Friday, August 24, 2007

When the government spies

Friday! At last! :D

This'll probably be a short post because I've got stuff to do. This is from Democracy Now!:

Bush Administration Admits Telecoms Aided Gov't Spying
The Bush administration has acknowledged for the first time that telecommunications companies collaborated with the government's warrantless domestic surveillance program. The Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell made the admission in an interview with the El Paso Times. The Washington Post reports McConnell's statement could help plaintiffs in lawsuits against AT&T, Verizon, MCI and other telecoms. Until now the government has argued that the cases should be thrown out on the grounds that the subject matter is a state secret. During the same the interview McConnell urged Congress to retroactively provide immunity to telecom companies that participated in the surveillance program.

They knew what they were doing. They broke the law. They broke the consumers' trust and they broke the law. Just because you're asked to do something by the government doesn't make it legal. If it's against the law, it's against the law.

In case anyone's new to the issue, this is CCR's news release this month on the topic, "CCR IN COURT TODAY TO CHALLENGE NSA DOMESTIC SPYING PROGRAM AND NEW FISA LAW:"

Center for Constitutional Rights Believes Privileged Attorney-Client Communications Were Intercepted by NSA Without Warrants San Francisco, August 9, 2007 - The Center for Constitutional Rights appears today before Federal District Judge Vaughn R. Walker to argue that the NSA's program of warrantless surveillance is unconstitutional and should be struck down. The argument in CCR v. Bush comes days after Congress and the Bush administration passed the Protect America Act of 2007 which broadly expands the government's power to spy on Americans without getting court approval.
According to attorneys, there are substantial questions about whether the new law, which is temporary and due to expire in six months, is constitutional, and they will seek permission to file additional legal papers to that effect today. The law effectively removes oversight for spying from the FISA court and leaves it up to the Executive Branch to monitor itself, with Attorney General Gonzales having the primary responsibility for oversight. For that reason, CCR attorneys will argue in court today that the new law violates the Fourth Amendment's requirement that judges approve warrants for surveillance and do so only on evidence of probable cause.
The administration has continued to claim that the NSA program was always legal and that they have the inherent right to resume such surveillance at any time regardless of what the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) says. CCR attorneys therefore argue that their case has not been rendered moot by the new law, which in any event will expire in six months.
According to CCR attorney Shayana Kadidal, "Congress has ceded further power to an administration that has done nothing but abuse its power and betray the trust of the American people. Congress has given the President and Attorney General virtually unchecked power to spy on international calls of Americans without any oversight or accountability from the courts." CCR v. Bush was originally filed in federal court in New York but was subsequently transferred to San Francisco where other challenges related to the program, including cases against several large telecommunications companies for their role in the NSA Program, are being litigated.

CCR's case challenges the NSA's surveillance of people within the United States without judicial approval or statutory authorization. CCR filed the suit on its own behalf and on behalf of CCR attorneys and legal staff representing clients who fit the criteria described by the Attorney General for targeting under the NSA Surveillance Program. CCR has been one of the most active opponents of the illegal detention, torture and intelligence gathering practices this administration instituted in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As part of its mission to fight violations of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the Center for Constitutional Rights represents hundreds of men detained indefinitely without charge as "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay; Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen falsely accused of ties to terrorism and rendered from the United States to Syria for the purpose of being tortured; and Muslim immigrants unreasonably and wrongfully detained in the U.S. for months without probable cause or criminal charges in the wake of 9/11.
In the course of representing these clients, CCR's lawyers have engaged in thousands of telephone calls and e-mails with people outside the United States, including their clients, their clients' families and outside lawyers, potential witnesses, and others. Given that the government has accused many of CCR's overseas clients of being associated with Al Qaeda or of being of interest to the 9/11 investigation, there is little question that these attorneys fall within the likely range of victims of the NSA Surveillance Program.
CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren said, "It is virtually certain that the NSA spied on our confidential communications with our clients as well as conversations with other American attorneys outside of the U.S. The president violated his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws of this nation and instead secretly broke the law for years to spy on Americans. He has taken an axe to the Constitution."
The Center for Constitutional Rights is represented in the suit by CCR attorneys Shayana Kadidal and Michael Ratner, and CCR cooperating attorney David Cole, and Professor Michael Avery of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
For more information on the case, visit This release is posted at

Dad's got Lily Tomlin's comedy recordings on vinyl. On one of them, I think This Is a Recording, she does this routine as Ernestine on the phone with J. Edgar Hoover who used to run/ruin the FBI. And Ernestine's telling him he doesn't need to wiretap illegally, he can just recruit the operators at the phone company.

I'm reading a book of essays by Gore Videal called The Last Empire and in one of the essays, he talks about Cary Grant and how when Grant was on the phone operators would listen in. My point here is that people know right from wrong and the phone companies knew it was illegal for them to cooperate with the government. Or the executive branch of the government. They weren't cooperating with the legislative branch because they weren't obeying the laws.

They need to be held accountable and so does the administration. And people who make excuses for the White House aren't just saying "Listen to me! Listen to me!" -- they are doing a disservice to the Constitution and to every other citizen.

Now this is a new release from the National Lawyers Guild and the only thing I've done here is take out the e-mail addresses. If you want to write them, you can get the addresses by using the link but after the crazy loon that has spent how many weeks threatening C.I.? the last thing I want to do is put up someone's e-mail address and have them get a lot of e-mails like that. If you seriously have a question or want to share a comment, you can use the link to what I'm about to post and get the e-mail addresses there. This is from "National Lawyers Guild Calls on Congress to Repeal Warrantless Domestic Surveillance" which came out this month after our Democratically controlled Congress handed away the people's rights:

Marjorie Cohn, NLG president,
Heidi Boghosian, NLG Executive Director,
Congress put its stamp of approval on the unconstitutional wiretapping of Americans by amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in the "Protect America Act of 2007."
The new law takes the power to authorize electronic surveillance out of the hands of a judge and places it in the hands of the attorney general (AG) and the director of national intelligence (DNI). FISA had required the government to convince a judge there was probable cause to believe the target of the surveillance was a foreign power or the agent of a foreign power. The law didn't apply to wiretaps of foreign nationals abroad. Its restrictions were triggered only when the surveillance targeted a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or when the surveillance was obtained from a wiretap physically located in the United States.
The attorney general was required to certify that the communications to be monitored would be exclusively between foreign powers and there was no substantial likelihood a U.S. person would be overheard.Under the new law, the AG and the DNI can authorize "surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States." The surveillance can take place inside the United States, and there is no requirement of any connection with al-Qaeda, terrorism or criminal behavior. The mandate that the AG certify there is no substantial likelihood a U.S. person will be overheard has been eliminated.
The new law violates the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court has held that government wiretapping must be supported by a search warrant based on probable cause and issued by a judge. The Court has struck down warrantless domestic surveillance. Finally, the new law requires telephone companies to collect data and turn it over to the federal government. It also grants immunity against lawsuits to these companies, many of which are currently defendants in civil cases.
The rush to push this legislation through last week was likely a preemptive strike by Bush to head off adverse rulings in lawsuits challenging the legality of his Terrorist Surveillance Program.
On August 9, a federal district court in San Francisco was to hear oral arguments by lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild in CCR v. Bush. And on August 15, Guild lawyers and others will argue Al-Haramain v. Bush in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
By its terms, the new law will sunset in 180 days. But this is a specious limitation. The AG and DNI can authorize surveillance for up to one year. Just before the statute is set to expire around February 1, 2008, they could approve surveillance that will last until after Bush leaves office.The National Lawyers Guild calls on Congress to repeal the "Protect America Act of 2007."

And that's going to be it for me. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, August 24, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military reports another death, a US helicopter attack leaves many Iraqis dead, war resistance gets covered on PBS, activist, author, feminist, peace advocate Grace Paley passed away Wednesday, and more.

Starting with war resistance. This week's
NOW with David Brancaccio (PBS, begins airing in most markets Friday nights) takes a look at war resistance:Choosing to go to war is both a government's decision and one made by individual enlistees. But changing your mind once you're in the army is a risky decision with serious consequences. On Friday, August 24 (checkyour local listings), we talk to two soldiers who went AWOL and eventually left the Army, but who took very different paths. NOW captures the moment when one man turns himself in, and when another applies for refugee status in Canada, becoming one of the 20,000 soldiers who have deserted the army since the War in Iraq began. Each describes what drove him to follow his conscience over his call to duty, and what penalties and criticism were endured as a result. "I see things differently having lived through the experience," former army medic Agustin Aguayo tells NOW. "When I returned from Iraq, after much reflection I knew deep within me I could never go back."The NOW website at will offer more insight into the case made by conscientious objectors, as well as more stories of desertion in the ranks.In addition to the broadcast, a preview of the show is posted at YouTube. And the show will be available in various forms (audio, video, text -- though maybe not in full) at the NOW with David Brancaccio site.

Camilo Mejia is the new chair of
Iraq Veterans Against the War. The decision of the new board members of IVAW were made last weekend. Tony Pecinovsky (People's Weekly World) reports on the Veterans for Peace conference and quotes Mejia explaining, "There is no greater argument against war than the experience of war itself. In the military you're not free to decide for yourself what is right and wrong. The fog of war is very real. Your main concern is staying alive" and explaining his decision to self-checkout, "I couldn't return knowing that we are committing war crimes. This war is criminal. But I'm no longer a prisoner of fear. I have hope that we can end this war." IVAW is gearing up for their big Truth in Recruting campaign. Adam Kokesh, who is co-chair of IVAW, is currently doing workshops (tonight at St. Bede's at the corner of St. Francis and San Mateo 7-9 pm PST). And Camilo Mejia tells his story in his own story of resistance in his new book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Turning to the jibber-jabber. The NIE was released yesterday. It is a much kinder and less explicit version of Peter W. Galbraith's "
Iraq: The Way to Go" (The New York Review of Books, August 16, 2007). In the essay, Galbraith writes, "The Iraq war is lost. Of course, neither the President nor the war's intellectual architects are prepared to admit this. Nonetheless, the specter of defeat shapes their thinking in telling ways. The case for the war is no longer defined by the benefits of winning -- a stable Iraq, democracy on the march in the Middle East, the collapse of the evil Iranian and Syrian regimes -- but by the consequences of defeat." If that stance is still not clear, Alex Spillius (Telegraph of London) reports: "Frontline generals in Iraq spoke openly yesterday of the need to have a government that could function and guarantee security above all else, including democratic legitimacy. Brig Gen John Bednarek, who commands forces in Diyala province, told CNN that 'democratic institutions are not necessarily the way ahead in the long-term future'." As all the lies are dropped, the reality of the crimes being committed may be grasped. Maybe not.
Michael Ware and Thomas Evans (CNN) report that "officials now say they are willing to settle for a government that functions and can bring security." Yesterday, White House flack Gordon Johndroe declared (in Crawford, TX) that "we know that there are significant challenges ahead, especially in the political area. I would say that the strategy laid out by the President on January 10th was a strategy that provided for security first, so that there would be space for political reconciliation. The surge did not get fully operational until mid-summer. It is not surprising -- it is frustrating, but it's not surprising that the political reconciliation is lagging behind the security improvements. I think that is the way the strategy was laid out." The 'improved' security is a lie. Repeating, Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reporting earlier this month that the US military claims of 'progress' were based on numbers they would not release and that McClatchy Newspapers' figures do not track with the findings the US military has trumpeted: "U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital is down 50 percent. But U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don't support the claim." But clearly the generals, the officials and the White House are all on the same page regarding the 'problems' with democracy -- pure chance, of course.

Greg Miller (Los Angeles Times) summarizes the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE): "Despite some military progress, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is unable to govern his country effecitvely and the political situation is likely to become even more precarious in the next six to 12 months, the nation's intelligence agencies concluded in a new assessment released Thursday. The document, an update of a National Intelligence Estimate delivered in January, represents the view of all 16 U.S. spy agencies."

'Democracy' on hold or out the window . . . what to do, what to do? Bring in a 'strong man' dictator?
Reuters reports that 3 "secularist ministers . . . will formally quit" the cabinet of Nour al-Maliki today and that three are from Iyad Allawi's party. Yesterday Democracy Now! noted Allawyi is working with "Republican lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers" in an effort to become the new prime minister of Iraq (Allawi was previously interim prime minister). CIA asset Allawi was still working with the CIA in 2003, as Jim Lobe (Foreign Policy in Focus) noted, in attempted "Iraqification" which was a popular thing in late 2003 as the White House and hand maidens of the press attempted to treat "Iraqification" as a process which would put Iraqis in control. The policy was at odds with much of the White House's aims and never got off the ground. Had it, it still wouldn't have allowed for Iraqi control. Allawi was interim Prime Minister following the start of the illegal war and, during that time, he made his 'mark' early on. Paul McGeough (Sydney Morning Herald via Common Dreams, July 2004) reported in July 2004: "Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings. They say the prisoners - handcuffed and blindfolded - were lined up against a wall in a courtyard adjacent to the maximum-security cell block in which they were held at the Al-Amariyah security center, in the city's south-western suburbs."

Never having been handed democracy, Iraqis now face the very likely prospect that the puppet (al-Maliki) will be replaced with a dictator/strong man. It's not about what the Iraqis want or desire on the US government's end, it's just more of the same. A point driven home by
the announcement that Abdel-Salam Aref has died in Jordan. In 2004, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) explained, "The US-installed regime in Iraq said last night it would pay a monthly pension to a former president overthrown more than 35 years ago in a coup that brought Saddam Hussein's Baath party to power. The Iraqi Governing Council says it will pay Abdel-Rahman Aref $1,000 a month and allocate $5,000 to cover his medical bills in Jordan. Aref rose to prominence in 1963 when he was appointed army chief of staff by his elder brother, then President Abdel-Salam Aref. He was overthrown in July of 1968 in a coup that was aided by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA also gave the Baath Party the names of some 5,000 Iraqi Communists who were then hunted down and killed or imprisoned. Following the coup, Baath party leader Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr became president, with Saddam as his right hand man."

Peter W. Galbraith explains, there was no democracy following the start of the illegal war, not in what was imposed by the US (and the US shut out the UN). What exists is a system where the Shi'ites and Sunnis are two major groups (Sunnis the smaller of the two) and the system imposed has left one group shut out (elections would change that only to a small degree -- but they aren't happening) and the third most populous segment, the Kurds, are ready for their own country (Kurdistan). The system imposed on Iraq by the US was fatally flawed from the beginning so, it can be argued, ignorance wasn't the issue. Considering past history, a failed system that could be tossed aside quickly. Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) observes the the NIE's "best-case scenario" would be "Iraq's security will improve modestly over the next six to 12 months, but violence across the country will remain high. The U.S.-backed central government will grow more fragile and remain unable to govern. Shiite and Sunni Muslims will continue their bitter feuding. All sides will position themselves for an eventual American departure. In Iraq, best-case scenarios have rarely, if ever, come to pass."

Andrew Stephen (New Statesman) wonders if the Bully Boy is imploding and notes, "The conundrum, of course, is that it was precisely that dark art which got Bush into the White House in the first place. The poisonous divisiveness that gradually festered around him as a result now allows the state department, to take just one example reported in the Washington Post, to think nothing of simply ignoring an order from the president. Yet I suspect that the extent to which the Bush administration has become so shambolic will not come home to many Americans until the country returns to work on 4 September. Bush is now a truly rudderless president, with no realistic agenda left for the next 513 or so days, other than to tread water and hope for the best."

Is Bully Boy imploding? His laughable attempting to rewrite history this week indicates something strange.
Robert Parry (Consortium News) evaluates the latest lunacy, "It is often said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But a much worse fate may await countries whose leaders distort and falsify history. Such countries are doomed to experience even bloodier miscalculations. That was the case with Germany after World War I when Adolf Hitler's Nazis built a political movement based in part on the myth that weak politicians in Berlin had stabbed brave German troops in the back when they were on the verge of victory. And it appears to be the case again today as President George W. Bush presents the history of the Vietnam War as a Rambo movie with the heroic narrative that if only the U.S. military had stuck it out, the war would have been won. Or, more likely, the black wall of the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial would stretch most of the way to the U.S. Capitol." And Rosa Brooks (Los Angeles Times), who has gotten nothing but hisses in these snapshots, tackles the Bully Boy's nonsense, "Some might quibble with Bush's understanding of historical causation. Yes, many innocent civilians suffered in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam -- but it's more accurate to attribute their suffering to the prolongation of the war itself, rather than to the U.S. withdrawal as such. It's hard to be precise (as is the case in Iraq today, no one kept careful count of Vietnamese civilian casualties, and all sides in the conflict had an incentive to fudge the true figures), but somewhere between 1 million and 4 million civilians died as the war needlessly dragged on, many killed by U.S. weapons. Millions more were displaced. But those are details.
Bush went on to assert that 'another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam' was the rise of 'the enemy we face in today's struggle, those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens' on 9/11. Yup -- it's so obvious! The U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam caused the rise of Al Qaeda -- and, by extension, 'our withdrawal from Vietnam' ultimately turned Iraq into 'the central front' in 'the war on terror'." At a time when many left voices played dumb, stayed silent, Rosa Brooks addressed Bully Boy's nonsense, challenged it and put into perspective.
More willing to do that would go along way towards ending the illegal war.

The NIE is not the only report making the news. Another report, this time from an aid agency, also gives a grim picture.
James Glanz and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) report that the Bully Boy's escalation has led to an escalation in the amount of Iraqi refugees. Citing figures by the Iraqi Red Crescent, the reporters declare "the total number of internally displaced Iraqis has more than doubled, to 1.1 million from 499,000, since the buildup [of troops -- the escalation] started in February."

Turning to some of today's violence,
Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) reports a US helicopter attack on Iraqis in western Baghdad that resulted in the deaths of "at least 18" Iraqis, that the US is claiming the helicopter attack was prompted by an attack from 'insurgents' but eye witnesses note it's the same thing as usual -- due to the heat some people sleep on their roofs and that's what was going on during the "predawn" attack by the US -- and that between 2 and 4 women were killed in the attack. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "The U.S. military said in a press release that after ground troops came under attack helicopters were brought and 18 'enemy combatants were killed'. The military later amended the release putting the death toll at only 8. The military said armed men on rooftops were spotted. A military spokesman said no civilians were killed."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier (two more injured).


Reuters reports "two construction workers" were shot dead in Diwaniya, a barber was shot dead in in Hawija and 1 police officer was shot dead in Numaniya. CBS and AP report, "Sixty suspected al Qaeda in Iraq fighters hit national police facilities in a coordinated attack in Samarra, sparking two hours of fighting that saw three people killed and more than a dozen insurgents captured, Iraqi police said Friday. One policeman, a woman and an 11-year-old girl were killed in the fighting in the city 60 miles north of Baghdad, and nine others were injured. There were no details on insurgent casualties, but police arrested 14 suspects, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 9 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 1 corpse discovered in Hawija. Reuters notes a corpse discovered in Diwaniya..

Today the
US military announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier died Aug. 24 as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion earlier in the day while conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province. Four Soldiers were also wounded and transported to a Coalition medical facility for treatment." The current numbers at ICCC are 3725 US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 67 for the month thus far. Reuters' count is also 3725 and they note "Britain 168 [and] Other nations 129".

Finally, author and activist Grace Paley died Wednesday. In Sisterhood is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium (ed.
Robin Morgan, 2003), Paley contributed "Why Peace is (More Than Ever) A Feminist Issue":

Today's wars are about oil. But alternate energies exist now -- solar, wind -- for every important energy-using activity in our lives. The only human work that cannot be done without oil is war.
So men lead us to war for enough oil to continue to go to war for oil.
I'm now sure that these men can't stop themselves anymore -- even those who say they want to. There are too many interesting weapons. Besides, theirs is a habit of centuries, eons. They will not break that habit themselves.
For ourselves, for our girl and boy children, women will have to organize as we have done before -- and also as we have never done before -- to break that habit for them, once and for all.

Peace is a feminist issue, still and always, even if one women's group chose to walk away from that reality in order to justify an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. As
Juan Gonzales (Democracy Now!) noted today, "Since the 1960s, Paley was very active in the antiwar, feminist, and anti-nuclear movements. She helped found the Greenwich Village Peace Center in 1961. Eight years later she went on a peace mission to Hanoi. In 1974, she attended the World Peace Conference in Moscow. In 1980, she helped organize the Women's Pentagon Action. And in 1985, Paley visited Nicaragua and El Salvador, after having campaigned against the US government's policies towards those countries. She was also one of the 'White House Eleven,' who were arrested in 1978 for unfurling an anti-nuclear banner on the White House lawn." Feminist Wire Daily writes that "Paley was known as much for her political activism on behalf of peace and women's rights as her literary accomplishments. Paley was jailed several times for her opposition to the Vietnam War, and traveled to Hanoi on a peace mission to negotiate for the release of American prisoners in 1969. She helped found the Women's Pentagon Action and the Greenwich Village Peace Center. . . . Most recently, she actively opposed the war in Iraq." When Paley went to NYC for the "Women on War" event in April 2003, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) interviewed her and the program aired some of that interview today:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you were recently named the poet laureate of Vermont. It's very interesting. You're named by the governor, who is a Republican governor. Can you talk about how you relate to him in your meeting with him?
GRACE PALEY: Well, first of all, he really -- he didn't -- well, he had to sign the paper, but I was chosen by a group of other poets, a couple of whom had been laureates, like Galway Kinnell and Ellen Voigt, and a couple of other people who had to make a choice. I don't even think I was the best one, but that's beside the point. Still, there -- you know, there's time for others. And then I had to meet with him. He wanted to meet with me and talk to me, but before he really signed on. And I -- he knew a lot about me, and I said, well, I wasn't going to change very much, you know? I'd probably be the same person I was, no matter what. And we talked awhile about this fact. And he really -- and then he signed it. That's all.
AMY GOODMAN: Governor James Douglas?
GRACE PALEY: Yes. He's a Republican. He has a very mild manner, and I don't know whether that's the part of the Republicans of Vermont or what, but he's a Republican. I mean, there's no question about it.
AMY GOODMAN: But in terms of your poetry, more significantly, here he is naming you poet laureate, whether he chose you or not --
AMY GOODMAN: -- he is for the war, and you're opposed.
GRACE PALEY: Yeah, right. Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: And you have been using your poetry a lot in the last few months to express that view.
GRACE PALEY: Well, I would do that, no matter what. I mean, this is what I'm about, and this is how I live my life. It's -- I don't even -- I wouldn't understand how to do otherwise.

Interviewed by Phyllis Exkhaus and Judith Mahoney Pasternak (War Resister League) at the start of this century, Paley reflected on what the peace movement accomplished: "Well, I think it did two things. It acted as an education in resistance and nonviolence. And probably the education in nonviolent direct action couldn't have been learned without a war. It had to take a war for people to learn that things could be defied and resisted. I think that was an important legacy of the peace movement."

Elaine Woo (Los Angeles Times) reports on Paley's work on the issue of draft resistance and notes "she also was an inveterate street-corner leafleteer and protest marcher who supported or helped found the Greenwich Village Peace Center, the War Resisters League, Women's Pentagon Action and the Feminist Press." The Feminist Press published Here And Somewhere Else (Two By Two) in March of this year which paired Paley's work with Robert Nichols (her second and surviving husband).

In the December 1998 issue of
The Progressive, Anne-Marie Cusac noted a passage by Paely that stood out: "One of the things that art is about, for me, is justice. Now, that isn't a matter of opinion, really. That isn't to say, 'I'm going to show these people right or wrong' or whatever. But what art is about -- and this is what justice is about, although you'll have your own interpretations -- is the illumination of what isn't known, the lighting up of what is under a rock, of what has been hidden."

In 2002, she was among those signing "
Not In Our Name: A Statement Of Conscience Against War And Repression." Meredith Tax remembers Paley at Women's WORLD: "Grace and I became close during the PEN Congress of 1986, during which we organized a meeting to protest the inadequate number of women speakers, which took over the ballroom of the Essex House Hotel and led to the formation of a Women's Committee in PEN American Center. Grace and I were co chairs of that committee until she moved to Vermont, and she became founding Chair of Women's World in 1994. Grace was the kindest and most generous person I have ever known. This is unusual in a writer, especially one of her quality, because writers tend to husband their inner resources for their work, but Grace had so many inner resources that she could afford to be generous. She gave unstining love to her family and friends, took speaking engagements at any whistlestop, often without pay, organized antiwar and antinuclear and women's demonstrations, worked endlessly against nuclear armaments, did draft counseling, protested on behalf of the environment, free expression, and a just peace betwen Israel and Palestine."

In addition,
Matthew Rothschild interviewed Paley for Progressive Radio and Neda Ulaby (NPR) provides an audio overview of Paley's life and work. In terms of writing, "My Father Addresses Me On The Facts Of Old Age" (June 17, 2002) is available online at The New Yorker.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vanishing 'coalition'

One day until Friday! :D We just got done doing a killer roundtable so be sure to check out the gina & krista round-robin tomorrow if you're a community member who gets it. That is an amazing roundtable. Kat's at Rebecca's, I've got C.I., Ava, Jess and Dona here with Jim and Ty en route. (Jim and Ty did not participate in the roundtable because they were in flight. Ty and Jim spent the week on the East coast. Jim hanging with his family, Ty going back for the week with his boyfriend.) Kat was so funny in the roundtable, by the way. She's got to take a thing she says, about a paragraph long, and turn it into a review. There's a CD that really disappointed her and . . . I'll leave it at that because she called a second ago and I said, "You need to do a review on that." I hope she will. One thing she loves is something everyone's listening to here (C.I. got it for my Dad knowing he would love it, we all do): Stephen Stills' Just Roll Tape. This is a . . . What is this? :D Stills went with Judy Collins to the recording studio (they were a couple then) for a recording session she was doing and ended up laying down some tracks after her session was over. Dad's got it blasting. Ma goes, "Only while your granddaughter is up!" :D That must be real weird. To come into the world last month. It's so hot. But she's probably like, 'Hmm. I guess it's hot on this earth all the time." That's all it's been since she was born. When winter comes, she's in for a surprise! :D

I forget, not everybody has a dad like mine. So if you weren't schooled by a father or mother in classic rock, Stephen Stills is a singer-songwriter and he's part of the super group Crosby, Stills & Nash and part of the super group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Before that, he was a part of Buffalo Springfield which is still known for "For What It's Worth" which Stills' wrote.

Speaking of music, Kat's "Kat's Korner: Cowboy Junkies kick it up another notch" went up Sunday and it's a review of Cowboy Junkies' At The End of Paths Taken which is probably one of my favorite CDs of the summer.

Okay, now if you've been paying attention, you know the administration is angry/frustrated/miffed with al-Maliki and, if you've been paying attention, you know that it's pretty much the same way they feel about the British. This is from Leonard Doyle and Kim Sengupta's "Iraq: The Vanishing Coalition:"

The American exasperation, however, is compounded by the perception that British troops are "disengaging" while the US is losing lives daily in the "surge". The crash of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in northern Iraq is thought to have been due to mechanical failure rather than hostile fire. Meanwhile, east of Baghdad another American soldier was killed in a roadside attack.
General Keane, who is recently retired but is considered to be influential within the Pentagon, said there was "frustration" among US commanders that they may have to send troops to the south while continuing to fight the insurgency in central and northern Iraq. He said: "That situation could arise if the situation gets worse in Basra if and when the British leave. Now the situation has changed in the south, it is considerably worse, certainly with the kind of gangland warfare that is preying on the people in the south."
General Keane accused the British of being guilty of "general disengagement from the key issues around Basra". He continued: "The Brits have never had enough troops to truly protect the population." UK troop numbers are, in fact, due to be further reduced, by 500, to fewer than 5,000 at the end of the year.
Basra Palace, the last British base inside Basra City, was due to be handed over to Iraqi forces at the beginning of August. This has been delayed at the Americans' request, but UK officials insist this will take place, along with the passing of control of the city to the Iraqi government, by the end of the year. British troops will then withdraw to the air bridgehead at Basra airport, where a reserve force of about 3,000 will remain when the official withdrawal from Iraq takes place next year.
The dangers in southern Iraq were also illustrated by the assassinations of the governors of two provinces, and the police chief of one.
Mohammed Ali al-Hassani, the governor of Muthanna, was killed along with his driver and bodyguard by a roadside bomb as he left his home for his office in the provincial capital Samawah. It followed the killing of Khalil Jalil Hanza, the governor of Qadisiyah province, along with the police chief, Major General Khalid Hassan, in another roadside attack.
With no end in sight to the bloodletting, Mr Maliki reacted angrily yesterday to what he called the "discourteous" remarks from his US allies. "Those who make such statements are bothered by our visit to Syria," said Mr Maliki. "We will pay no attention. We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere."

So the only real partner the US had in the laughable 'coalition' is going and it's getting ugly. John Howard would love to be a 'player' but the people of Australia won't let him send more troops in. And at a little over a thousand troops, Australia's a laughable 'partner'. The administration and the British government are having a nasty break up. But, kids, it's not you. They're not splitting up because of you. :D You know Bully Boy's nonsense speech can also be seen as a slam against the United Kingdom.

In other crazy news, Koo Koo Katrian and her awful magazine The Crap Nation. Ask why she's publishing Michael Lind? Former neocon who went to the center.

I thought Crap Nation was "the leading magazine of the left". Koo Koo can't find any left writers? Was she zonked out in front of her reality TV shows again?

Why would anyone wanting to pay money for that piece of crap magazine that presents as left and as different from The New Republic(an) when Katrina prints so many of the same writers?

She's a stupid ass idiot. She's destroyed the magazine. The left needs to walk away from that train wreck.

Koo Koo's doing yet another issue on Hurricane Katrina in the new issue. People will look back and see all of her Koo Koo coverage of that and compare it to the tiny coverage of Iraq and wonder, "Did the dumb ass know a war was going on?" No. Because she's a dumb ass from the Council for Foreign Relations. Money bought her a seat at the table but she's got no brain and that shows issue after issue.

Really, what a dumb ass she is. She should do everyone a favor and just resign. She should let the magazine have a chance at survival but instead she wants to remain 'till the end so she can pull the plug on the life support.

Koo Koo Katrina is just a dumb ass. It's a good thing she lives off her grandfather's money because without it, she'd be nothing. She's an idiot stumbling around to make a point in that phoney voice of her's when she's on TV.

Four years from now, when the circulation for The Crap Nation is dipping to the 20,000s, I think she's going to see that there's not any support for it anymore and she doesn't have the kind of money to keep it afloat.

So her vanity will destroy the magazine.

And the way it is today, that won't be any great loss.

That's going to be it for me tonight. Jim and Ty just got here and I want to chill and have some fun. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, August 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, women and children taken in a mass kidnapping in Iraq, the US military announces another death, Bully Boy lies (again) and largely gets a pass (again), Bill Richardson speaks frankly, and more.

Starting with war resisters. Today
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) spoke with Camilo Mejia:

AMY GOODMAN: Talk first about this decision of
Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group of, what, more than 500 people to actively encourage war resistance?

CAMILO MEJIA: Last count was 525 members, with new members joining every day, Amy. And the decision was made to, as an organization, support war resistance within the military as a way to undermine the war effort.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And in terms of the growth of that resistance movement over the last couple of years -- obviously since you were one of the first -- how do you see that developing?

CAMILO MEJIA: I think we've come a long way from the time when I resisted the war. Like Amy said, I was the first public combat veteran to refuse to redeploy to Iraq. Back then, when I went public with my refusal to go back to the war, we had approximately twenty-two cases of desertion in the military. And then, by the time I got out of jail, that number was 5,500. Today, it's over 10,000 people within the military who are refusing to go to the war in Iraq since the war started. And just to put it in perspective, that's almost like saying like the 101st Airborne Division was wiped out by desertion or AWOL, basically people not wanting to fight the war.

AMY GOODMAN: How many?

CAMILO MEJIA: Over 10,000 people. So that's the equivalent to an Army division.

Over the weekend,
Iraq Veterans Against the War held their board elections and Mejia was elected as the new chair. On the issue of those who self-check out, Mejia noted that despite claims that the military isn't going after them, it is happening and cited Suzanne Swift as one specific example noting she is among the "cases of people who have not yet gone public and yet have been seized in their home" and that Swift was "apprehended by police without even a search warrant at her mother's house, and she had not gone public at that time. And she had refused to go back to the war, because she had been subject to military sexual assault and command rape from her leadership and being forced to go back to the war with the same unit and with the same people who had attacked her." Swift received no justice. A military white wash investigation did find 'some' validity in her recount of the ordeal she endured but instead of doing the right thing and immediately discharge with full benefits and a honorable discharge, instead of stating publicly, "This never should have happened and we apologize to Suzanne Swift and promise we are addressing this systemic issue," they refused to discharge her, they punished her and there's been no Congressional oversight despite the fact that Swift's case is not an isolated one. In September 2006, US House Rep Peter DeFazio declared that Congress would investigate the case and that he would be the one leading that. Of course, September 2006 was before the 2006 elections and the Democratically controlled Congress hasn't shown much spine since they were swept into office claiming they would end the illegal war. As Sara Rich, Swift's mother, explained of DeFazio to Jennifer Zahn Spieler (Women's eNews) in December 2006, "His office gave us a lot of red tape. And he basically laughed at our petition. I walked away feeling rather humiliated by him."

AMY GOODMAN: Now you have become chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and you are
launching the organization Truth in Recruiting campaign in September. Can you explain what that is?

CAMILO MEJIA: Sure. Well, we are launching a number of actions that we had, and Truth in Recruiting is one of them. What we're basically going to do is we are going to continue doing what we have been doing, but we're going to up the tempo. We are going to increase the number of members who are going to go into high schools to inform young people about the reality of the military and about the reality of war. Far from telling them not to join the military, we are going to tell them, "You want to join the military, this is what could happen to you. This is what's happened to our members. This is what the contract means. This is what stop-loss is. This is what conscientious objection is," so to basically inform them and thus empower them to make an informed decision.
We are going to go into recruiters' offices, and we're going to talk to the recruiters. And this, in time, is going to -- in turn, is going to take up their time, so they're not, you know, out there basically lying to young people about, you know, the many wonderful benefits of the military, without talking about the realities of war.
And we're going to continue doing, you know, what we're doing. We're going to continue going out into recruiting events. And we just had one action, actually, at the St. Louis conference. Across the street, there was a convention, an African American expo, where they had the America's Army game, and they were basically targeting like, you know, kids as young as twelve years of age, you know, teaching them that the military is cool and the military is good for you. And, you know, about ninety of us went in there, and, you know, we had this very military-style formation. And, you know, we all sounded off, saying, you know, "War is not a game. War is not a game. War is not a game." And then we leafleted the families and the youth with our fliers, you know, that talk about the reality of being in the military, which talk about our position as veterans against the war. And this is basically what's behind this campaign and this effort, you know, to basically inform young people about the realities of the military.

In Aimme Allison and David Solnit's new book
Army of None -- from Seven Stories press, available at book stores, online, and via Courage to Resist -- one of the stories they recount is a high school counselor who was happy to invite the US military on campus and thrilled to steer students to them (especially to the Coast Guard) until he was given some information that included the military contract service members sign:

Reading the language of the military enlistment contract changed Brian's mind about promoting the military option to his students. Section 9b reads, "Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may change my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment/reenlistment document." section 10d2 reads, "I may be ordered to active duty for 24 months, and my enlistment may be extended." In other words, the military enlistment contract isn't a real contract. The military does not legally have to honor its promises to the enlistee. That was enough to change this counselor's opinion of the service" (pages 10 - 12).

It should be noted that Camilo Mejia's contract was 'extended' -- he was one of the many whom the military decided to 'stop loss' aka backdoor draft. The US military couldn't do that and US Senator Bill Nelson and elements within the military knew that (Mejia was a non-citizen, non-citizen's cannot be extended). Mejia tells his story in
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia but we should note again that he had completed his service and should have been sent home. Those who attempt to argue "You signed a contract!" have no concerns over the fact that it's a one-sided document. In Allison and Solnit's book they explore the contracts and how to convey the actual realities.

Truth in Recruting is an attempt to get those and other realities out. Adam Kokesh (Sgt. Kokesh Goes to Washington) reports on last week's Truth in Recruitng workshop in Berkeley "a sort of trial run for the format that I have created. . . . The next one for me is this Friday in Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans For Peace (especially Ken Murray) has been a great help in setting this up and promoting it." Kokesh also notes the new board members of IVAW including Mejia as chair, Kokesh as co-chiar, Phil Aliff as secretary and Margaret Stevens as treasurer and encourages everyone to check out Meeting Resistance an "incredibly powerful" documentary.

Aimee Allison and David Solnit remind, in Army Of None, that if you're handing out information about the realities of recruitment, it's a good idea to have the information in more than one language based on the diversity of the community.
Juan Gonzales addressed with Mejia (on Democracy Now! today) the fact that enrollment for African-Americans in the military is declining while Latinos are now being heavily targeted. Meija noted, "Some people may have heard about the DREAM Act, through which the military hopes to recruit undocumented youth who are graduating from high school. The proposal is to serve two years in the military or go to college for two years and then get your green card, which 65,000 people who are undocumented and graduate from high school and are not eligible for financial aid from the federal government are not going to be able to go to college for two years. So, you know, this is one of the ways in which, you know, the military is targeting young immigratns, mostly Latinos, to join the military."

Tonight, Camilo Mejia had a reading from his book
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia at Different Drummer at 6:30 pm. Friday he has events in Syracuse (click here and check out the sidebar).

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Turning to the Bully Boy.
Yesterday he made ridiculous claims regarding Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and did so in an attempt to resell his tired but ongoing illegal war. As Jane Fonda notes in the incredible documentary Sir! No Sir!, "You know, people say, 'Well you keep going back, why are you going back to Vietnam?' We keep going back to Vietnam because I'll tell you what, the other side does. They're always going back. And they have to go back -- the Hawks, you know, the patriarchs. They have to go back because, and they have to revise the going back, because they can't allow us to know what the back there really was." Jim Rutenberg, Sheryl Gay Stolber, Mark Mazzetti, Damien Cave and Erich Schmitt (New York Times) observe: "With his comments Mr. Bush was doing something few major politicians of either party have done in a generation: rearguing a conflict that ended more than three decades ago but has remained an emotional touch point." As Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) observes, "Beware, this is only the beginning of a new effort to sell these wars. The next salvo will take place on September 11, 2007, when General Petraeus, the latest general to run the war in Iraq, presents his commercial for an extended surge and an increased commitment to the ongoing occupation of that country. Of course, the date has 'absolutely nothing' to do with the anniversary of the attacks in New York and Virginia six years ago."

Bully Boy made ridiculous comments about how US withdrawl from Vietnam led to a host of things when the realities are that the illegal war itself led to that. Bully Boy felt the need to speak of new vocabulary the withdrawal created (it didn't create it) and while it's nice to know he is attempting to increase his Word Power, let's explore some of the actual vocabulary that illegal war did create. "Double veteran" was someone who killed a woman after he'd had sex with her. "Expactants" was a 'cute' term for those who were 'expected' to die. "Glad bags" were body bags and "litters" were what the dead and wounded were carried on. "Willie Peter" which was white phosphorus added to napalm to prevent water from stopping the burning of skin. "Fragging" which was when those serving under an officer elected to kill him often with a grenade. "Dust offs" were when service members were medicially evacuated by helicopter. Those are only some of the words that illegal war added to the vocabularly.

Douglas Brinkley tells Michael Tackett (Chicago Tribune), "If we get into a Vietnam argument, the country is divided, but if you are going to try to sell this concept that the blood is on the American people's hands because we left and were weak-kneed in Asia, that is a very tenuous and inane historical argument." Political analyst Bruce Cain tells Carolyn Tyler (KGO News) that what Bully Boy is "trying to do is use a conservative argument to rally the conservative base because what he fears is not that Nancy Pelosi and the democrats are going to vote for withdrawal. What he fears is members of his own party are going to join in." On the rollout attempt to resell the illegal war, Massimo Calabresi (Time magazine) explains, "The speech marks the start of a weeks-long campaign in the run-up to the politically charged September report card to be delivered to Congress by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Bush will give a second speech next week at the American Legion in Reno, Nevada, and another a week later on a trip to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit taking place this year in Sydney, Australia. The speeches will coincide with the launch of a $15 million ad campaign by a group called 'Freedom's Watch' -- which counts former Bush press secretary Air Fleischer as one of its founders -- aimed at bolstering flagging support for the war."

This is an atttempt massive rollout and that's why it needs to be called out in real time. Not a week later, not a few weeks later. Today,
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) spoke with Inter Press Service (IPS) journalist and historian Garth Porter who said of Bully Boy's ridiculous speech:

Well, you know, it reminds me very much of the way in which, of course, Richard Nixon used the threat of a bloodbath in Vietnam as the primary argument for continuing that war for four more years after he came to power in 1969. And really, it seems to me, the lesson of the Vietnam War that should be now debated and discussed is really the way in which Nixon could have ended that war when he came to power, negotiated a settlement and avoided the extension of that war into Cambodia, which happened because Nixon did not do that.
Had Nixon listened to the antiwar movement and the American people by 1969 and ended that war, there would not have been the overthrow of Norodom Sihanouk in 1970. There would not have been the extension of the war into Cambodia. There would not have been the rise of the Khmer Rouge. When Sihanouk was overthrown, we tend to forget that the Khmer Rouge was really an insignificant movement. They were about 2,500 or 3,000 very poorly armed soldiers or guerillas. And it was really the extension of the Vietnam War into Cambodia which made the Khmer Rouge the powerful movement that they were.
So really, you know, the lesson of Vietnam that we should be hearing, which we should have heard for the last three decades, but we haven't, is that government officials in the White House simply do not pay attention to the real consequences of the wars that they wage. They seem to be totally unable to take account of the destabilizing ways that the wars that they wage affect not only the country in which the war is being waged, but then the neighboring countries, as well.

CBS and AP report the Bully Boy "touched a nerve among Vietnamese when he invoked the Vietnam War in a speech . . . People in Vietnam, where opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is strong, said Thursday that Mr. Bush drew the wrong conclusions from the long, bloody Southeast Asian conflict. 'Doesn't he realize that if the U.S. had stayed in Vietnam longer, they would have killed more people?' said Vu Huy Trieu of Hanoi, a veteran of the communist forces that fought American troops in Vietnam. 'Nobody regreats that the Vietnam War wasn't prolonged except Bush. . . Does he think the U.S. could have won if they had stayed longer? No way'."

Anne Zook (Peevish . . . I'm Just Saying) notes Bully Boy was "saying that we can't leave Iraq because then it would be like Vietnam. It's not like Vietnam now, you understand. We didn't charge in there uninvited and start slaughtering people right and left with no clear idea of what we were dealing with and no rational plan for how wholesale killing was going to make things better." Rebecca addressed the topic of Vietnam in "robert parry, vietnam," Mike in "Ron Fullwood, William S. Lind," Elaine in "Matthew Rothschild, John Nichols, Katha Pollitt," and Kat in "Glen Ford, Iraq, Vietnam" yesterday. Today Ira Chernus (Common Dreams) notes that the Dems are caving on Iraq and buying the myth of 'progress' so he suggests, "The alternative is to refuse to take the administration's new bait. The antiwar movement could refuse to use Iraq as a backdrop and Iraqis as extras in a drama about the trials and tribulations of America. Instead, we could insist that the issue is not about how well our soldiers are doing or what is happening here at home. It's about what is happening in Iraq, where ordinary people like us have been dying and suffering in horrifying numbers ever since we occupied their country. We have no magic button that we can push to end the tragedy now. But we can do our best to refocus the debate on the real terror: the terror endured by the Iraqi people who live under military occupation every day."

Turning to the violence in Iraq, yesterday
Damien Cave and James Glanz (New York Times) noted that the death toll from last week's bombings in northern Iraq (Tuesday) had passed 500 with over 1,500 injured. On yesterday's US helicopter crash in Iraq, Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes that US military flack Michael Donnelly maintains, "The helicopter was not shot down". Remember that if and when the investigation concludes differently. The Honolulu Advertiser notes: "Ten Hawai'i soldiers were among those killed when a Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed today in northern Iraq". Heather L. VanDyke (Muskegon Chronicle) notes 30-year-old Matthew Tallman was among the dead and AP notes that some of the dead "were based in Hawaii; others in Washington state" and that the 14's home states included California, Texas, Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio.

Today in Iraq . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life (five wounded). Reuters notes a Baghdad mortar attack that claimed 2 lives (four injured), a mortar attack in Kut that claimed 2 lives (six wounded)


Reuters notes one person dead in Mosul from a drive-by shooting and "At least 25 people were killed in a battle between Sunni Arab militants and al Qaeda in villages near Baquba" in a battle involving mortars and gun fire.


Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that "15 women and children" were kidnapped following the battle outside Baquba.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 12 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and four others wounded during combat operations in an area west of the Iraqi capital Aug. 22." Currently ICCC shows 3723 as the number of US service members killed in the illegal war since it started with 65 for the month thus far.

In political news,
Reuters reports US Senator John Warner has stated Bully Boy needs to use September 15th to make an announcements that he will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. On Warner's request for a phased withdrawal to begin, AP quotes him stating, "We simply cannot as a nation stand and continue to put our troops at continuous risk of loss of life and limb without beginning to take some decisive action." Warner's statements come as the spin flies around the supposed 'progress' that's not happening. We'll again note Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reporting earlier this month that the US military claims of 'progress' were based on numbers they would not release and that McClatchy Newspapers' figures do not track with the findings the US military has trumpeted (and many, most recently the Los Angeles Times have swallowed and spat back at readers): "U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital is down 50 percent. But U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don't support the claim."

Staying on the topic of politics and the lack of progress, US Democratic presidental hopeful
Bill Richardson released a statement noting the absurdity of Bully Boy's speech ("The correct conclusion to draw from our experience in Vietnam is that dragging out the process of withdrawal will be tragically worse in the terms of U.S. lives lost and worse for the Iraqi's themselves in terms of the ultimate instability we will create by staying longer") and addressed Hillary Clinton's some days 'up' attitude on the escalation, sometimes 'down':

I am pleased that Senator Clinton, today, recognizes that the surge has produced no progress of any long term significance to the Iraq debacle. That is different from what she said yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But, it is that audience, who has sacrificed more than any of us, who deserves to hear a clear statement that our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers are not going to be sacrificed because of an irrational commitment to a failed strategy.The President is asking the country to wait for next month's progress report from General Petraeus. The chances are that report will be just another White House spin job and attempt to justify this war. This has been the bloodiest summer yet -- our troops have done an admirable job at trying to make a bad idea work, but the surge has failed, the war has failed, Bush has failed. It is time to end this war and bring all of our troops home as soon as possible. I'm glad Hillary Clinton has retracted her comments yesterday and has declared the surge a failure today -- but I still haven't gotten an answer to my question -- a peace in Iraq will fail as long as we leave troops behind -- how many would you leave behind? Every other major candidate would leave thousands of US troops in Iraq for an indefinite. I will leave no U.S. forces there. Zero.The only way out of the Iraq mess is to remove all U.S. troops, and to use that leverage to get the warring parties to resolve their differences, and surrounding Muslim nations to help stabilize the country. Any residual U.S. force reduces the chances for success, and exposes our troops as targets. Our brave troops, and the American people, deserve better.

John Walcott (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that that US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) finds that "to date, Iraq's political leaders remain unable to govern effectively." The NIE was released today [PDF format of the report can be read here]. CBS and AP quote from the report: "The strains of the security situation and absence of key leaders have stalled internal political debates, slowed national decision-making, and increased Maliki's vulnerability to alternative coalitions" and "CBS News correspondent Tara Mergener reports tension is growing between President Bush and the prime minister after Mr. Bush appeared to back away from al-Maliki earlier this week when he said: 'Clearly, the Iraqi government's got to do more'."

Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports on the victims of those 'prescision' US airstrikes bringing 'liberation' to Iraqis and quotes Kassim Hussein, "This is not the first time that we have heard nice words about military operations that they say aim for our security and prosperity. Yet every time it was more killing, sieges and poverty. It is a war that we did not have to fight, but we are the biggest losers every time it is ignited by the Americans."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ron Fullwood, William S. Lind

Hump day, hump day. Two days 'till the weekend.

First things first, I am now the crotch rot expert. :D I got an e-mail from a guy today saying his buddy told him I'd talked about a problem he's having. Dude, it's the weather. It's hot outside. Here's what you do, use anti-persperant on your crotch. I'm serious. You can wash and wash. That funk's not going away. He wrote that he's tried every body spray he can find at the drug store. Forget it. That's just putting perfume on the smell. Think about your arm pits. If you just sprayed some cologne in there, it might hide the stink for a bit but it wouldn't fight it. So get an anti-persperant or Old Spice High Endurance deodorant stick. The smell's not going away in one day. You'll need to keep showering and applying for about a week. Mid-way through, you'll notice the change. Go at least a full seven days. That'll get rid of the smell.

Speaking of smells . . .

Bully Boy's distorting history and the right wing is lapping it up. The left wing? Those who pose left are staying silent. All this time after Vietnam, they still can't fight. What a bunch of losers. They can't even defend the historical record. What a bunch of whiney, ass losers. That includes John Nichols and (unlike C.I.) I won't add an "in fairness." He's jabbering on about Korea and everyone's snoozing. You're nothing but a useless wimp if you can't call Bully Boy out on his lies about Vietnam. So let's note this from non-wimp Ron Fullwood's "Fighting the Vietnam War in Iraq:"

The White House is desperate to hold on in Iraq. There's been a driving obsession from this administration, from Cheney, Rumsfeld on down, with re-fighting the Vietnam war in Iraq to re-pursue the myth that we could have 'won' the conflict if we had just applied more force and not withdrawn. Bush still believes that if he stays his bloody course in Iraq -- if he sacrifices even more soldiers on top of the 3700+ he's already allowed to die for his zealotry -- he's convinced there's something worth those tragic deaths that he can 'win' there.
How many times did Nixon try to convince Americans that he could 'win' in Vietnam? Nixon, like Bush, tried to deflect responsibility for his own escalation of his war by reminding Americans about Johnson's role as he promised a victorious end to the conflict. He called his own military muckraking, "winning the peace."
One of the Vietnam War's poster boys, Henry Kissinger, slithered out last year and effectively unraveled the lame-duck loser's plans for a military victory in Iraq. Kissinger said then that a military victory in Iraq is not possible.
"If you mean, by 'military victory,' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ 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 is possible," Kissinger told the BBC in November.
That's as reasonable as these warmongers get. They've got a lot to cover for their own complicity in the tens of thousands of Americans who were sacrificed by Nixon and his advisers. There is no parallel in Kissinger's experience in advising Nixon on his war which would mesh with his reluctance today to hold out for some military victory in Iraq. The parallel is in Bush's own strategy to remain in Iraq "for as long as he's president" and blame the failure there on those who refuse to agree to let him run amok indefinitely with our military forces there.

I think one of the reasons the wimps are so damn wimpy about Vietnam (again, I'm not talking about Fullwood who stepped up to the plate) is because Democratic leaders not only didn't call Bully Boy out, they lied. Harry Reid's defending Vietnam, another illegal war the country was sucked into. So the John Nichols of the world have another reason to be wimpy. Can't call out Bully Boy if the Dems aren't. Can't make a move without approval from Democratic leadership.
Independent media really, really sucks with few exceptions.

They bill as "independent" but they're the same as Fox News only they take their cues from the Democratic Party. Imagine if all the so-called "independent media" acted like they were independent? I'm talking about media here. Media Matters, for instance, can be a Democratic watchdog. That's their right. I'm not talking about them. But when you claim, like The Nation does, that you're independent media, you need to be. I'm not talking 'balance' but I am saying the independent media from the left should be independent and not just a pretty chart on the wall that they pin gold stars next to Democratic names.

How stupid do they think we are?

That's really what it boils down to. They enlist to serve the Democratic Party while claiming to be independent. How about serving your readers?

And they aren't serving Democrats by providing them with cover. You either push and prod the Democratic Party or you're giving them a free pass.

I am a Democrat and I don't hide that fact. But I also don't say, "Oh, I'm a Democrat! I must not criticize them!" When they're wrong, they're wrong.

They are wrong for not impeaching Bully Boy and they are wrong for refusing to end the illegal war.

And pretending otherwise just encourages them to continue their move to the right.

Okay, now what's going on in Iraq? William S. Lind has a pretty important piece called "Operation Kabuki?" and here's a sample:

The willingness of some Sunni tribes and insurgent groups to work with U.S. forces in al Anbar against al-Qaida is significant locally, However, all my sources state emphatically that the Sunnis who are now willing to work with us do not accept "the new Iraq," which is Newspeak for the al-Maliki government in Baghdad and Iraq's future status as an American satellite with large U.S. forces permanently based on its soil. As is usually the case in Fourth Generation war, the U.S. ­ Sunni local alliances are temporary tactical expedients, nothing more. The Sunnis we are working with make quite clear their continuing rejection of al-Maliki, Baghdad and the "New Iraq" at the same time they also reject al-Qaeda's terror tactics (including against Sunnis) and its goal of a puritanical Islamic theocracy.
This is just one slip on General Petraeus's part, and given the way the U.S. military invents good news to pass up the chain, it may reflect what he is being told. At the same time, the term "New Iraq" is a Bushism. So does its use reflect what is corning up the chain or what is coming down?
It is the latter possibility that is troubling, because it is the norm, not the exception. As American military officers gain rank, they soon learn that the absolute worst political sin is "committing truth." Any time they say something that contradicts what is coming out of the White House or the Office of the Secretary of Defense, they find themselves in very hot water. If they persist in the annoying practice, they discover they do not quality for senior commands.

"New Iraq". I'd missed that wave of Operation Happy Talk. :D Sadly, we'll be seeing this well into 2010 -- lies -- because so few will hold the Democratic Party accountable. And when they aren't held accountable, they do what they want which isn't serving the people.

Koo Koo Katrina has ruined a good (though not great) magazine. And all the Koo Koo Katrinas are ruining the country by refusing to demand an end to the illegal war.

They're as bad as Rahm Emmanuel though they'd tell you otherwise. They have a 'secret strategy' and, like my Dad says, they always get burned and they never learn.

We need to be demanding accountability and not just tossing darts at Republicans. We're getting stabbed in the back over and over by our elected leaders. Either tell the truth or stop pretending.

Always hitting hard, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, over 80 Iraqis are reported today, the US military announces deaths as well including those dead from a helicopter crash, Bully Boy demonstrates -- even before Karl Rove departs on Aug. 31st. -- that he doesn't need a brain and wouldn't use it if he had one, while Nouri al-Maliki hears voices and sees enemies and conspiracies all around him . . .

Starting with war resistance. Camilo Mejia does a reading from his book
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia at Different Drummer tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:30 pm. Friday he has events in Syracuse (click here and check out the sidebar). Today, Deepa Fernades interviewed him on WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio.

Deepa Fernades: Can you just talk us through that . . . Those moments of deciding? Of realizing "Okay, I really don't have any other option but the military?" What was going through your mind? Did you actually think, "This is crazy. And what am I signing up for"?

Camilo Mejia: Not really because -- Well, first of all, I would disagree now days that there are no options. I think there are some options. I think we need to fight for more options. But young people really don't need to join the military to get themselves, you know, out of poverty and to get themselves educated. But that was my mentality, certainly that was my mentality when I joined the military.

An important point and one that
Iraq Veterans Against the War, of which Mejia was just elected to the board (as chair), will be making with a new campaign: September 17th IVAW will kick off Truth in Recruiting. It's also a point driven home in Army of None, a new book by Aimee Allison and David Solnit -- from Seven Stories press, available at book stores, online, and via Courage to Resist where you can support both the book and a strong organization. In their book, Allison and Solnit offer an easy to comprehend and inspiring look at counter-recruiting including hands on details. Mejia was mentioning how important it is for students to know there are other opportunities besides the military and the authors Allison and Solnit stress that in their book, the need to provide more "information on job-training programs, college financial aid, and youth service projects." There are other opportunities -- however, the US government doesn't spend millions and billions of dollars a year promoting that. The authors also note the opt-out portion of No Child Left Behind and since fall semesters are starting -- parents have exactly six weeks after the fall semester starts to put in writing that the US military is not to be provided with information about their children. This must be done at the start of each school year.

On A12 of today's New York Times,
Sarah Arbuzzese reports on the huge drop in the number of African-Americans enlisting in the US military noting "the share of blacks among active-duty recruits declined to 13 percent in 2006 from 20 percent in 2001" and that the Army has seen the most dramatic decline (from 23% of the 2006 Army population to 13%), then the Marines (from 12% to 8%) and then the Navy and Air Forces. African-Americans have been opposed to the illegal war from the start in large numbers and Abruzzese notes that the most recent polling showed 83% of Afican-Americans say "the United States should have stayed out of Iraq." So counter-recruiting efforts are important and do have effects. Many veterans assist and lead those efforts and IVAW, again, will be launching a campaign next month.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Turning to Iraq, having already made clear (via the Sunni shut out of the alleged 'alliance') that the White House defined 'benchmarks' two and sixteen were out the window, Nouri al-Maliki made it even more clear that the Sunnis are not welcome in 'liberated' Iraq.
KUNA reports that a list has been issued "of wanted people" which includes the names of those "currently involved in financing attacks against the MNF" according to the Interior Ministry's Abdel-Karim Khalaf who has the title "Lieutenant General". The Interior Ministry has long been accused of being run by thugs who are set upon driving Sunnis out but apparently they now have the means and capabilities to track down those "financing attacks" or, at least, to pretend they do in order to continue targeting Sunnis.

On the heels of US Senators Carl Levin and John Warner's announcement that the Iraqi prime minister's "last chance" had arrived, Bully Boy attempted a show stopping performance today by dusting off his Dark Lady lp, popped it on the turntable and sang along with Cher about just being "a Dixie girl who prays/ Some day she'll be a Delta queen/ Find a good man . . . " Possibly that was his way of entertaining the VFW? Speaking of the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, Bully Boy pronounced him "a good guy, a good man". But it wasn't all spangles and head tosses, Bully Boy also wanted to give a history lesson and, suffice to say, he's no Howard Zinn. Mangling every known fact to humanity, Bully Boy came off like a college student dependent upon the "gentleman's C" which, for the record, was how he got through college. As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, Bully Boy's declaring withdrawal from Iraq will cause the violence that followed when the US withdrew from Vietnam -- violence in Camobia and Laos as well as Vietnam. On the issue of Cambodia, in a speech in June, John Pilger addressed Cambodia, "I've made a number of documentaries about Cambodia. The first was Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia. It describes the American bombing that provided the catalyst for the rise of Pol Pot. What Nixon and Kissinger had started, Pol Pot completed -- CIA files alone leave no doubt of that. . . . The [US] troops were withdrawn from Vietnam after four long years. And during that time the United States killed more people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with bombs than were killed in the preceding years. And that's what's happening in Iraq." There's Bully Boy's actual historical comparison -- the one he won't make. To read Pilger's speech click here for Dissident Voice, click here for Democracy Now! which offers it in audio, video and text. As Saul Landau (CounterPunch) has noted of the US and Cambodia, "Between March 1969 and May 1970, Kissinger ordered some 3,600 B 52 raids on Cambodia. Kissinger later lied to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying he had selected only 'unpopulated' areas of Cambodia for bombing. Somehow, between 600,000 to 800,000 civilians died in these 'unpopulated' areas. This carnage occurred before Pol Pot won power. . . . Kissinger's undeclared war against Cambodia also included overthrowing the government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. A pro U.S. military coup produced an ineffective regime and subsequently led to the seizure of power by the Khmer Rouge." "Bush is rewriting history -- never his best subject," notes Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) who also notes, "he's counting the victims of the Khmer Rouge, who came to power only after the U.S. ruined Cambodia. And he's not counting the three million people the U.S. killed in Southeast Asia during the war. Just as he's not counting the 70,000 to 700,000 civilian Iraqis his war has killed, or the one in ten who have been forced to leave their homes."

David Jackson and Matt Kelley (USA Today) cite Vietnam historian Stanley Karnow saying the "historical analogies . . . don't track" because "Vietnam was not a bunch of sectarian groups fighting each other. . . . Does he think we should have stayed in Vietnam?" "We" would not, of course, include Bully Boy who joined the National Guard to stay out of Vietnam and couldn't even complete his duties there. (Note, in the 90s, Bully Boy would make comments indicating he was against the US involvement in Vietnam. That may have been the closest he ever came to making sense.) Joe Allen (ISR) noted Stanley Karnow referring to the invasion of Laos as Tricky Dick and Crooked Hank (Kissinger)'s "drastic new initiative" to distract from losing to the North Vietnamese with Allen noting: "In February 1971, 150,000 South Vietnamese troops invaded Laos in an operation called Lam Son 719. The U.S. Air Force flew 8,000 ariel sorties in support of the invasion. They advanced about a dozen miles into Laos without much opposition, then they were hit with a major counteroffensive by five divisions of the North Vietnamese Army. It immediately became a major rout, with the South Vietnamese Army fleeing back to South Vietnam . . . The Laos debacle proved that even with U.S. air and logistical support, the South Vietnamese Army was a useless fighting force. There was a rapid disintegration of the U.S. position in Vietnam during the remaining two years of the war." (That's from part three of Joe Allen's Vietnam series, click here for part one and here for part two.) Matthew Davis (BBC) analyzes the false comparison and quotes "Iraq analyst at King's College, London" James Denselow: "This smacks of spin, a last throw of the dice designed to pre-empt the anti-war lobby and justify the US's continued presence. This is an issue of how America goes to war, and how it gets out of it. It is rare for a leader in a democracy to take a country into war, and to take the country out." Click here for Thom Shanker's laughable 'Bully Boy is right and look Council on Foreign Relations and a host of War Hawks say so!" And no link to The Nation because John Nichols is apparently representing the entire magazine and most of the timid left who refuse to call out the Vietnam nonsense (Nichols zooms in Korea. Way to go, we'll all go home and watch M*A*S*H!). This is how the Vietnam revisionary history took hold to begin with, people smart enough to know it needed calling out refusing to do so. (In fairness, Nichols is apparently the only working at the magazine today.) Check instead the piece by Ron Fullwoood (OpEdNews). Or The UnCapitalist Journal which notes, "Incapable of admitting utter catastrophe in waging a 21st Century war of aggression that has left the U.S. armed forces debilitated and incapable of effectively fighting even a single theater war against a real enemy, and unable to face up to the wreck visited upon the fiscal house of the nation by irresponsible tax cuts for the rich coupled with unending, uncontrolled costs of vaporous war against a stateless band of criminal maniacs, the President of the United States of America is about to go all the way back and blame Richard Milhouse Nixon for this miserable failure of a Presidency."

Though the puppet has made no known comment on Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia,
Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) reports he's spitting mad over talk that he needs to go declaring, "No one has the right to place timetables on the Iraq government. It was elected by its people." Setting the issue of the election aside, al-Maliki wasn't elected by the people and should have been tossed out in May of 2006 by the Iraq Constitution since he failed to meet the deadline to put together his cabinet (after missing it, for those who've forgotten, al-Maliki tossed out the Constitutional deadline and created his own deadline -- which he also missed). Paul Tait and Mohammad Zargham (Reuters) report that al-Maliki declared of US criticism (the reporters note it wasn't "clear if he was referring to Bush or [US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan] Crocker"), "These statements do not concern us a lot. We will find many around the world who will support us in our endeavour." Really? Because the puppet was whining (when the US Congress was speaking of withdrawal at the end of spring) that the US forces couldn't leave (though poll after poll demonstrates the Iraqi people want them to). The puppet who never met a conspiracy he couldn't latch on to also began seeing a plot caused by the trip he's currently on, "Those who make such statements are bothered by our visit to Syria. We will pay no attention. We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere." "Our"? It's his trip. Is the "we" also al-Maliki speaking of himself in the plural form? While al-Maliki gives a performance to rival Mary Todd Lincoln, Robert H. Reid (AP) reports that members of Iraq's Parliament "lack the votes to replace him" (maybe not) and that the White House fears no one else "could do a better job". So Iraq's stuck with al-Maliki the way the Democratically controlled US Congress tries to stick the American people with Bully Boy? Further calling Reid's reporting skills into question, he cites War Hawk Kenny Pollack -- who's been so 'right' about everything from the start (that was sarcasm). Jonathan Steele (Guardian of London via ICH) observes of al-Maliki's outburst, "In one sense, the crisis only confirms what has been clear for months. Whoever sits in the Green Zone in nominal charge of Iraq's government has little power or authority beyond its walls. Bush's political project for Iraq looks more fragile than ever."

Fragile? In some of today's violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing claimed 1 life (five wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded two, a truck bombing in the Salahuddin Province that killed 12 (twenty-five wounded), a car bombing in Tikrit that claimed 1 life (police officer, three more wounded), a Kirkuk car bombing that wounded one police officer and a roadside bombing near Flaifel left four members wounded. Reuters reports 6 killed (thrity-five wounded) in a motorcycle bombing in Muqdadiya, 20 dead (fifty wounded) in a tanker bombing in Baiji. The Baiji truck bombing death toll rose to 45 dead (eighty wounded), CBS and AP report. Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) notes the death toll has climbed to 51 and that it "leveled" Baiji's "main police station" as well as causing "neighboring buildings" to collapse while noting the toll contains "such high casualties because most residents do their shopping in late morning and the station was located on a main commerical street."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Ahmed Hassan was shot dead in Al Riath.


Reuters reports, "Armed men stabbed a female professor to death in the Shi'ite city of Kufa".


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Counting corpses that is 88 deaths and that's not all of the deaths today.

US military announced: "Fourteen Task Force Lightning Soldiers died when the aircraft they were riding went down in northern Iraq Wednesday. Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were on a night operation when one of the aircraft crashed. That helicopter had been carrying four crewmembers and 10 passengers. Initial indications are that the aircraft experienced a mechanical malfunction." Megan Greenwell (Washington Post) notes at least 63 helicopters have crashed (my term) in the illegal war with at least 36 being "struck by enemy fire". CBS and AP note that the deadliest helicopter crash in the illegal war took place on January 26, 2005 "when a CH-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopter went down in a sandstorm in western Iraq, killing 31 U.S. troops." Like that helicopter crash, this one too "is under investigation." The January 26th helicopter crashed outside Ar Rutbah.

The US military wasn't done --
they announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and three others were wounded during combat operations in an area west of the Iraqi capital Aug. 22." Today's deaths brought the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war to 3722 with 64 of those from the month of August thus far (ICCC).

And finally, in media news, Jeff Zeleny and the New York Times have smeared the peace movement with a big-old-fat lie. Yesterday,
Senator Barack Obama (and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful) delivered a speech to the VFW where he declared, "The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground. When men and women who die in service to this country are laid to rest, there must be no protests near the funerals. Its' wrong and it needs to stop." Obama was referring to the 'vangical fringe that is the gay hating Fred Phelps crowd. The extreme right wing set. As Cedric's "New York Times lies again!" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! NEW YORK TIMES LIES ABOUT PEACE MOVEMENT!" noted yesterday, somehow New York Times' Jeff Zeleny heard that and decided Obama was talking about the peace movement: "He also said it was wrong for anti-war activists to protest at military funerals, declaring: 'It needs to stop'." The print version of the story ran in this morning's paper on A11 and does not contain the error/lie; however, the story is still up online at the paper's website and has not been corrected. How many times is the Times going to smear the peace movement during this illegal war?