Friday, December 15, 2006

Jackson Browne, David Lindorff

You take Sally, I'll take Sue, there ain't no difference between the two, coooo-caine . . . :D

We listened to Jackson Browne in the car on the drive to Rebecca's. Dad was all over my case this morning! :D

"Shaky Town," like C.I. pointed out, was the song C.I. and Jess put new words to for a feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review this weekend. Dad was all, "How can any of my son not know Jackson Browne's Running On Empty?" So he passed me the CD and goes Elaine already knows it but I better be sure she and I listen to it on the drive to Rebecca's.

I do know Jackson Browne and I've got a CD by him. The one Jess really loves, the latest one, Solo Acoustic Vol. 1. (Where's volume 2?) And there are a lot of songs on that and elsewhere that I know from growing up. And know their names! "Doctor My Eyes," "Somebody's Baby," "That Girl Could Sing," "In The Shape Of A Heart," "Lives In The Balance," and stuff like that. But I didn't know the name of "Shaky Town" and didn't even remember the lyrics. I recognized the melody Jess and C.I. were singing to. Dad goes it's probably because of the "Cocaine" song -- that he didn't play that one as much around us when we were growing up because of that song.

Elaine's already posted! I'm so slow at typing. Okay, Tony and I were talking about this by David Lindorff today, "Sen. Tim Johnson Death Watch:"

Let's stop all the heavy breathing.
While Republican vultures hover shamelessly over the hospital where Sen. Tim Johnson, the South Dakota Democrat remains in critical condition following emergency brain surgery, progressives are in a lather worrying that if Johnson doesn't recover, or if he dies, South Dakota's Republican governor would appoint a Republican to finish out his term, handing control of the U.S. Senate back to the just ousted Republican Party.
There were fears of the same possible outcome back in early November, when pseudo-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), defeated in an August primary for his party's nomination, succeeded in winning re-election running as an independent. It was feared-and to some extent is still feared-that Lieberman could jump over to the GOP in January, handing Republicans control of the Senate. Lieberman has played this fear like a virtuoso violinist, wresting a promise that he will chair the Homeland Security Committee in the 110th Congress if he stays in the party fold.
Progressives should take a deep breath and relax, though. The truth is, all this angst is really just about Democratic Senators looking to maintain their own newfound power and their own marketability to the big donors who they hope will fill their campaign coffers. If they lose control of the Senate, and don't get to chair all those committees and subcommittees, they don't get the big bucks.
But from a policy standpoint, it matters little whether Republicans or Democrats control the Senate-at least these days. In fact, not to wish ill to Sen. Johnson, but we might be better off if the Democrats ended up back in the role of opposition.

I really think that says it all but you wouldn't know it from all the fretting and fussing. I feel sorry for the guy but, like I was talking about last night, his health shouldn't be "Oh MY GOD!"
And like Lindorff points out, nothing's going to get accomplished any way with the play-it-safe crowd.

I'm trying to think of what else I can write and write quickly. So let me drop back to Jackson Browne's Running On Empty. When I was a kid, there was this neighbor who really got on my nerves. He tried to be Dad's best friend as soon as he moved in but he was just annoying. I was probably 10 or 11. So one day, he was just trashing Jackson Browne for the song "Load Out/Stay" and saying how it proved Jackson Browne was a "coward" because he wouldn't take on the unions. I remember the look on my dad's face still -- like, "WTF?" -- but I don't remember what he said to the guy. But the guy starts in on how Jackson Browne's only going to play (in that song) a little longer "If the union don't mind."

I go, "And the roadies!" I had no idea what a roadie was. I just knew that guy never shut up everytime he came over and Dad and me were supposed to be cleaning the garage and the guy would just be standing there yacking and wasting everyone's time.

My dad goes, "Yeah, he says the roadies too." The guy stormed off muttering about "reds" and I thought he was talking about drugs or something. (The guy saw "reds" -- communists --everywhere, he finally moved to Florida to escape the "reds.") But that guy just had the biggest beef with unions and I guess with Jackson Browne too so he thought he was going to kill two with one stone. That's probably my biggest Jackson Browne memory when I was kid. How "The Load Out/Stay" got some conservative freak all in a dither. :D

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

Friday, December 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's been attacked repeatedly by the US military, the US military announces that three troops have died, the US media attempts to ignore the big Iraq story of the day, Kyle Snyder continues speaking out and Donald the Rumsfled leaves an appointed office but he does not complete a 'tour of duty.'

Starting in England, with the big story.
Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) report that Carne Ross ("Britain's key negotiator at the UN") statement in the Butler inquiry (2004) that's only now been revealed and it exposes the lies behind the 'case' for war in England. AFP reports that Ross declared "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." Ross also declared that: "It was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained" (Al Jazeera).

Though Carne Ross' statements have been kept secret (swept under the 'national security' rug), Last month,
he did speak to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee and note that the intel offered to the public was "manipulated." As Brown and McSmith note, the Commons Select Committee is the body that's brought the information public while an unidentified member of the Foreign Affairs committee states: "There was blood on the carpet over this. I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles ovre Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff." The Irish Times declares: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for attacking Iraq has been dealt a new blow with the release of once-secret evidence from a former British diplomat who dismissed the threat of weapons of mass destruction."

As the mainstream media in the US bends over backwards to note Ross' statements, many may be reminded of the Downsing Street Memos and how they were greeted with silence and then derision. AP was the excuse many hid behind with DSM -- claiming they would have run a story if AP had covered it -- if only a wire story . . . Well
AP has covered it.

Turning to peace news,
Alex Zdan (Trenton Times) notes Tuesday speech Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, gave to the Nassau Presbyterian Church where she described how her son became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq ("In studying all the literature, he was stunned by what he saw") which included refusing to accept a "desk job" in Iraq. On last Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho explained that the refusal was for himself as well as those serving under him, "He felt the best thing he could do for his men was to remain behind and speak truth." She is asking for everyone to contact their members of Congress and put pressure on Congress to carry out their oversight role. Monday, Carolyn Ho appeared on Democracy Now! and discussed her own progress when meeting with members of Congress. Outside of Maxine Waters, not much. So those who haven't contacted their Congress members should considering doing so.

Ehren Watada, as Aaron Glantz (IPS) reported, is also the subject of subpoenaes -- the US military is attempting to compell three journalists to testify in court: Sarah Olson, Dahr Jamail, and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin). Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that Olson is "one of few reporters covering the anti-war movement and the voices of dissent" and that she has not decided yet how to respond to the subpoena -- Sarah Olson: "Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."

Another US war resister continues speaking out:
Kyle Snyder Washington's Bellingham Herald notes an appearence at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. Last weekend, at a speaking appearance, police showed up. Snyder continues speaking out.

Watada and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Joshua Key, 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, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.
Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, 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 next month.


As Aileen Alfandary noted on
KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), two car bombs went off outside US bases in Ramadi.


Qais al-Bashir (AP) reports that Muhsin al-Kanan, a cleric who was tight with British forces, was shot dead in Basra and that a civilian was shot dead in Kut. Reuters reports that "a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency" was shot dead in Diwaniya as was an oil company guard.


Reuters cites hospital sources in Mosul having received 13 bodies today.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's the target of US forces.
Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) reports that that the IRC states there has been "a spate of attacks on its offices over the last three years" and in the most recently, according the the IRC's vice president (Jamal Al Karbouli), about a week ago, "US forces had occupied and nearly destroyed its Falluja office, held staff for hours, and burned two cars clearly marked with its neutral symbol." CBS and AP report: "'We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times,' Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left.'"
Today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from woundssustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team,1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of enemy fire while conducting operationsin Ninewa Province. Two other Soldiers were wounded and transported to a Coalition Forces’ medical treatment facility."

Tomorrow is the first of two 'big meets' for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki.
KUNA reports that he "will convene another National Reconciliation Conference for political leaders from across Iraq." While he gears up for his conference, Jawad al-Bolani is in Syria apparently not overly concerned with the opinions of US Secretary of State Condi Rice. KUNA reports the Interior Minister of Iraq is there "to discuss security issues as the first Iraqi official to visit Damascus since diplomatic relations were resumed between the two neighboring countries." This comes at a time when Tareg al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's vice-presidents, is in the US and criticizing Bully Boy's 'plan' Al Jazeera quotes him saying: "Imagine one day waking up and finding out that your nation's leaders had completely dismantled all police and military. As a result, there is no one policeman, or state, or federal law enforcement agent, or even one national guard or any soldier to protect you from criminal elements, or terrorists. It will be total chaos. Then imagine that instead of calling back the army and security forces, the authorities in this imaginary scenario decided to form a new army and police from racist militias, some mercenaries and organized crime gangs. . . . This is exactly what has happened in Iraq."

In a
lengthy talk/performance with the Washington Post editorial board, Condi Rice attempted to buff her image a bit but mainly demonstrated (yet again) that even her fabled 'expertise' in Russia/the Soviet Union is inflated. The take away should be Rice's declaration, "I find Prime Minister Maliki a strong man." A statement so laughable it begs for a remix and one that will come back to haunt her.

In other things that should haunt, Donald the Rumsfled began a three-day farewell while most Americans wonder, "I thought he'd left already." Today it was time to 'salute' him and watch for the media that makes (at best) an idiot of itself or (at worst) spits on democracy by referring to the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense's 'tour of duty.' The Rumsfled was a civilian. Civilians are in charge of the military in the US. He did not complete a 'tour of duty' but fools and those with no respect for democracy will repeat the nonsense.
Roger Runningen and Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) note this remark by the Bully Boy: "He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." File it away from the future War Crimes Tribunal should Bully Boy attempt to say he was confused about what was being discussed.

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kyle snyder

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Law and Disorder -- spy chips and prison sentences

Thursday! One day to Friday! Elaine called and she's going to Rebecca's this weekend which I knew but she wondered if I'd like to go to? Yeah. I was already talking about that to the folks. She's staying very close to home for the next three weeks due to her pregnancy. She and Flyboy have been coming to the meetings each Friday. So Elaine said to check with Flyboy and he loved the idea. Rebecca did too but just for the next three Fridays. So for the next three Fridays, Elaine and me are headed to Rebecca's for Fridays. I'll stay the whole weekend except for Christmas. These three weeks the critical ones and we can talk Iraq or just have fun or both. But she's used to going all over and she said it would be the best present for Christmas if I didn't mind. I don't mind, it'll be fun. Tony's going to be steering our group solo and he's cool with that. So it works out great.

Okay, Eddie listened to Law and Disorder on Monday, so did Rachel, Billie listened to it this morning. All three e-mailed me and asked, "Are you talking about it or what!" :D They were nicer than that. I was planning to do it on Tuesday and then came the news about Rebecca being pregnant and that was more important to me than any thing else that day. Then I hate hump days! I really do. Thursday, the week's almost over and I can deal with anything. So if I ever mean to note the show and don't do it by Tuesday.

This week, I'm not going to note it but I read this really interesting thing about how when weaving was discovered in olden days -- I'm joking! :D

I am going to talk about it. But there's a feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review that's planned (it's on a magazine) and C.I., joking, said we should open with a f.u. to the readers. There's a point to that but C.I. doesn't think most people would read beyond the opening. C.I. and Jess called today with an alternate opening that goes "That's a big F.U., To the tried & true . . ." It's to the tune of a Jackson Browne song but I'm forgetting which one. Anyway, be sure to check out The Third Estate Sunday Review Sunday.

So this week they discussed Guantanamo and Michael Ratner offered that he thinks Stephen Cambone is a name people should be more familiar with because he thinks Cambone was the driving force on this policy. (He said "my opinion." This wasn't him saying, "It's Cambone!")
Heidi Boghosian announced that Brandon Mayfield won a multi-million dollar settlement. They covered his case a lot and I think the last time was in the four-part series. He was wrongly arrested for terrorism in Italy and was targeted because he was Muslim. The government, our government, just went after him. He was innocent and his case pulls together some of the main points of the show which are profiling, illegal spying and the dangers of the police state. So his victory is really good news.

Heidi and Michael also discussed how there are least 460 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and they've been there for five years now. That includes David Hicks who is Australian and they talked about how so little is known and that allows stuff like this to happen because if people were aware of what was going on, they wouldn't be able to ignore it.

Then they aired a presentation on US prisons by Eric Schlosser who wrote the book Fast Food Nation. There are over 2 million people in American prisons. The main crime is being poor. Schlosser used drugs as an example and how more White people do drugs but if you're a White kid and you're arrested for drugs, you're less likely to go to prison, your parents can get rehab and other stuff. He talked about how the crackdown like that came from people like Nelson Rockefeller but that it only happened because of supposed friends who were Democrats or said they were left. Rockefeller was governor and his drug laws started putting away non-violent offenders. He was showboarting with a scapegoat to try to look like president material.

The Rockefeller laws is something I only know the name of and only that because Carly Simon was talking about them in a magazine article that Jess' mom sent me. (She's a lawyer. Jess' dad is an advocate/activist for prisoners -- this is a big issue with them.) The way I remember the Carly Simon article, a musician friend of her's got arrested for drugs. His name is John Forte and he was sentenced to fourteen years due to mandatory minimum sentencing under Rockefeller's 1973 drug law. So he's serving fourteen years and he never killed or raped anyone and there's really no point in him being behind bars.

And there are a lot of people like that which was the point of Schlosser's presentation.
The thing that Rachel and Eddie both said I should mention was the spy chips. Heidi did a great interview here and the guest was really good. She was Liz McIntyre and the topic was spy chips. Do you know what those are?

These are chips that right now are used in shipping products because Wal-Mart is demanding it. And they can run a scanner over a closed box and know what's in there. And the move is to put the chips into products. They send out radio frequencies.

That may not seem like a big deal to some people but if there are chips embedded in stuff, just walking down the street people will be able to 'read' you. They'll know what you're wearing cost and stuff like that. And like Liz brought up Viagra and how if you were taking that (I'm guessing then you're a guy!) then your blind date could know.

In addition, these things could be used to track people. Before you think, "We can find kidnapping victims," think about how Bully Boy is already illegally spying and how the government would probably love to be able to track every person.

Getting scared yet?

There's also some wanting you to use this to avoid indentity thefts and stuff. But how does that work. You put a chip on your card, card gets stolen and your identity is stolen. Put it in you, like a finger or something, watch muggers or robbers start cutting off fingers.

They discussed patents and how there's even scarier stuff coming up like a braclet that would automatically inject a sedative if someone pushed a remote control button. Start thinking about how if that was normal, governments could use this. I use Gillette razors or did until this. I'm not going to support a company that invades my privacy.

Liz said you could stop shopping at places like Wal-Mart and letting them know you weren't shopping there because of the chips or you could let companies know that you object to this technology but the most important thing is getting the word out so that a lot of people get what is going on.

So that's Law and Disorder and it airs Mondays on WBAI and on other stations too and also you can hear it at the Law and Disorder website.

I feel like I've written all night! :D Okay, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, December 14, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich talks the costs of war, the US military divides Baghdad into "ethno-sectarian" regions, mass kidnapping rocks the Iraqi capital, and John McCain wants to enlist and fight . . . Well, wants others to enlist and fight.
"Someone has to rally the American people, to let them know that the money is there right now to bring our troops home. Democrats were put in power in November to chart a new direction in Iraq. It's inconceivable that having been given the constitutional responsibility to guide the fortunes of America in a new direction, that Democratic leaders would respond by supporting the administration's call for up to $160 billion in new funding for the war in Iraq," so explained
Dennis Kucinich to Joshua Scheer (Truthdig) his reasons for seeking the 2088 Democratic nomination for president. Kucinich explains the $160 billion isn't just a pie-the-sky number, it represents massive spending which isn't going to allow for "a new agenda for the American people in housing, in healthcare, in education". More information on Kucinich's campaign can be found at his site: Dennis Kucinich for President 2008. There you can read his announcement which includes the following:

I ran for President in 2004, not just to challenge the war and Democratic Party policy, but to bring forth a message: Fear ends. Hope begins. My candidacy will call forth the courage of the American people to meet the challenge of terrorism without sacrificing our liberties and everything that is near and dear to us. My candidacy will inspire hope for a new America, where social, economic and political progress is grounded in work for peace.

Carl Hulse (New York Times) reports that Democratic leadership in Congress has decided that the problem is not the funding of the war, it's when the bill statement arrives. As Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News the Bully Boy is expected to ask for an additional 100 billion dollars in funds at a time when the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) have already been funded with approximately 379 billion dollars. Which brings us back to Kucinich's point about what loses out when war gets a blank check.

What's all that money buying? Well meet the new catrographists -- the US military who've drawn up a new map of Baghdad.
Ned Parker and Ali Hamdani (Times of London) report "that the US military has drawn up a new map of Baghdad to reflect its ethno-sectarian fault lines . . . it lists the mixed neighbourhoods considered to be most explosive."

The new map of Baghdad designates many of the established and well known landmarks, the Tigris river, Baghdad International Airport, etc. The new map also designates areas the illegal war has made infamous such as the heavily fortified Green Zone -- an area that rightly calls to mind, in shape, a tea kettle -- buffered by Bremer walls but always in danger of boiling over at any moment -- and, of course, to the west, there's Abu Ghraib -- Donald the Rumsfled's pride and joy.

The map declares the five most dangerous neighborhoods to be: Adhamlya, Amariya, Ghazallya, Khadamlya and Khadaslya.

And that's the map, drawn up by the US government.

And the violence drawn up by the US government? On Saturday's
RadioNation with Laura Flanders, MADRE's Yanar Mohammed discussed how it wasn't until after the invasion that she was ever asked whether she was a Shia or Sunni and that the questions were coming not from Iraqis, but US government officials. The civil war created and fanned by the Bully Boy led to another mass kidnapping in Baghdad. The most infamous one this year is the November 14th kidnapping and today's echoes the earlier one in that much is still disputed.

CBS and AP cite CBS News' Pete Gow's report on the kidnapping: "Armed gunmen have abducted a group of men in broad daylight in central Baghdad. Police sources tell CBS News that the gunmen dressed in military uniforms were members of the Interior Ministry police commandos. The gunmen let off volleys of gunfire as a distraction and rounded up a group of 20-30 men, seemingly at random, and drove them away to an unknown location.
AFP reports that while the gunfire was going on "workers ran for cover and motorists made rapid U-turns to escape the unofficial dragnet" and that assailants (approximately 100) were using "sports utilivty vehicles of the type issued to government security forces". AFP reports that it was 29 hostages and they were all Shi'ites who "were later released in two areas of east Baghdad"; however, a source ("Iraqi defence official") states that 49 people were kidnapped including "20 unidentified passers-by".


CBS and AP report: "a sucicide car bomber slammed into an Iraqi army check point, killing a soldier and a civilian and wounding nine other people" in Baghdad. Reuters notes a roadside bomb near Mussayab took the life of one Iraqi soldier and left four more wounded, a roadside bomb in Mosul took the life of one civilian and left another wounded, two died from a car bomb in Mahaweel with six more wounded, and a roadside bomb wounded a British soldier in Basra. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that Yousif Al Mosawi ("general secretary of Thar Allah party") survived an attempted attack from an IED and that three car bombs in Baghdad left fifteen dead and thirty-five wounded.


Reuters notes an attack on Adel Abdul Mahdi (one of Iraq's vice-presidents) in Baghdad that "gunmen opened fire on" and "guards returned fire" but no one was reported injured. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports a boys' school guard shot dead in Baghdad, three people (one a police officer) were shot dead in Mosul. And KUNA reports that yesterday Al-Hurrah's Omar Mohammad was shot and wounded.

Reuters reports six corpses were discovered in Mosul, 15 corpses were discovered in Khallisa, the corpses of three Iraqi solders were turned over to a hospital near Mosul and two corpses were discovered in al-Lij. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports 45 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

As the chaos and violence continue nonstop, Iraqis register their opinions.
Al Jazeera reports on a new survey from the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies that polled 2000 Iraqis and discovered that 95 "per cent of Iraqis believe the country is worse off now than before the war in 2003" and almost "90 per cent described the government's implementation of its commitments and promises as very poor." Al Jazeera pairs the results from a joint poll by NBC and the Wall St. Journal where only "one in four Americans approves of George Bush's administration's handling of the conflict in Iraq."

NBC and WSJ poll had a sample of 1,006 Americans and found "69 percent say they are less confident that the war will come to a successful conclusion, while just 19 percent -- a new low in the NBC-Journal poll on this question -- say they're more confident. Moreover, 65 percent believe the U.S. is already doing everything it can to reduce violence there." That results of that poll were announced Wednesday. Earlier this week, CBS News revealed the results of their own poll: "50 percent say the U.S. should begin to end its involvement altogether" and Bully Boy's approval rating hit an all time low: 21%. (The poll had 922 respondents.) The CBS News poll results were announced Monday, on Tuesday, came the USA Today/Gallup poll (1009 respondents) which found 54% of respondents stating Bully Boy "will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors"

This as US Senator John McCain launches his own effort to challenge the Bully Boy as American's choice for most useless politician.
AP reports that John McCain, with Joey Lieberman at his side, played the tough boy in the heavily fortified Green Zone while calling for the US to deploy 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq. You're over there right now and trained, so pick up a gun, Big John.

In peace news, Canada's New Democratic Party has released their statement "
Canadians call for sanctuary for U.S. war resisters" in support of war resisters and the petition collected by War Resisters Support Campaign which works to help US war resisters in Canada with legal advice and other assistance. In the United States, The Athens News (Ohio) reports that "[f]orty Athens County residents signed a group letter to the Secretary of the Army," Francis Harvey, calling for the "discharge for soldiers who have served honorably in Iraq but refuse to redeploy because their experience there convinces them the Iraq war is immoral and against international law."

Such a discharge would cover war resisters like
Kyle Snyder but it wouldn't cover others such as Ehren Watada. They are a part of public war resistance within the military and the movement also includes Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.

Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, 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 next month.

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kyle snyder

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hump Day

Hump day, hump day. :D What's going on this week? Well I was on the phone with Wally about some ideas he and C.I. were tossing around for a planned feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review this week. I'm looking forward to it. I also need to re-read Danny Schechter's The Death of Media because I know C.I.'s thinking that we've waited so long to work on a feature about that we've now talked it to death and we won't have anything to offer. I hope that's not the case because it's a really great book. I think C.I. and Jim have the same attitude about pieces and it's let them be anything but don't let them boring. We discussed the book back in February and this really isn't a discussion of the book. If you haven't read
The Death of Media yet, you should. It's a 'small' book size wise but it's big on ideas and pretty important.

One thing that Elaine and I are both noting tonight is Jason Leopold's "Army Targets Truthout for Subpoenas in Watada Case:"

In a case that cuts right to the heart of the First Amendment, a US Army prosecutor has indicated he intends to subpoena Truthout Executive Director Marc Ash, a Truthout reporter, and two of the nonprofit news organization's regular contributors, to authenticate news reports they produced and edited earlier this year that quoted an Army officer criticizing President Bush and the White House's rationale for the Iraq War.
Captain Dan Kuecker, the Fort Lewis, Washington-based Army prosecutor, has stated his intent to compel Ash, Truthout reporter Sari Gelzer, and contributors Dahr Jamail and Sarah Olson to testify at the court-martial of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada. Kuecker is actively seeking the journalists' testimony so he can prove that Watada engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer, directly related to disparaging statements the Army claims Watada made about the legality of the Iraq War during interviews with Truthout and his hometown newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, in June.
At a hearing earlier this year, a military court determined there was sufficient evidence to charge Watada with intentionally missing his deployment, contemptuous speech toward officials, and conduct unbecoming an officer, and proceed with a general court-martial. In September, those charges were amended to include an additional count of conduct unbecoming an officer. The contempt charges were dropped in November. Watada faces a maximum six-year prison sentence if he is convicted. The trial is expected to begin in February.
Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who for years has been arguing in favor of a shield law to protect journalists from testifying against their sources, said what's distressing about the Watada case is that the government is trying to use a reporter to build its case.
"The last thing a reporter wants to be identified as is an investigative arm of the government." Dalglish said.
In his aggressive attempt to haul members of Truthout's editorial staff into court, Kuecker bypassed corresponding with the organization's attorney and sent Ash a series of emails - one of which was sent late Sunday evening, December 10 - insisting that Ash provide him with information about the reporters so Kuecker can prepare his case against Watada.
"This information is required as a part of an ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution," Kuecker wrote in that December 10 email to Ash. "Please respond as soon as possible."
Ash said he repeatedly referred Kuecker to Truthout attorney Bill Simpich. Ash said in an interview that he is determined to resist any attempt by the US Army to compel him to testify against Watada or to provide the Army with any physical evidence it may seek.

Have you noticed how the press is forced to turn over material whenever a prosecution can't make their case. It's been going on for some time. In the last few years, it seems like it's picked up. Sometimes, it's easy to be happy about the prosecution's victory. An example would be Scooter Libby getting charged. But to do that, Judith Miller and others had to go before the grand jury and give up sources. Is that something to be happy about?

I don't like the New York Times. But do we really want to make it a given that reporters have to name their sources? If we start that for the cases that matter to us, and we applaud it for those cases, it means the same things can be done in cases we don't care about. It's really hard to treat the First Amendment like a buffet. And I think a lot of people will see huge damage done from the Libby case years from now.

I care about the issues with Ehren Watada's case. And I don't think reporters should be compelled to do the prosecution's work for them. But I didn't think that with Judith Miller (who I don't like). Even something I despise, like the New York Times, I'll applaud for defending the First Amednment. I just wish they'd try using it in what they print. :D

If I seem down tonight, it's just because, though we're not supposed to worry, I think we are all a little worried about Rebecca. The fact that she's made it so far already is good news and there are times when I'm just really happy for her and Flyboy and then there are times when I start getting nervous. She called today and she said it was natural to worry but she's not going to and she wanted me to tell everyone that does just to remind themselves that it's going to be okay. So that's what I'm trying to do on my end.

Then there was the news that Tim Johnson had a stroke and it took forever to find out that he didn't. He's a Democratic Senator and it just brought home how close the Senate is and how sad it was that Johnson might have had a stroke and I'm off thinking about the balance in the Senate. I don't know what's wrong with him, and no one will until Thursday, but it's really silly that he's in the hospital and I'm thinking, "Balance of the Senate!"

First of all, where's any indication that the Dems intend to use their lead? Second of all, Joe Lieberman's still in there (and others) so it was never going to be even left-leaning.

If they don't impeach, I think the Dems in Congress will demonstrate that they are useless. I think they're the ones who can hurt themselves in 2008 the most by failing to stand up. On the war, on impeachment, on immigration, you name it. But I did hear that Ted Kennedy's serious about addressing the issue of student loans and interest rates which did make me feel good because my brother is getting killed with interest rates on his loans.

But Ted Kennedy's not a 'new face.' He's probably the last of a dying breed. If that weren't the case, Russ Feingold would be running for president. Instead, we're going to see a lot of 'centrists.' I'm glad that Dennis Kucinich is going to run and hope he'll be able to have a serious candidacy. I know the press is going to mock him, but I think he's going to get some serious support. Especially after 2004 when we had so many wishy-washys and probably will this time as well. I'm not endorsing him because everyone's not declared and maybe there will be someone else. But of those who look like they're going to run (and the Iowa governor that declared), Dennis Kucinich is the one I would vote for if the primary was held today.

But maybe I won't even vote Democratic? Maybe the Greens will have some great candidate who tackles the issues that matter? Who knows.

Now be sure to get your butts over to Like Maria Said Paz tonight. Elaine's going to be talking about Francisco, Maria and Miguel's newsletter.

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Tuesdays bombings repeat today (on a smaller scale which is the pattern), Saudi Arabia whispers to Dick Cheney, the US military wants more, the Iraqi military has their own laundry list, and is Emily Greene a liar, a fool, a tool, a stooge or an enabler as she rushes to deny abuses of Iraqi women?

Starting with reality, on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints Dahr Jamail summarized conditions in Iraq:

What we do have is a situation that's well beyond the control of the US military . . . The two hottest spots we can talk about are Baghdad and Al-Anbar Province. One thing that people tend to overlook is that Al-Anbar Province is one third of the geographic area of the entire country, so that just right off form starters, we can say is completely out of control of the US military. Marines are being killed there every day. Dozens are wounded every single day and we're not getting this information. And it's very interesting. If you look at the news, we see this kind of unquestioning reporting going on where another US soldier killed or marine killed in A-Anbar but what it doesn't say is that it's typically in one of two cities, that's either Falluja or Ramadi almost every single time. So it really indicates how high the level of violence is there. Recently, 3,000 more marines were called off of ships in the Gulf and sent into Ramadi specifically, which, ironically, just yesterday the first female marine [officer][
Megan M. McClung] was killed in that area as well. So we have a situation where, as you [Nora Barrows-Friedman] described in the highlights, where, really hundreds are dying every single day, it's not "scores," it's not "tens," it's not "dozens." It's hundreds of Iraqis are dying every single day. On average, it's well over a hundred a day just in Baghdad alone. And then if you look what's happening in places like Ramadi and Falluja which are under a consistent -- somewhere between 'low burn' and 'high burn' seige by the US military -- we have snipers killing many people in each city every single day, US snipers. We still have medical workers being harrassed. We still have all of the things you and I have talked about from almost the very beginning, Nora, back in January 2004, but on a much, much broader level, not just in one city, and not just even in one province, but really across all of Iraq -- even now bleeding into the Kurdish controlled north."

Staying with reality, we'll move to today's violence.


CBS and AP note a Baghdad bombing "near a crowded bus stop" that left at least 11 dead and at least 27 more wounded. Ammar Karim (The Australian) describes the scene: "Bodies of the victims lay scattered around the street amid pools of blood and the burning wreckage of at least two cars and a row of market stalls set up by a nearby bus stations." AP quotes eyes witness Abu Haider al-Kaabi: "A Volkswagen car exploded right near the bust stop, hitting a group of people, including women and children who were waiting to take a bus to a fruit and vegetatble market".

CNN notes two car bombs that exploded in the capital's New Baghdad district resulting in at least five deaths and an additional 10 people wounded. Xinhua puts the count of car bombs in Iraq today at seven (seven total for the entire country) and counts 29 dead from them which includes an attack on an Iraqi army base in Kirkuk that left ten Iraqi soldiers dead. Sameer N. Yacoub and Qais al-Bahsir (AP) report that another bombing, in Baquba, resulted in no physical deaths or injuries but it "destroyed a small Shiite shrine" while, in Musayyib, three roadside bombs exploded resulting in one death and one wounded. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports a mortar attack in Baladiat that killed one and left six more wounded. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Jurf al-Sakar left one person dead and three wounded.


Sameer N. Yacoub and Qais al-Bashir (AP) report a home invasion in al-Hesna resulted in assailants shooting dead nine members of a family. Reuters notes the family members killed were "four men, two women and three children" and that, near Balad, an attack on an Iraqi check point resulted in the wounding of four Iraqi soldiers.


Thomas Wagner (AP) reports that seven corpses ("tortured") were discovered in Mosul. Reuters notes that a corpse was discovered in Kirkuk, two corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya, and four corpses were discovered near Falluja.

As the chaos and violence continues day after day, both
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) and John F. Burns (New York Times) report a new 'plan' to cut down on the violence: provide jobs! As Kurdish legislator Mahmoud Othman tells Raghavan, "It's a bit late, as usual. They should have done this three years ago. In this country, they have spent so much on security without results. If they had spent one-tenth of that on creating jobs, more projects and fighting unemployment, things would have been better now."

The stop-gap measure (it's not a plan and it's not implemented) comes as
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports that both the US marines and army are advocating that Congress provide them with "permanent increases in personnel" and while, as Michael R. Gordon and Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) point out, 'readiness' is just around the corner for Iraqi armies according to the country's national security advisor.

Did someone say, not quiet, not right?
AFP reports this 'readiness' isn't just conditional upon future predictions, it also includes a list of wants: "more arms for the Iraqi army, more powers and training in order to be capable of handling security missions all over the country." Those are the words of the puppet Nouri al-Maliki and appear to indicate that when ousted by the US, he may not even grasp it, so removed from reality is he already.

The puppet reflects his master -- Bully Boy -- and shares company with a lazy press that can't stop jaw boning about toothless, idiotic 'reports.' Noting the 'snowjobs' weren't reality on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dahr Jamail declared, "The reality is this a permanent occupation. They don't give a damn about the Iraqi people. They're not going to leave They're just trying to get the oil set up. And they're going to stay there until that happens and until it's all extracted."

But all the defocusing on 'listening tours' and 'reports' and other nonsense allows the Bully Boy to give the impression that he's 'active' and 'involved' -- so involved that, possibly, next year he can come up with a 'plan.'
Danny Schechter (News Dissector) notes: "I can't wait for the Decider to Decide and for President Bush to announce his new revised version of his unrevised war plan. We will will have to wait a bit longer, perhaps to next year. And no matter that OVER SEVENTY PERCENT of the American people disagree with the current policy, he is not to be hurried with the media still taking him at his word as a rational decision maker. He is stuck. That's for sure. And anyone expecting new leadership in the White House might want to consider buying a bridge I am selling to Brooklyn."

While Bully Boy stalls the (willing) press, Saudi Arabia's not so patient. This morning,
Helene Cooper (New York Times) reported that last month (after Thanksgiving), Dick Cheney was told by King Abdullah that if US forces withdraw from Iraq, the Saudi government will back the Sunnis. Cooper's story comes out just as Robin Wright (Washington Post) reports on the fast exist of the Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who "flew out of Washington yesterday after informing Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and his staff that he would be leaving the post after only 15 months on the job, according to U.S. officials and foreign envoys. There has been no formal announcements from the kingdom."

Returning to yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Nora Barrows-Friedman and Dahr Jamail discussed the issue of women's rights in Iraq and noted the steady decline since the beginning of the illegal invasion. Prior to that, there were no "dress restrictions on women, they didn't have to cover up or wear a hijab," they could attend school, college, they held doctorates, they held postions in the government ministries. That's all changed. Dahr noted (and pay attention to this for later in the entry) "One of the first things that the US appointed Iraqi governing councile was to pass laws that would have done away with the laws that protect" the rights of women in Iraq. Though that was stopped it did "set the tone of what was going to happen in this inccreasingly fundamentalist" society where "There are no women's rights. Nothing is protected. It's a very fundamentalist government."

Nora Barrows-Friedman: I remember during the invasion and war against Afghanistan. Laura Bush was touting that country as a horrible place for women's rights and she herself was going to personally liberate the women. And now, after the invasion the Taliban has come back ten, a hundred-fold, it is worse for women in Afghanistan. Would you say the same is happening for women in Iraq?

Dahr agreed and noted "one of the consistent things we can see" using Afghanistan and Iraq as an example is that "if you're a woman you might want to seriously consider leaving because it's only a mtter of time before your rights are basically in the waste basket and horrible things are going to start happening to you."

Also addressed were the fact that the daily kidnappings in Baghdad (conservative estimate is thirty per day) target women more and more due to the fact that Bully Boy's 'liberation' has left them with no rights and little safeguards.

Today, the United Nations'
IRIN attempts to report on the realities for female prisoners in Iraq. Standing in the way is one Emily Greene, described as "a spokeswoman for the US military in Iraq" who is a liar, a fool, a tool or an enabler? While Green offers denials/lies, Faten Abdul Rhaman Mahmoud, one of the few women in the puppet government with any power (she heads the Ministry of Women's Affairs), attempts to address the situation. There's something very vile about the US government, whose actions have destroyed the rights of women, using a woman as window dressing to hide behind and there's something even more disgusting about a woman who allows herself to be used in a such a manner. Greene lies/misinforms/disinforms that there's no information of any women held prisoner "in Iraqi prisons. The ones that had been held for investigation by them had all been released months ago and no torture has occurred, she said."

Emily Greene meet
Um Ahmed who spoke with IPS about her imprisonment that did not take place "months ago" and that involved US forces who "told me they would rape me if I didn't tell them where my husband was, but I really didn't know." When her husband surrendered to the US military, the 'fun' just kept coming. Um Ahmed told Dahr Jamial and Ali al-Fadhily: "They told him they would rape me right in front of him if he did not confess he was a terrorist. They forced me to watch them beat him hard until he told them what they wanted to hear."

IRIN quotes Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud: "We don't know the exact number of remale prisoners but there are many being held in different prisons -- even though the [other ministries in the] government and US forces deny it. They are afraid of a counterattack from the country's conservative society." And though they may fear an attack, as noted by Dahr Jamail in his conversation with Nora Barrows-Friedman, the 'new' government set up post-illegal invasion has not given a damn about women's rights. IRIN also notes that Sarah Abdel Yassin of the Organization for Women's Freedom (OWF) whose own research backs up Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud's findings and she states, "The Ministry of Interior, [Ministry of] Defence and US forces are denying that there are female prisoners in Iraq but we have enough proof that they are there and that they suffer daily humiliation." An example is Samira Abdallah who was hooded for the entire four moths she was held, released in November only to find that her husband was now dead ("killed by the Iraqi army") as was her oldest daughter ("raped by a soldier" and then the daughter, 16-year-old Hania, killed herself) so it's now just her and her seven-year-old son.

When the Emily Greene's are presented with this 'choice' positions, the smart thing would be to turn them down. It should be perfectly obvious that Willie Caldwell gets all the 'prime' assignments and that they're being used as mere window dressing. By participating in the con, women like that not only enable the destruction of the rights of others, they make it all the less likely that a Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud will come along to speak out against abuses to women. But that's the point of using US women in window dressing roles, isn't it?

In war resister news,
Jane Cutter (PSL) reports on Saturday's actions in Seattle (despite "rain and wind") which including distributing brochures featuring war resisters such as Ehren Watada and Kyle Snyder and collecting "postcards to be hand delivered to pro-war Democratic senator Maria Cantwell." Meanwhile Lydia Lum (Diverse Education) explores past the 300 Japanese-Americans who refused to serve in WWII due to their families being (illegally) interned. Lum notes that 120,000 Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps, explores the "no-no boys" and ends in the present noting UCLA's Dr. Lane "Hirabayshi says the current case of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren K. Watada, who is of Japanese and Chinese descent, is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, callin the war illegal and immoral. He faces court-martial and a possible prison term."

kyle snyder

the new york times
sabrina tavernise
john f. burns

the washington post
sudarsan raghavan

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Good day on the personal front at least

Tuesday, great day! Tracey and I were in the mall picking out gifts for the holidays (Tracey told me she was getting Hannakuh gifts as well as Christmas ones -- my bad yesterday) when C.I. phoned and filled me in.

I will grab any day anytime it is needed. What am I talking about? Rebecca's pregnant. Now she has a history of miscarriages. But Flyboy got her to a doctor today. So she's going to be taking it easier. She may still blog once a day, Monday through Friday.

But if she's too tired or anything else like that, C.I. wanted a firm list of people who could fill in so she wouldn't go to the computer and write some post. (When she miscarried earlier this year, she was doing that. That's not why she miscarried, but we're all going to try to take as much stress off her as we can.)

She's going to blog tonight but she said I could put up here that they're going to take as many precautions as they can with this pregnancy.

Yesterday, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Missy Comley Beattie and the Rev. Patti Ackerman were wrongly convicted of trespassing for attempting to deliver a petition to government officials. C.I. wanted to note Kat in the snapshot but was arranging stuff for Rebecca (like calling Flyboy and other stuff) and there wasn't time. So let me note that C.I. and I both think Kat wrote one of the best things about the trial. Check that out. And for what it was like to sit through that nonsense, check out Missy Comley Beattie's "Convicted for Our Convictions" talks about what happened after they left the courtroom:

Then, we decided to return to the U.S. Mission to deliver the petition. We asked our supporters to join us. Congregating in a cafe on the ground floor of the mission, we ate lunch and, then, moved outside to the same plaza where our arrests occurred. We read the petition to the gathering crowd. After this, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Rev. Patricia Ackerman, and I went through the revolving door, the same door we'd been accused of blocking on the day of our arrests. Once inside, we walked proudly, arm in arm, into the lobby with the petition. Peggy Kerry, nongovernmental organization (N.G.O.) liaison at the U.S. Mission to the U.N., and Richard Grenell, spokesperson for the U.S. Mission, met us in the lobby to accept the petition. Both Kerry and Grenell had testified for the prosecution. Kerry took the stand and said that Sheehan's presence was unexpected and for that reason, she turned off her cell phone. In other words, Kerry was intimidated by the courageous woman who galvanized the peace movement and confronted the warmongers. Grenell provided comic relief under oath when he said that the group of happy women, wearing pink and layered clothing, frightened him. What a boob! Then, he pointed to me and said he spoke with me that day in March and out of the kindness in his heart invited several of us in to deliver the petition. I gasped. Because I did not have any contact with him. Certainly, had his testimony been correct, the petition would have been delivered and our 22 hours in "The Tombs" and a six-day, six-member jury trial would have been avoided.
I confronted Richard Grenell as we presented the petition and asked why he perjured himself. He didn't answer. The real question, though, is why the petition was refused nine months ago. Was it the presence of Cindy Sheehan? Was it a demand for peace?
I also have a question for the jury. Why did they find us guilty of trespassing on property that every taxpayer in this country has a right to enter? And why if we were found guilty of trespassing in March, were we allowed into the lobby to present the peace petition in December?

Dad saw an interesting story in the paper today, maybe you saw it too? I'm writing about it for Sunday's Polly's Brew. It's funny how doors close for certain peace haters. (If you saw the story, you know what I'm talking about. If you're in the dark, you're probably in the dark for a reason LOL! To those thinking they know what I'm talking about but needing a hint, think of 'social pariah.' :D)

Now this is from the Center for Constitutional Rights' "CCR FILES APPEAL IN MAHER ARAR'S U.S. RENDITION CASE:"

Today attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed an appeal in the Second Circuit on behalf of Maher Arar, an innocent victim of the Bush administration’s practice of "extraordinary rendition." A Syrian-born Canadian citizen, Mr. Arar was detained by the U.S. in September 2002 and then rendered to Syria, where he was tortured and detained for nearly a year before being released without charge. He was the first victim of the practice to come forward and contest his treatment in a U.S. court; in February 2006 the District Court dismissed his case on national security and foreign policy grounds. In rejecting Mr. Arar's claims, the court stated that "one need not have much imagination to contemplate the negative effect on our relations with Canada…were it to turn out that certain high Canadian officials had, despite public denials, acquiesced in Arar's removal to Syria." This past September, an official Canadian commission confirmed that the torture of Mr. Arar had nothing to do with any legitimate struggle against terrorism. It officially declared him innocent and found no evidence that Canadian officials acquiesced in Mr. Arar's detention in the U.S. or his removal to Syria.
"Canada has investigated and shed light on what was done to Maher," said CCR attorney Maria LaHood, "but the U.S. still owes him his day in court. We cannot continue to deny him justice for the abuses he suffered at the hands of the Bush Administration."
Today, the Canadian Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to release its second report, which is expected to suggest new oversight for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in its terrorism-related activities. In a huge shakeup last week as a result of the first report by the Commission, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli tendered his resignation. In addition, Mr. Arar is set to be in mediation with the Canadian government later this week to negotiate a settlement for their role in his detention and torture, and for their role in harming his reputation.
Maher Arar said, "For three difficult years, I have searched for justice. I will not give up until the people responsible for what was done to me are held accountable so that they can never do this to anyone else ever again."
Mr. Arar was detained at J.F.K. Airport in September 2002 on his way home to Canada. He was held in solitary confinement and interrogated without the benefit of legal counsel. The Administration labeled him a member of Al Qaeda and sent him not to Canada, his home and country of citizenship, but to Syrian intelligence authorities renowned for torture. Mr. Arar had protested his innocence and begged U.S. officials not to send him to Syria where, he told them, he would be tortured, yet he spent nearly a year detained in Syria, where he was brutally interrogated and tortured, but never charged. Upon Mr. Arar's release, Syrian authorities stated that they had found no connection to any criminal or terrorist organization or activity. The Canadian Commission found that "Canadian investigators made extensive efforts to find any information that could implicate Mr. Arar in terrorist activities," and "they found none."
According to the report of the Canadian Commission, "Tellingly, the Americans have never provided the Canadian authorities with any information of their own about Mr. Arar that would have supported the removal order to send him to Syria. Given close cooperation between the RCMP and the American agencies, it seems likely that, if they had such information, they would have supplied it to the Canadians."
In dismissing Mr. Arar's case, the District Court held that in cases that involved the Bush administration's "war on terror," U.S. courts should not intervene, even to redress cases of torture procured by American government officials. Ms. LaHood said, "In claiming the court could not hear cases like Mr. Arar's, the District Court abdicated its responsibility to ensure that our constitutional rights are enforced and protected, and to review the broad powers exercised by the Executive." In the District Court, the government also invoked the "state secrets privilege" claiming that litigation would risk disclosing the reason they sent Mr. Arar to Syria instead of Canada and thereby harm national security and foreign relations.
CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren said, "Again and again, the Bush administration has committed grievous abuses and then claimed those same abuses are 'state secrets' that cannot be revealed in open court. The facts of Maher's case are well known. The government merely seeks to hide its illegal and immoral behavior from the public and avoid accountability for its actions. They ruined a man’s life: let him see justice."
The firm of DLA Piper is co-counsel in the case.

What Bully Boy allowed to be done to Arar is one more reason he should be impeached. It didn't just happen. Bully Boy's orders, Bully Boy changing policies, ignoring laws. With Pinochet dead, Bully Boy's now number one World Terrorist. There's a lot of stuff about impeachment in the snapshot and Elaine just called to ask if I was posting? Yeah, I'm slow at typing. But I know why she's wondering. Wally and Cedric put their post on hold to use that time to figure out what days they could fill in for Rebecca if she needs them. So probably the whole community's moving slower tonight. That's cool though, Rebecca's news is important and we're all happy about it. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Dennis Kucinich declares his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential race; a bombing takes place in Baghdad that's so severe, with at least 70 now declared dead and at least 236 wounded, even the New York Times will have to take notice; the US military announces the deaths of four troops in Al-Anbar Province; a new report finds that the conditions for women continue to decrease worldwide; in the US, Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan address the war; and impeachment continues to be discussed outside the halls of Congress with Elizabeth Holtzman declaring, "Frankly, if we had really debated whether there should be a war in Iraq, we may not have gone into Iraq. If the American people had been told the truth, if the Congress had been told the truth, I doubt very much that we’d be in this pickle now. How do you put a price tag on that? How do you estimate the consequences of going into a whole war from scratch on the basis of deceptions and lies?"

Starting with impeachement.
BuzzFlash interviews Elizabeth Holtzman on the topic. Holtzman is a former district attorney and a former member of Congress. As a member of Congress, the committee she served on was the one that drafted impeachment charges against "Tricky Dick" Nixon. In January, Holtzman penned "The Impeachment of George W. Bush" which not only remains the strongest piece to run in The Nation throughout the 2006 year, it also kicked off the discussion (which had seemed dormant after the 2003 invasion of Iraq) and Lewis Lapham's "The Case for Impeachment" (Harper's), the Center for Constitutional Rights's Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, David Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky's The Case for Impeachment (Olshansky is an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights) would quickly follow. More recently, Holtzman's published the book The Impeachment of George W. Bush.

In an
exclusive interview with BuzzFlash, Holtzman was asked about pundits who say that impeachment will not happen and the fact that Nancy Pelosi took impeachment 'off the table' (in an October interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS' 60 Minutes). Holtzman responded:

We can't start and end the conversation with what political pundits have to say. First of all, our generation -- the American people living right now -- have a responsibility for preserving and maintaining our Constitution. Are we going to allow it to be shredded by a president? Then, if this president can get away with starting a war based on lies, with breaking the law willfully, what's the next president going to do? What’s the precedent that's started here?
Secondly, it really doesn't matter what the pundits say, and it doesn't really matter what members of Congress have to say about impeachment. If the American people want impeachment, it's going to happen. The real problem is that the mainstream media won't take the issue seriously. They don't want to spend the time to understand it. And they've decided it's not going to happen, so they're not going to write about it.
The consequence is that many Americans don't understand that the framers of this Constitution 200 years ago understood that there would be a Richard Nixon, and they understood that there would be a George Bush. And they said: American people, you have a remedy. We're giving you a remedy. It's 200 years old. It's called impeachment. That's designed to remove a President who threatens our Constitution and subverts our democracy.
Watergate didn't start because the Congress wanted impeachment. Left to its own devices, Congress never would have done anything on impeachment. Left to its own devices, the press never would have investigated, except for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The rest of the press was completely unconcerned on the subject. They didn't care. They weren't aggressive. But the American people understand that this is their Constitution, this is their democracy, this is their country, and they have the power to do something about it.

On the issue of Congress, Ann Wright told
The KPFA Evening News Monday, ". . . they're going to just let things evolve. And what we the people have to do is to put pressure on all of these oversight committees to have continual oversight committees investigations and I think there's going to be overwhelming evidence, through these investigations, so damning to the administration that, at that point, there will be a collective effort by the Congress to hold accountable people who have broken US law and that, probably, will lead to impeachment."

Echoing that thought, Cindy Sheehan
stated on Democracy Now! today that the movement for impeachment has to come from the people and then "Congress will have the courage to do the same thing." On the same broadcast, Medea Benjamin noted that "nothing is off the table."

Also yesterday on
The KPFA Evening News, a news conference was held on The Lancet Study and among those attending was US Congress member Dennis Kucinich who declared, "There have been a staggering amount of civilian casualites." The Lancet Study found over 655,000 Iraqis had died since the beginning of the illegal war. Also noted was that Kuccinich would declare his candidacy for the Democrat 2008 presidential nomination today. Mark Mericle reported that Kucinich "doesn't think his fellow Democrats are heeding what he called the anti-war message sent by the voters this year."

Joe Milicia (AP) reports on Kucinich's announcement today quoting from the presidential primary candidate stating, "I am not going to stand by and watch thousands more of our brave, young men and women killed in Iraq. We Democrats were put back in power to bring some sanity back to our nation.We were expected to do what we said we were going to do -- get out of Iraq."

Kucinich's declaration comes at a time when the deaths of US troops continue to mount.
Michael R. Blood (AP) reports on the Santa Barbara display of white crosses, each marks the death of a US soldier, that began in November 2003 (when the death toll stood at 340)
and last weekend numbered 2928.
Blood notes that "the nation approaches the grim milestone of 3,000 war fatalities" and ICCC's current count of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 2936 with the count for the month of December thus far standing at 46.

The count includes
today's announcement by the US military: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Monday from non-hostile causes while operating in Al Anbar Province.Three Marines assigned to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing died Monday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also annouced today: " A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died of apparent natural causes near Diwaniyah Dec 11. The Soldier lost consciousness andwas transported to a Troop Medical Clinic where medical personnel were unable torevive him."

As all of the above is announced and violence again rocks the capital in Iraq, Alexander Downer, Australia's foreign minister, grasps desperately for a little face time by
declaring that the United States cannot withdrawal from Iraq.

Back in the real world, the chaos and violence continue.


In Baghdad's Tayaran Square today, many have died and many more were wounded as a result of a bombing that may have resulted from more than one bomb.
Sudarsan Raghavan and Debbi Wilgoren (Washington Post) report that it was a car bomb -- "265 pounds of explosives packed into a Chevrolet pickup truck" while Thomas Wagner and Qais Al-Bashir (AP) report this was followed by another car bomb ("thirty yards away") and the two "shattered storefront windows, dug craters in the road and set fire to about 10 other cars." Ross Colvin (Reuters) notes that the pickups was used to lure day laborers to the truck.

Raghavan and Wilgoren quote eyewitness Jabbar Yousef who states: ""People were running in every direction . . . They were clutching their heads, legs and hands. There was blood everywhere." The Times of London reports that the first explosion came from a BMW that hit a police car, drew a crowd and then the Chevy pickup "ploughed into the crowd and exploded." They quote eye witness Khalil Ibrahim stating, "When the other bomb went off seconds later, it slammed me into a wall of my store and I fainted" (Ibrahim has "shrapnel wounds to his head and back"). The Times of London describes the scene: "Mangled bodies were piled up at the side of the road partially covered with paper and the impact of the blast severely damaged two nearby buildings." Reuters places the toll thus far at 70 dead and 236 wounded.

Wagner and Al-Bashir also note the exposions of two roadside bombs ("about a mile away") that wounded at least two police officers and seven other civilians. Reuters reports a "sucide car bomb" in the Radwaniya section of Baghdad that wounded eight and killed one person (besides the driver of the car), while in Kirkuk five people were left dead and 15 wounded in another car bombing and a mortar attack in Riyadh that killed "a mother and her two children and wounded two others".


Thomas Wagner and Qais Al-Bashir (AP) report that the AP's Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah was shot dead in Mosul while filming a "clash" that broke out between police and another group.
Reuters reports that two police officers were shot dead "near the town of Hawija."


Reuters reports that 47 bodies were discovered in the capital, four in Mosul, and on in Kirkuk (the last five were all shot). Yesteday's corpses didn't make the snapshot. Sandra Lupein noted on Monday's The KPFA Evening News that at least 46 corpses were discovered in Baghdad alone.

Meanwhile, a new report by
Unicef notes the underrepresentation of women in the political process. The report is entitled "The State of World's Children 2007: Women and Children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality." [An overview can be found here and a link to the report in PDF form as well.]

Al Jazeera notes Unifem's Noeleen Heyzer who told the UN Security Counil two months ago, "What Unifem is seeing on the ground -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia -- is that public space for women in these situations is shrinking. Women are becoming assassination targets when they dare defend women’s rights in public decision-making." [On Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, MADRE's Yanar Mohammed addressed the issue of the assassinations of women in Iraq.]

Reuters reports that the United Nations cited the report today in their comments on life in Iraq for women "where violence is curtailing their freedoms and poverty is limiting their access to basic services including health care, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement" and "their rights risk slipping away" as a mere "14 percent of Iraqi women between 16 and 60 years old are currently employed, against 68 percent of men, U.N. figures show. Women leaving home to find work puts both them and their children at risk . . . threats to girls attending school on the increase, more and more families are being forced to choose between education and safety for their daughters'. The UN also noted that 25% representation of women in Iraq's 'government' remains "disproportionately low".

Two women in this country continuing to activism are
Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin who were convicted of trespassing at the UN Mission yesterday in a Manhattan court along with Missy Comley Beattie and Rev. Patti Ackerman for the apparent 'crime' of delivering a petition (with approval from the UN Mission ahead of time). Benjamin and Sheehan were interviewed by Amy Goodman on today's Democracy Now! addressing the trial and trespassing conviction. [Click here and here for the interview -- audio, video or text.] Sheehan observed that possibly the United States' UN Mission was attempting to demonstrate that "there agressive policies towards the world are the same they use towards peace woman at home." Sheehan noted that the charge of trespassing was what they were originally charged with and should have meant they were issued a court summons; however, they were told by police that higher ups had decided to add charges (these were the charges the jury found the four women not guilty of) so that the women could be held in jail overnight.

Sheehan noted that the US is spending ten million dollars (US) an hour on Iraq. Sheehan: "We can't allow our elected officials to say that they are against the war if they vote for more money" for the war. Benjamin "I think our role in the peace movement is to say 'Bring the troops home now.'

Of the obstacles to the peace movement in the near future, Medea Benjamin observed that "what I see as the real danger ahead is the peace movement thinking 'Ah the democrats are coming to power. Oh, there's a plan out there. Let's give them a little time.' This is the hardest time for the peace movement and this is when we we have to be the strongest. We have possiblities now coming up in January as soon as they are sworn in in the new Congress -- we have to be there January 3rd and 4th,
Gold Star Families for Peace, CODEPINK and other groups are planning on being in Wahsington DC we have a big mobilzation. United for Peace and Justice is organizing for January 27th. We have the next anniversary of the war coming up, March 17th. We've got to be out on the streets. We've got to be in the offices of our Congress people. If not this war is going to go on and on and we're going to be facing another presidential election with two pro-war major candidates, from the Democrats and the Republicans."

Also on today's Democracy Now!,
Amy Goodman interviewed lefty mag Poster Boy Sherrod Brown and asked him what he would say to US war resisters such as Ehren Watada who think the war is immoral and illegal and the poster boy replied, "I don't know, I don't know what you say to them." [Goodman interviewed Watada's mother, Carolyn Ho, yesterday.] When asked by Goodman if there should be "pressure on the military not to prosecute these men and women who . . . are saying the war is wrong," Poster Boy replied, "I don't know. . . . I don't know the answer to that."

Possibly had the leading magazines of the left, The Nation and The Progressive, put war resisters on the cover or printed even one article on them in 2006, the Poster Boy might have been prompted to consider the issue?

The Progressive ran two photos, November 2006 issue, in their multi-page photo eassay. The two photos (by Jeff Paterson of
Not In Our Name), on a page of five photos, were of war resister Ricky Clousing. The Nation has provided nothing in their print edition. ["Leading" is based on circulation. Left Turn has published an article, in print, on Watada.Off Our Backs and Ms. have dedicated entire issues to war and peace this year.] While the New York Times and the Washington Post, two leading mainstream, daily papers, have covered the war resisters (the Times has done major stories on both Watada and Clousing) and a leading wire service (the Associated Press) has significantly covered the war resistance within the US military, leading magazines of the left continue to avoid the topic and 2006 may end without either The Nation or The Progressive providing one single print article on war resisters. No wonder the Poster Boy feels comfortable avoiding the issue.

While the magazines have repeatedly avoided the issue, one of the Iraq stories of 2006 has been the war resistance within the military.
Kyle Snyder, Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman are part of an ever growing movement of resistance within the military. Speaking last Thursday with Nora Barrows-Friedman on KPFA's Flashpoints, Kyle Snyder noted that more war resisters who have not yet gone public are planning to in the coming months. (Snyder also noted that he meets war resisters who have self-checked out as he speaks around the country.)

The failure of the leading magazines of the left to cover this story stands as one of the biggest barriers of a free flow of information on the issue of the illegal war. It also calls to question, for many politically active college students across the United States, the magazines' committment to ending the illegal war -- more so for The Nation which is a weekly and which managed to mention Carl Webb in an article this year but failed to note that he was a war resister. (Webb was quoted in the context of an article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) [For what is focused while Iraq is avoided see the parody "
The Elector."]

While they've played the quiet game on the topic, information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. And 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 next month.

the washington post
sudarsan raghavan
cindy sheehan
medea benjamin
david lindorff
elizabeth holtzman
center for constitutional rights
lewis lapham
amy goodman
democracy now
radionation with laura flanders
laura flanders