-peed each Halloween. I can see him opening the door and seeing the sack on fire and just stomping while cussing about those "damn kids."

He's too angry to ever be the person with the finger on the button (nukes).

Here's someone else I don't care for, Thom Hartman. We're supposed to love us some Thom Hartman if we're on the left and maybe I just keep coming across the wrong things by him, but I'm not feeling the love. This is his "Rangel and Jefferson Agree on a National Service Program:"

Many of the world's mature democracies require every high-school graduate to serve a year or two of either military or nonprofit service, as Congressman Charlie Rangel has proposed every year for some time now. At first blush, this may seem like an oppression by government, but history shows it's actually one of the best ways to prevent a military from becoming its own insular and dangerous subculture, to prevent the lower ranks of the military from being overwhelmed by people trying to escape poverty, and to keep military actions of the government accountable to the people.
The Founders of America extensively considered this same issue. Many were strongly against there ever being a standing army in America during times of peace, although they favored a navy to protect our shoreline borders, and today would no doubt favor an air force. The theory was that an army had too much potential for mischief, to oppress people, or even stage a military coup and take over an elected government (as recently happened in Pakistan and has happened in several other nations over the past century).
Thomas Jefferson first suggested that we not have a standing army, and wrote a series of letters in 1787, as the Constitution was being debated, urging James Madison and others to write it into the Constitution.

Eww! Thomas Jefferson and Charlie Rangel kind of had the same idea (they didn't). Who gives a crap? It didn't get implemented then. Americans didn't want it. So now we're supposed to be thinking, "People in this country need to serve!" (Rangel offers service other than military though, if you ask me, he's an idiot for thinking 'security jobs' won't get shipped over for a war. Ask people who joined the National Guard about that.) If people need to serve, then spread it out. There's a whole population. Get the retirees serving, get the working serving.

Oh, that doesn't fly? Of course not. We are not drones for the state. We're independent people. But Rangel and Hartman think they can push off some conscription the way Greece and Israel have. Screw that crap. If you're for it, go volunteer somewhere.

I'm not for it. I'm not for anyone being forced into doing anything. This is America. Sell that crap in a fascist state if you want. What is it, the old people's way of creating a temporary serf class? That's all it is. Benefitting from not paying people what they deserve.

We don't need a national service. Last time I checked, Bully Boy still wasn't Hitler. This isn't Nazi Germany. We do not live to serve the state.

Instead of worrying about how to get cheap labor, dickwads like Hartman and Rangel should shut their traps until they can figure out how to bring the jobs back to the United States. Bring the jobs back and people won't be struggling to pay for college. I don't struggle. I did but C.I. took care of it -- thank you, C.I. -- but if this country paid decent wages and had decent jobs, we wouldn't be in such trouble. "A Living Wage" is now the dream. We dream big, don't we! (That's sarcasm.) That's what Congress wants to do.

Meanwhile, people in their 20s and 30s work 40 hour weeks, at good jobs, and can't afford homes. Why is that? Well more of their money goes into Social Security. That's one reason. That was sold on the lie that Social Security would go bankrupt otherwise.

One of my brothers, who is married, "living wage" isn't going to do crap for him. He went to college, got a degree, works in a government job and makes semi-good money.

He doesn't see any of it. Something like 300 a month goes to insurance for him and his wife. He also has student loans. They got sold and resold and resold. They're all over the place. He thought he was paying on them. He missed one and that led to 10% of his check each pay day. He was told he couldn't consolidate due to that one loan. Then, two weeks ago, he finds out there's another one. All of these were loans he got through the student loan program. These weren't private loans. So this one shows up and they're going to take 15% out of every check for it. On top of the 10%. He's trying to figure out if human resources realized that before the okayed it. He can't get a straight answer.

But what happens now is 25% of his check is going to student loans. He's paying on other student loans each month. He hardly brings home anything. If they didn't both work, they wouldn't make it. Making it means an apartment.

Why don't Hartman and Rangel try addressing that reality.

Raising the minimum wage? That's not going to help him. He's already above it.

Most people working full time are spending a lot on insurance plans if they have insurance. If they don't, and something happens, it costs them a lot of money. When Tony's uncle lost his job in 2002, his kids couldn't even go to the dentist.

Why don't they stop trying to figure out how to create more cheap labor, Rangel and Hartman, and start trying to figure out how to provide real wages and how to provide universal health care? Why don't they look into exactly how much can be taken out of a pay check? Capping it at ten percent?

There are only 2 reasons to withhold from a pay check in my opinion. IRS is one. I'm not thrilled about it but if the government wants to hold you for money you owe the IRS, well, they've garnished forever. So fine, let them keep it up. The other reason is child support. You have a child, you should have to pay to support it. Those are the only reasons.

Not student loans. Do you know that even if you declare bankruptcy (which is now even harder but Democrats won't fix that either), you can't wipe out student loans?

"Oh, this will eliminate the need for it!" No, it won't. That's crap. The only thing that eliminated it for me was having a friend who took care of it for me. (Again, thank you, to C.I. I said thank you for that here last year and meant it -- and C.I. wished I hadn't noted it. I'll say it again because hearing what my brother's having to put up with now really makes me appreciate it even more. And believe me, I was already appreciating it. Oh! Back in September, Jim asked me if I ever did a thank you on that to squeeze in a thank you from them -- Jim, Dona, Ty and Jess -- because they just have to worry about tuition and books now since they're all living with C.I. All of the parents offered and C.I. said "Don't be silly." So Jim said if I ever noted that again, please to put in that "food and lodging aren't bills we have to pay anymore." I can get away with noting it. I'll just hear, "Mike, please don't put that up, it makes me uncomfortable." :D Me and Wally get away with murder! :D And we know it!)

That's it for me tonight. Go check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Syria, Iraq and, yes, Iran prepare for a weekend summit; US war resister Agustin Aguayo's case lands in court; a new poll finds Shia and Sunnis in Iraq agreeing: US troops out of their country; and Kofi Annan sings a little Jimmy Cliff.

Starting with Agustin Aguayo. On September 2nd, Aguayo self-checked out of the US military after his repeated attempts to obtain conscientious objector status failed (2004), after his attempts to address the matter in the US federal courts failed (August 24, 2006) and while he was about to be sent back to Iraq. While serving in Iraq, as a medic, previously, Aguayo was confronted with the realities and
decided that, due to moral and religious reasons, he could not serve in the illegal war. Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, explained to Mimi Mohammed (Los Angelest Times): "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 conscientisouly. He is a conscientious objector, but the Army forced him to become a resister." On September 26th, less than thirty days after self-checking out, Aguayo turned himself at Fort Irwin. Though Fort Irwin is in California, Aguayo's wife and two daughters were not allowed to see him and the military quickly sent him back overseas to Germany.

On yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News, Aaron Glantz reported on Aguayo's case which landed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. -- the first "for a federal court since 1971." Glantz spoke with Vietnam war resister and author David Cortright (Soldiers in Revolt: The American Military Today) and Cortright noted the similarities between then and now: the "transferring . . . to other bases" and the fact that such transfers put them in contact with "other soldiers who were opposed".

Kevin Dougherty (Stars and Stripes) reported that the court schedule for today would "considst of just oral arguments. Each side has been alotted 15 minutes to articulate their case." Today, Glantz reports (at OneWorld) on the above and notes Aguayo's beliefs: "By doing guard duty, appearing to be armed, even without bullets, I gave the false impression that I would kill if need be. I am not willing to live a lie to satisfy any deployment operation. By helping countless soldiers for 'sick-call' as well as driving soldiers around on patrols I helped them get physcially better and be able to go out and do the very thing I am against -- kill. This is something my conscience will not allow me to do."

Matt Apuzzo (AP) reports: "Judge A. Raymond Randolph, one of the three judges on the case, said he'd been reading up on the Vietnam appeals and asked how the case differs from those filed decades ago by people who realized their opposition to war only after receiving a draft card. Attorney Peter Goldberger said the Aguayo's beliefs evolved over time and 'crystalized' to the point that he could no longer take a life." Joel Seidman (NBC News) notes that "Aguayo has unsuccessfully fought the Pentagon for more than two years to be declared a conscientious objector and win a discharge."

In his court statement, Agustin notes: "And even if I truly had non-combatant status, I have been to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and I know what to expect. I know what will be expected of me. And because of this first-hand knowledge, I simply cannot take part in this deployment. Some people might think that a fear of death is the number one reason for refusing to deploy. But that is not correct. I have to be true to myself and do what is right. Even though I deployed as a non-combatant in 2004-05 I still carry guilt from my participation . . . When you know better you do better. Therefore, this time I will not deploy. My conscientious objection applies to all forms and aspects of war. . . I have come to believe and understand that the purpose of our existence on earth is to value, cherish and conserve the miracle that is human life. To do so one must show each and every day through actions that nothing is of greater importance than the conservation of life. . . . I have made my choice for peace, for humanity, and for a better tomorrow. Even though I understand that one of the consequences of refusing to deploy may possibly be a trial by court-martial and even my imprisonment, I cannot and will not deploy."


CNN reports: "A decoy vehicle used in a convoy of the Iraqi parlaiment speaker exploded Tuesday inside the heavily fortified Green Zone while parliament was in session, a parliament information officer said. The vehicle, part of Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani's convoy, was damaged when explosives placed under the rear right side of it exploded in a parking lot, the officer said. One of the drivers was slightly wounded."

Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Baghdad that left nine wounded and a car bomb in Baghdad that took one life and left six wounded.

A US raid in the Sadr City section of Baghdad resulted in deaths.
Xinhua notes this was the third day in a row that US and Iraqi forces had "raided the Shiite slum". An early AP report by Thomas Wagner cited Mohammed Ismail ("Police Capt.") who "said a young boy and two other people were killed in the early morning raid and 15 people were wounded. Several houses were damaged." The US military has claimed that they are after a "cell [which] has more than 30 members" which apparently includes the young boy? CNN notes that "a mother and her 8-month-old child" were also killed and puts the wounded at 18.
Bassem Mroue (AP) reports that Shi'ite legislator Saleh al-Ukailli held "the body of the dead child* outside the hospital morgue and angrily condemned Iraq's government for allowing such attacks" while vowing not to "return to parliament until the occupation troops leave the country." [*When this was Thomas Wagner's article, it made sense. If you use the link, a whole chunk of it is gone. Including the paragraph that was before, the one on Mohammed Ismail.]


Reuters notes the shooting death of a police officer in Hawija, the shooting death of of another police officer in Mosul, and the shooting death of "Ali al-Shimari, the mayor of the town of Hibhib, near Baquba".


CBS and AP report that 24 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and Dujail.

Reuters reports that the International Organisation for Migration has found (no surprise) that the at risk groups in Iraq of being left homeless and hungry are : "[s]ingle women, children and the old and sick" with "children . . . especially vulnerable to malnutrition and spread of disease." The United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that "at least 1.6 million Iraqis" are now displaced within Iraq.

This comes as the
United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reports: "Heavy rains, thunderstorms and enormous mudlsides in Iraq's northern Kurdish region have submerged vast areas and made nearly 3,000 families homeless, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said on Tuesday."

For all the above and so much more, it should come as little surprise that the Iraqi people still want US forces out of their country.
Editor & Publisher notes the latest polling which "found that 74% of Shiites and 91$ of Sunnis in Iraq want us to leave within a year. The number of Shiites making this call in Baghdad where the U.S. may send more troops to bring order, is even higher (80%). In contrast, earlier this year, 57% of this same group backed an 'open-ended' U.S. stay." Of course, "earlier this year," was prior to the 'crackdown' that only increased the chaos and violence in Baghdad. From World Public Opinion's poll summary: "An analysis of two nationwide polls taken by World Public in Iraq over the past year reveals both a heightened sense of insecurity in Baghdad, which is suffering from a wave of shootings, kidnappings and bombings, and an increasing desire to place some time limit on the presence of foreign troops. Unlike Shias elsewhere, those living in the capital do not favor disarming the militias. Eight out of ten Shias in Baghdad (80%) say they want foreign forces to leave within a year (72% of Shias in the rest of the country), according to a poll conducted by World Public Opinion in September. None of the Shias polled in Baghdad want U.S.-led troops to be reduced only 'as the security situation improves,' a sharp decline from January, when 57 percent of the Shias polled by WPO in the capital city preferred an open-ended U.S presence."

Meanwhile, a summit is expected for this weekend. As
CNN notes, "Syria cut diplomatic ties with Iraq in 1982." They have restored ties and an summit is scheduled this weekend, in Tehran, for leadership from Iraq, Syria and Iran. CBS and AP note Hoshyar Zebari (Foreign Minister of Iraq) declared, "Iraq's flag will fly in the sky of Damascus and Syria's flag will fly in the sky of Baghdad." Jonathan Steele (Guardian of London) reports that Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will meet with Bashar al-Assad (president of Syria) and Jalal Talabani (president of Iraq).

At the start of the month, puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki, demonstrated that there was no freedom of the press (one of the points in the four-point 'plan' that the media avoided covering) by shutting down two television stations. As Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) reported, the crimes of Salahiddin and Zarwra was "showing the pro-Saddam demonstrations." And how's that working out for the puppet? Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the latter is back on air, in spite of al-Maliki: "Al-Zawraa's ability to broadcast round the clock in defiance of the government is yet another example of the increasing technological prowess of insurgents and their supporters." Now beamed in from Egypt, Mishaan al-Jubouri tells Allam, "When we were broadcasting in public from inside Iraq, we had to respect Iraqi law. But when the Iraqi government broke the law and closed the channel for no legitimate reason, they turned us into a channel that broadcasts in secrecy."

So the puppet can't improve things. Can anyone?

Seems like I've

been sleeping in

your bed too


Seems like you've

been meaning to

do me harm

But I'll teach my

eyes to see

Beyond these

walls in front of


Someday I'll walk

out of here again

Someday I'll walk

out of here again


Ooh yeah


Ooh Yeah


Ooh Yeah


Ooh Yeah

Who knew Kofi Annan (UN Secretary General) was a Jimmy Cliff fan? He might as well have been singing Jimmy Cliff's song when asked today what he thought of Tony Blair's agreement to the description of "disaster" applied to Iraq?

Kofi Annan: The US in a way is trapped in Iraq, trapped in the sense that it cannot stay and it cannot leave. There are those who maintain that its presence is a problem, and there are those who say that if they leave precipitously, the situation would get worse, and that they should stay on to help calm and stabilize the situation before they leave. I think the US obviously will have to think through this very, very carefully, but the timing of its departure will have to be optimal in the sense that it should not lead to further deterioration of the situation but try and get it into a level that when it leaves, when it withdraws, the Iraqis themselves will be able to continue to maintain a situation that would ensure a reasonable secure environment.

Meanwhile, in legal news from the United States, the
Pendleton Eight is now four-to-four. The eight (one sailor, seven marines) are accused in the April 26th death of Iraqi Hashim Ibrhaim Awad in Hamdania. They are alleged to have kidnapped him from his home (when, supposedly, they couldn't find the person they -- not the military, they -- were after), killing him and then attempting to paint the grandfather as an "insurgent." AP reports that Jerry E. Shumate Jr. "has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges . . . of aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice". Mark Walker (North County Times) notes that the other three to plead guilty Tyler Jackson, John Jodka III and Melson Bacos. The remaining four are Lawrence G. Hutchins III, Trent D. Thomas and Marshall L. Magincalda.

Also in the US,
Eric Lichtblau and Mark Mazzetti (New York Times) report on "an anti-terrorist database used by the Defense Department" that was used to track and spy on peace "meetings held at churches, libraries, college campuses and other locations".
Mike noted yesterday (Mikey Likes It!), WBAI's Law and Disorder is doing a four-part series on the police state and, in the most recent installment, they spoke with Konstanty Hordynski of Students Against the War (UC Santa Cruz) whose group was among those spied on by the government. The illegal spying hasn't stopped others from speaking out against the war (or stopped Hordynski or Students Against the War). David H. Price (CounterPunch) reports on the most recent group to approve "resolutions condemning the occupation of Iraq and the use of torture": the American Anthropological Association.

As the calls for the war to end increase all over the world, the dangerous at any location, Bully Boy was in Hawaii today.
CNN notes that "three poplice motorcycles excorting his motorcade crashed on slick pavement and rolled onto a grassy median" -- one is in serious condition, one in stable condition and no word on the third. Wait, there's more. AP reports that Greg Pitts ("acting director of the White House Travel Office") left Bobby G's Dance Club (Waikiki) at two a.m. (just when the Tru Rebels were winding down) and "was robbed and beaten". Dawg House and Coconut Willie's are so close by. But they do have the Monday night jello shots for a buck.

Turning to news of passings. The
BBC reports on the funeral for Walid Hassan, sketch comedy star of the Iraqi TV show Caricature, who was shot dead Monday in Baghdad: "Mr Hassan's coffin was tied to the top of a taxi for the 160km (100 mile) journey from Baghdad to the Shia holy city of Najaf." Meanwhile director Robert Altman (Nashville, M*A*S*H, Short Cuts, The Player, Gosford Park, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, and more) passed away Monday. The 81-year-old Altman was a vocal opponent of the illegal war singing on to the Not In Our Name petition in the fall of 2002 and continuing to speak his mind including while up for an Oscar (Best Director) for Gosford Park in 2003 when he stated "This present government in America I just find disgusting, the idea that George Bush could run a baseball team successfully -- he can't even speak!"

agustin aguayo
the los angeles times
mima mohammed
aaron glantz
the kpfa evening news
law and disorder
mikey likes it

Monday, November 20, 2006

Law and Disorder, Abeer, Third Estate Sunday Review and more

Monday, Monday and I got topics and then some. But first I need to do some thank yous. First,
Jim, thank you for filling in for me Friday with "A talking post by Jim (Third Estate Sunday Review)." Great post, make sure you check it out if you missed it. That and Ty, Jess and Ava filling in for Elaine with "Ty, Jess and Ava filling in for Elaine" (great post too) Elaine and I were able to have a really good weekend. We didn't ask them to help and I didn't know that was happening. So thank you, it was a nice weekend off and Casino Royale is a must see!!! If I weren't blogging tonight, I'd be back seeing it again. Tony and me are going to go see it Tuesday. It'll be his first time and he was all, "Are you sure?" and I was all, "Oh yeah!" It's really a great Bond movie. Forget Pierce Brosnan if you haven't already. He's old news and he was dragging the Bond movies down. This is the new Bond. Daniel Craig is James Bond. You don't think, "Oh, look at that funny thing Brosnan just did." You see James Bond these days, no winking to the camera. The stunts? OMG. Seriously, if you ever liked a James Bond movie, you gotta see Casino Royal.

Now the illustration. Let me talk about The Third Estate Sunday Review's latest new stuff:

Justice for Abeer and her family? is what the illustration goes with. They've got three illustrations with this and when they e-mailed them to Rebecca (she puts them through photoshop -- she added the red frame to them and that's all for this set). Rebecca opened them and hollered to us to come and look. What your corporate (and independent) media don't want to address, the gang did. Those illustrations are great. I went with this one but I know others are going to pick other ones. I'll probably highlight the other two as well during this week. Am I blogging Thursday? Yeah. It'll either be early or late. We all helped with the text on this and I think it's great. Be sure to check it out and remember, no more "alleged" to the rape and murder of Abeer.

Editorial: Signs of activism life on campuses -- I did not help with this but I wish I could have. There were problems and we also talked a lot because Kat's back from Ireland. Another problem were the illustrations. On this post and on their features, give it a week and the illustrations will show up in full. This is a technical problem and it fixes itself. The editorial, you'll love it.

TV: Day Break -- I didn't see the show. I wish I had. This sounds like it's good and my second oldest brother swears it is. I also enjoy it when Ava and C.I. take on the Water Cooler Set. :D (Oh, when Jim filled in and wrote something like: "To quote Mike, ':D'" I laughed so hard at that. I like my smiley faces.)

Music retrospective: Stevie Nicks -- this is going to have an addition tonight. This was probably the nightmare feature. We worked forever on the Abeer story. It seemed like we worked forever on this one too. Some readers who loved the Tina Turner retrospective wished they'd had some trivia in it. On this one, we were picking C.I.'s brain. :D There was more trivia than you can imagine. There was also a lot more to this thing. Ava and C.I. took notes as usual. Ty volunteered to type the thing up and he couldn't believe how long it was. Dona edited it while the rest of the gang did the short entries. This could have probably been a book. She had to edit out a lot of stuff. It ended only because Dona noted it was three hours since it had been started. That was three hours of working on it, not three hours of talking about other stuff. Dona worked really hard. I also love the illustration they did for it. If you look at Stevie Nicks' Rock A Little CD, you can see where they got the idea to draw her that way. But since she looks in mid-spin and since she's mystical, they painted it so that there's this thing around her. Check it out. And I don't know when tonight they're adding the new stuff but check Tuesday morning for sure.

Mommy's Pantyhose wants to be a tough boy -- Mommy's Pantyhose. What a joke he is. I love, love this illustration. When the full image shows up, you will too. :D

Judith Regan: Trash merchant (still!) -- Great illustration! This was a quick feature that we spent more time cutting down to a short entry than writing.

Happy Birthday -- I'm not sure what to say here. I worked on it and I like it. But there's a back story here and I think Jim will want to tell it. So I'll let him do it. (They're doing the note tonight.)

Playlist this edition -- the playlist of what was listened to.

Highlights -- since they can't e-mail to the site, they have to do it this way. There isn't time to copy and past and then do all the spacing. With the illustrations they do now, it adds even more time needed for each illustration.

Where's the content! -- the note saying content was coming be patient.

Now let me just note Dave Lindorff's "Why the Democrats Should Cut Loose Lieberman:"

If the Democratic Party were a real opposition party--a party of principle filled with fighters--I'd say maintaining control of the Senate, even with by a margin of a single, fragile vote, would be important and valuable.
But that's not what we have.
The Democratic Party, particularly the actual elected congressional delegation and the leadership of the party in the two houses, is so washed out, so gutless, so calculating, and so self-serving, that it hardly rates as a second party.
Because of this, the role of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, recently re-elected by the voters of Connecticut while running as an independent after losing his own party's nomination to an upstart anti-war candidate, Ned Lamont, is dangerous in the extreme.
Lieberman, who won re-election by stealing the votes of Connecticut's Republicans from the GOP's official candidate (Lieberman only won about a third of the Democratic vote), has been a closet Republican for years. He was a Republican in all but name when he ran as Al Gore's vice presidential partner in 2000, and since helping that campaign go down in flames has been one of George Bush's most stalwart supporters in Congress.

There's more and I agree with it. Lieberman should be dumped. He's not going to help anybody but Lieberman and he's going to try to use that "I'll switch" over and over to get his way.

Another illustration? Hell yeah! :D

It's "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Requiem for a War Hawk'" and I think it's hilarious! :D Notice how Dick Cheney seems to be forcing the top down to keep Donald Rumsfled inside. :D Bully Boy's reaching for help -- meaning a way out of the blame -- I think that's why Isaiah's emphasized Bully Boy's hands. I love the Bully Boy look, by the way. Isaiah always has him in a yellow cowboy hat. Yellow. :D And the bicycle shorts and bulging belly are also funny.

Now let's talk about WBAI's Law and Disorder which I heard on the radio because I went into NYC today with my brother (the one who loves Day Break). We left early this morning, way early. We were Christmas shopping and that's all I'll say because his wife might read this! :D He had the day off and asked me about going in with him last week. I was able to get the day off too (and cut classes) so that was a pretty fun day.

The show has four hosts, in case you haven't listened before, and they are Michael Smith who is an attorney like all of them and belongs to all the groups I'm about to list with the others,
Heidi Boghosian (National Lawyers Guild), Dalia Hashad (Amnesty International) and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights). This was part III of the four-part series that they're doing on how the country's turning into a police state.

You need to think about what's going on. I'll get to why in a bit, but you really need to be thinking about it. Today was about the way the government has gone after activists and lawyers. (All four hosts are lawyers.)

My brother and I were talking about all of that during the show and probably missed some stuff! :D He loves it. When Ruth started talking about it in her reports, he started listening. He didn't even know about WBAI (and he can hear it at work over the radio) so Ruth can claim a victory with him. :D

Michael J. Steinberg was a guest and he talked about how the Michigan ACLU took the illegal NSA spying to court and won. This was the case that they just trashed the judge for, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor. And "they" was not just the right wing, it also included the mainstream media. In fact, when that case was decided, another one was. I remember C.I. writing about that, hold on. Here it is "NYT: Lost in the 'crackdown'" -- a Reagan appointee issues a decision that protects the contractors and rips off the tax payers but no one gets too upset.

There were a lot of good points but I enjoyed the stuff after the interview with the guest. That's when Michael Smith offered his opinion (I agreed with him) that this stuff is not going away. People really need to be outraged about the spying for that to happen. But, like they pointed out, while people were objecting to the Patriot Act (like they should), Bully Boy was doing this illegal spying. Michael Ratner talked about how they'd do it mechanical, without humans, with a program to pick out e-mails and stuff based on words like "Michael Ratner" and "Dalia Hashad" and then Dalia goes that he's going to scare people from writing them. Dalia also talked in this part about how a woman spoke to her about spying -- about her employer storing all e-mails (even deleted ones) for two years. That's bad but, like Dalia pointed out, she really doesn't get how much spying is going on. Someone, I think Dalia, said that people don't want to believe that the government is spying on them. I think she's right.

If you're new to this and thinking -- government spying? You need to read C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy."

They also had Steven Wax on and he represented Brandon Mayfield who is the attorney that the government attempted to frame for terrorism in Italy even though the finger prints didn't match and he was not in Italy. They tried to drag him in to the Madrid bombing and he was innocent. They even searched his kid's computer and pulled off an essay the kid did for his middle school class about the Iraq war.

Then they had on Konstanty Hordynski and I missed a lot of this! :D Sorry, I heard him speak when I was out visiting C.I. and I was filling in my brother on this. He is with University of California at Santa Cruz's Students Against War who were spied on by the Pentagon!

Legally voicing your opposition to the war can get you illegally spied on. Using your Constitutionally protected free speech is a 'threat' to the government. This is a perfect example of how we are becoming a police state. And they weren't the only group spied on. The Pentagon also spied on Quakers.

Now Michael Ratner also talked, at the beginning of the show, about Donald the Rumsfled and how he was tossed to try to save Bully Boy's image. But how the CCR lawsuit means Rumsfled is now associated with torture from now until the end of time. He's a war criminal, lock him up.

I think that's all of it but we did find a parking space real quick so I may have missed something.
If you missed it, you can listen online at Law and Disorder or WBAI which does archives of the programs they air. Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, November 20, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Ehren Watada's court-martial gets a start date, talk of returning to a draft in the United States, the US military announces more deaths, Bully Boy finds that he's as unpopular in in Indonesia as he is elsewhere, a new military review quickly dispenses any hopes of the illegal war coming to an end, and the November death toll for Iraqis has already surpassed October's toll.
Starting with US war resister
Ehren Watada. In June, Lt. Watada went public with his decision to refuse to deploy to Iraq thereby becoming the first commissioned officer to publicly say no to the illegal war. In August, an Article 32 hearing was held. The US military announced August 24th that the recommandation by the hearing's presiding officer, Lt. Colonel Mark Keith, was to court-martial Watada. Thursday, November 9th, as noted on that day's broadcast of The KPFA Evening News, the Army announced it would court-martial Watada. As Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reported then, no date had been set but Eric Seitz, the civilian attorney representing Watada, expected the court-martial would be held in 2007. Today, Robert Shikina (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports "that Watada's pretrial hering is set for Jan. 4, with the court-martial beginning Feb. 5."
Sunday, the Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter, held an symposium
at the University of Hawaii on Watada's decision to refuse to fight in an illegal war. Bob Watada, father of Ehrne, Jon Van Dyke (of the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law) and attorney Eric Seitz.
Robert Shikina reports that letter from Carolyn Ho, Ehren's mother, was read to those attending: "For some elected officials to claim that this is beyond their purview and Lt. Watada is courageous but should take the consequences for his decision is an outright evasion of responsibility and lack of moral courage." On the same event, Derrick DePledge (Honolulu Advertiser) reports: "Van Dyke and Seitz say the war is illegal under United Nations charter and that Watada was right not to deploy on moral grounds. The U.S., in its justification for war, alleged that Iraq had failed to comply with U. N. disarmament resolutions. The U.S. and its allies discussed a new resolution on the war with the other nations on the U.N. Security Council, but when diplomacy stalled, determined that a new resolution was not required before the 2003 invasion. 'This war cannot be justified -- logically or factually or legally,' Seitz said." Shikina notes 83-year-old John Masunaga's impressions: "'Ehren's standing up for something we all should have stood up for,' he said, noting the internment of Japanese Americans. 'The Time World War II started, we were trying to prove ourselves good loyal citizens. Sometimes you have to speak up and try to right some of the wrongs."
At the gathering, Seitz spoke of the efforts to silence Watada.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9 a.m., Ehren Watada will be participating in a "Tele-news Call" along with Seitz and Bob Watada. More information can be found here. As The Honolulu Advertiser notes, Ehren Watada could be sentenced to up to six years if convicted in the court martial -- six years in a military prison.
Watada is part of a growing resistance to the war within the military. Along with Watada, others standing up publicly include Joshua Key, Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Joshua Casteel, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. And those are only some of the names of those resisting who have gone public. In addition, over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized. It is a movement regardless of how it is covered (or, more often, not covered) and regardless of what the likes of
Mommy's Pantyhose may think.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Soldier Say No! and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress in January (on MLK day). One of those organizing Appeal to Redress, Jonathan Hutto, was interviewed by John Catalinotto (Workers World) and explained, noting the MLK memorial, "I am moved by this, by King taking a place where there are memorials to Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. Theirs were dedicated to presidents. King's is dedicated to justice and peace. That's the vein in which we want to present this appeal."
In Iraq the violence and the chaos continues.
Reuters reports a car bomb in Ramadi that took two lives (plus the occupant of the car) and left six wounded, three more were wounded in Ramadi from a mortar round, in Mosul three Iraqi soliders were killed and four wounded from a car bomb, a roadside bomb in Iskandariya killed two, a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed three (five more wounded), and a second roadside bomb in Baghdad resulted in no known deaths but left two wounded.
Xinhua reports that two professors were shot dead: Ahmed Hamid al-Taie of the Mosul University (killed in Mosul) and Fulayeh al-Ghurabi of the Babil University (killed in Babil).
Over 155 educators have been targeted in killed in Iraq since the illegal war began.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) reported on recent attacks and spoke with "an administration manager of a large university in Baghdad" who told them: "Iraqi universities have turned into militia and death squad headquarters. . . Pictures of clerics and sectarian flags all over are not the only problem, but there is the interference of clerics and their followers in everything [and that clerics can] sack teachers and students, forbid certain texts, impose certain uniforms and ever arrest and kill those who belong to other sects or those who object to their behavior."
In other shootings,
AFP notes that Baquba was the location for where a police officer was shot dead in front of his house, where another police officer "and his personal driver" were shot dead, where "[s]ix civilians were killed in random gunfire" and where an attack on a police patrol resulted in one death and three injured. CBS and AP report that Walid Hassan was shot to death in Baghdad: "a famous comedian on al-Sharquiya TV . . . had performed in a comedy series called 'Caricature,' which mocked coalition forces and the Iraqi government since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq." Reuters notes that he was shot three times in the head.
Reuters reports that sixty corpses were found in Baghdad, eight in Tikrit and fourteen "south of Baghdad."
AFP reports that, yesterday in Baghdad, "a health official" was abducted and that the kidnapping was confirmed today. BBC notes that it is Ammar Al-Saffar who is Iraq's Deputy Health Minister and: "The Iraqi police say several vehicles pulled up outside Mr Al-Saffar's house in a Sunni neighbourhood of northern Baghdad. Eyewitnesses say they were a mixture of pick-up trucks and police cars. Mr Al-Saffar was taken away by six men wearing military uniforms and three men in suits." Al Jazeera notes that Hakim al-Zamily was targeted (al-Zalimy is also a deputy health minister) and reports he stated: "We as health officials have become a target."
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Alieen Alfandary noted that there have been more than 100 Iraqi deaths since Sunday morning and that toll for November (1370) thus far has already surpassed October's toll (1,216).
US military announced this morning "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Sunday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province" and they announced "A Soldier from 89th Military Police Brigade was killed by injuries sustained when his vehicle struck an Improvised Explosive Device southeastern Baghdad at approximately 8 p.m. Nov. 18."
In Bogor, Indonesia, the
BBC reports, Bully Boy's photo op with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the greeting was "[h]undreds of protestors" voicing their objection the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and carrying wanted posters of the Bully Boy. The day prior, similar protests took place in Jakarta. Alexandre Da Silva (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that Bully Boy's next stop is Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii this evening and "Motorists are warned to avoid any side roads near Hickam and Camp Smith 6 [p.m.] and 8 a.m. tomorrow because of possible delays from road closures".
In other peace news,
Karen Dolan (via The Black Agenda Report) reports on the Cities for Peace success in this month's elections where "162 communities in Wisconsin, Illionis and Massachusetts voted on ballot measures calling for the U.S. to end the Iraq war. In every one of those communities, the measures swept to victory."
That option, ending the war, was considered and dismissed by the Pentagon.
Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reports that the Pentagon has a "closley guarded review" with "three basic options: Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out". Ricks notes that 'send more' option isn't an option "the study group . . . concluded that there are not enough troops in the U.S. military and not enough effective Iraqi forces".
Flashback to November 16th:
The total number of US troops in Iraq?
According to CBS' David Martin, not enough and never will be based upon John Abizaid's remarks to the Senate yesterday "But when you look at the overall American force poll that's available out there, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps." Let that sink in. According to Abizaid, a War Hawk who never met a battlefield he didn't go weak-kneed over, there are not enough available foot soldiers in the US army or members of the Marines to do what Abizaid feels needs to be done in Iraq.
Ricks reports the group favors an approach which "calls for cutting the U.S. combat presence in favor of a long-term expansion of the training and advisory efforts. Under this mixture of options, which is gaining favor inside the military, the U.S. presence in Iraq, currently about 140,000 troops, would be boosted by 20,000 to 30,000 for a short period, the officials said."
And the withdrawal option? Off the table. As
Reuters notes, "Mr Bush has adamantly opposed setting a specific timetable for withdrawal" or, one could safely note, withdrawal at all since he's bragged that US troops would still be in Iraq after he was out of the White House.
Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that Walid al-Moallem, Syria's foreign minister, stated "Sunday that his government was prepared to help stabilize Iraq, and uring a visit . . . [in Iraq] called for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, saying that it would help reduce the violence." As the BBC notes, "Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, recently urged US President Georg W Bush to involve Iraq's neighbours, Syria and Iran, in an effort to stabilise the country."
Blair made headlines this weekend as a result of an interview with David Frost for Al Jazeera TV.
Tim Shipman (Daily Mail) reported: "Challenged by veteran interviewer Sir David Frost that the Western invasion of Iraq has 'so far been pretty much of a disaster,' Mr. Blair said: 'It has'." Despite that admission, Blair doesn't believe in withdrawal. Philip Webster (Times of London) notes the admission and ties it with British MP and Blair ally Margaret Hodge's statements last week. As the Guardian of London noted last week, Hodge stated the illegal war was Tony Blair's "big mistake in foreign affairs" that it was exporting "moral imperialism".
From the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sunday, John Howard, who holds the position of prime minister in Australia and also fills in as "joke of the country" just for kicks, weighed in.
Reuters reports that Howard does not agree it's been a "disaster," "tougher," but not a "disaster." Reuters notes that the "tougher" no "disaster" call by Howard came "on a day [Sunday] in which 50 people have been killed in attacks across Iraq." Tougher, says Howard, not a disaster.
He might consider speaking to person Ali Jasim did.
Jasim (Reuters) reports on Abd al-Sattar Obeid who states, "I'm alone now. I have no sons. . . . Yesterday there was a mourning procession for my son and my brother and his two songs who were killed 40 days ago. In the evening, during the rites, some gunmen arrived, about 20 of them. They didn't bother to mask their faces. They were carrying Kalashnikovs and pistols. I begged them. I told them: 'Please don't kill anyone. We have done nothing. What have we done to deserve this?' But they didn't listen to me. They killed my two other sons and ran."
"Tougher" says John Howard, not "disaster."
Meanwhile, in the United States,
AP reports that War Hawk/War Criminal Henry Kissinger has stated (on the BBC) of the illegal war, "If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose write runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that's possible." For any who fell alseep, Kissinger said "no" to military victory in Iraq. Australia's ABC reports that Kissinger "says it is now time to start talking to Iran and Syria to find a way out of Iraq."
Does it feel like we just went in a circle? Back to Iraq and Syria, the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, and the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem are meeting and, as
Xinhua reports, "discussing a range of issues" And Reuters reports that Iraq's president, Jabal Talabani, is due in Tehran to meet with Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this weekend. Though Reuters says there's no word on Syria being included, Al Jazeera reports that Syria's president has been invited and quotes Ali al-Adeeb ("legistlator from the governing Dawa party of Nuri al-Maliki") as saying: "All three countries intend to hold a three-way summit among Iraq, Iran and Syria to discuss the security situation and the repercussions for stability of the region." CNN also reports that the upcoming summit is expected to include Syria.
In US Congressional news,
Charles Bibington (Washington Post) reports that Republican Senator John McCain wants "more U.S. troops in Iraq," while Democratic Senator Carl Levin believes "troop withdrawals must begin within four to six months," and Democratic House Rep. Charles Rangel is calling for a return of the draft and told Face the Nation Sunday, "I will be introducing that bill as soon as we start the new session." On CBS' Face the Nation, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham rejected such a notion but stated "I am willing to send more American troops". Rangel, as host Bob Schieffer pointed out, will chair the House Ways and Means Committee in January. Schieffer asked Rangel, noting that he had called for it before, if he was serious about bringing back the draft?

Rangel: You bet your life, underscore serious. There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft. And if members of Congress and the administration thought their kids from their communties would be placed in harm's way. . . . I will be introducing that bill as soon as we start the new session.

Schieffer: You will, you will introduce that bill?

Rangel: You can depend on that. I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft. To do so would be hypocritical.

AP notes that the incoming (in Jan.) House Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, knows nothing about the draft proposal and would not support it according to incoming (in Jan.) House Majority Leader, Democrat Steny Hoyer.
Finally, on the topic of 'friendly fire,'
on October 6th, an inquest was underway in London into the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd in Iraq with witness Nicholas Walshe testifying to seeing Lloyd "shot in the head by US troops as he was driven away from a gunfight." Walshe was only one of many witnesses. No US troops participated. The coroner, Andrew Alker, ruled on October 13th that "Terry Lloyd died following a gunshot wound to the head. The evidence this bullet was fired by the Americans is overwhelming" (CNN). Terry Lloyd's daughter Chelsey was quoted by CNN stating: "They did not come to this inquist to explain their actions. Let them do so in our criminal courts where they are guaranteed to get a fair trial." David Johnson is the deputy US ambassador to England. He is apparently overtaxed and heavily burdened. All the above was over a month ago. The Guardian of London reports that Johnson has stated that he will pass on "[g]overnment concerns about the failure of US soldiers to attend the inquest of British service personnel killed by so-called friendly fire in Iraq". Again, one month after the Lloyd inquest issued its findings, the deput US ambassador to England intends to pass on concerns, weeks after the inquest into the deaths of British soldiers Kevin Main and David Williams.

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