Saturday, June 25, 2005

The World Tribunal on Iraq

As the Neville Brothers and Heart have both sang:

Tell it like it is
Don't be ashamed to let your conscience be your guide

I thought of that when I read C.I.'s latest. People are telling it like it is. You need to know about this so pass it on.

The World Tribunal on Iraq

In May of 2004 I interviewed a man who had just been released from Abu Ghraib. Like so many I interviewed from various US military detention facilities who’d been tortured horrifically, he still managed to maintain his sense of humor.He began laughing when telling me how CIA agents made him beat other prisoners. He laughed, he said, because he had been beaten himself prior to this, and was so tired that all he could do to beat other detained Iraqis was lift his arm and let it drop on the other men.
Later, he laughed again as he told me what else had been done to him, when he said, “The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house.”
But this testimony is not about the indomitable spirit of the Iraqi people. About the dignity and strength of Iraqis, we need no testimony. This testimony is about ongoing violations of international law being committed by the occupiers of Iraq on a daily basis in regards to rampant torture, the neglect and obstruction of the health care sector and the ongoing failure to allow Iraqis to reconstruct their infrastructure.To discuss torture, there are many stories I could use here, but I’ll use two examples indicative of scores of others I documented while in Iraq.

What does it take to get a Saturday entry out of me after I've started assisting
The Third Estate Sunday Review? Something really important. Like Dahr Jamail's testimony before the World Tribunal on Iraq which we've quoted from above. It's an excerpt. Read "World Tribunal for Iraq, Culminating Session Testimony" in full.

The New York Timid's not interested (thus far). Apparently few are. That's why you should be interested. Where there is silence on a subject, it should peek your curiosity.

The World Tribunal on Iraq doesn't appear to merit much commentary in this country (US, to clarify for our foreign community members). Is it unimportant?

You tell me.

It's apparently unimportant to the mainstream. They're still refusing to tell you about the increased bombings beginning in May of 2002. (As reported by from Michael Smith's "
RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war." Also note, as Charlie pointed out, Jeremy Scahill's "The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun." )

The World Tribunal on Iraq is going on right now. You can watch or listen online.

A number of e-mails came in on Baby Cries a Lot who got all teary eyed and spoke of his children as the reason why America needs to stay in Iraq. No, they aren't over there and, no, it didn't make any sense but does anyone expect sense from Baby Cries a Lot?

He whimpers, he whines, he tears up, he chokes up. Put him back on the shelf already because amidst all the drama, there's no functioning brain there.

Baby Cries a Lot resulted in over 800 e-mails on Friday so we'll note him here in terms of those who speak truth and those who gatekeep. Yes, he's so dumb that he's still claiming the Pottery Barn has a policy that it doesn't have. Yes, he's so wimpy he can't "fight" (or make a case) for anything without faking tears.

Baby Cries a Lot pimps his AEI friends. Baby Cries a Lot couldn't decide from one day to the next in January if he thought there was a problem in Ohio or not. Some days he did and spoke with (fake) passion, some days he resorted to calling those questioning the vote "tin foil hat conspiracy" types.

Here's a question. Why are some of you still listening to Baby Cries a Lot?

He angers you, I don't blame you. But you're not getting anything from him. So just walk on, Watch or listen to
Democracy Now!, go to Pacifica, go to NPR, play some music. Go to Air America Place and check out the archives for The Laura Flanders Show, The Mike Malloy Show, The Majority Report, The Randi Rhodes Show, Ecotalk, So What Else Is News?, The Rachel Maddow Show, Ring of Fire and others.

Baby Cries a Lot is a nasty person, as you've noted in countless e-mails.

Baby Cries a Lot didn't serve but now wants to act as not just the troops' supporter but as the War Cheerleader.

Baby Cries a Lot has a meltdown when, for instance, Bob Somerby begins offering criticism of a policy or a politician. (And Somerby's not invited back.) Baby Cries a Lot freaks when in the midst of "IS REAGAN STILL DEAD!" coverage, Greg Palast offers a sound critique of Reagan's Latin American policies. Baby Cries a Lot rushes to cut Jeremy Glick off (though not by saying "Shut up!") when Glick attempts to speak.

Baby Cries a Lot was perfectly happy to pimp Glick's late father and to use that to settle a score with his nemisis. He just wasn't happy to let Jeremy Glick speak beyond what happened on Fox "News."

He's a whiney ass gatekeeper who's peddled sexism to get where he is. Quit listening.

There's nothing he's ever going to say that will matter.

But here's something that does matter,
The World Tribunal on Iraq.

And you can hear it
live, right now.

"They were telling us get out, get out, and then the roof collapsed on us. . . . They went away, the house is no longer there, I do not have a car, I have nothing. I saved my children from the rubble. . . . The ceiling collapsed on us. . . . Nobody came and asked us what we were doing. . . . Nothing was told us. They say that we can bomb anything we want to, we can interrogate anyone we want to. Now they've left us houseless. What right do they have to do this?"

You won't hear about that from Baby Cries a Lot.

He's working the clampdown, in diapers, but he's working it.

He's the court jester to the Bully Boy. You mention in your e-mails that he worked up, as he worked up those phoney tears, a defense for the Bully Boy. Well that tells you everything you need to know, now doesn't it?

He wants to be a player in his new field (there's very little left to him elsewhere which is why he entertains corporations). If you've got time, and some of you appear to have that time, to write and complain about what Baby Cries a Lot did this week, then you've got time to go online and
listen or watch the testimony that's ongoing.

Mike Malloy, last night, offered that even if the Democratic Party gained a majority in the 2006 election, they wouldn't impeach the Bully Boy. He's right. That won't come from D.C. If it comes, it will have to come from outside D.C. -- pressure will have to be brought on your representatives to force the issue. And if you're willing to do that, you need to know what happened. You're not going to learn about it in the New York Timid. (Or on Baby Cries a Lot's show.) You will hear about this on
Democracy Now! (and they noted it Friday and I'm sure will address it next week). But if you're online right now for whatever reason and you're at a computer with speakers or have a pair of headphones, you probably are able to listen to the Tribunal.

You can moan next week in e-mails about what Baby Cries a Lot pushed as "liberal" or "progressive" and how he yucked it up with his centrist and right-wing "pals." You can complain about how he shoots down any idea other than "stay the course." (While the "course" is killing Iraqis and the Coalition of the Coerced whose "brave" leaders, including the Bully Boy, don't seem concerned with the body count.) But if you want to do that, I want to see something in the e-mail that suggests you took the time to inform yourself. You can do that by following the
Tribunal. Give it fifteen minutes. You gave Baby Cries a Lot three hours a day for five days this past week.

You're pinning your hopes on something that's not going to happen. There will be no awakening for Baby Cries a Lot until the troops are withdrawn. At that point, he'll sob and say he wanted it all along. You've all heard the inconsistencies in his day to day discussions. Because, despite the fact that he pushes himself as it, he's not a political person, you've failed to realize that he twists in the wind and always has.

Next week, Baby Cries a Lot will no doubt tear up again and give yet another "fathers & son" talk. And it will be as meaningless next week as it was this week as it was the week before as it was the week before that . . .

It has nothing to do with reality.

The Iraq World Tribunal has to do with reality. People are offering testimony. There's no Baby Cries a Lot there to rush in and stop them or to change the topic or say "We have to go to commercial" and nurse his wounded ego throughout the following segments.

This is reality and you can listen to (or watch it).

Democracy Now! Friday:

World Tribunal on Iraq Opens In Turkey
In Turkey, the World Tribunal on Iraq is opening its three-day session today. The gathering is modeled after the International War Crimes Tribunal that British philosopher Bertrand Russell formed in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Russell's tribunal was charged with conducting 'a solemn and historic investigation' of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam in order to 'prevent the crime of silence.' Speaking at the World Tribunal on Iraq will be Indian writer Arundhati Roy, former UN Assistant Secretary General Dennis Halliday, independent journalist Dahr Jamail and others.

Baby Cries a Lot channels Robert McNamara via the sixties. That says everything you need to know about Baby Cries a Lot. (Who will probably emerge from a Fog of War years from now to speak out against the invasion/occupation of Iraq while still justifiying some similar action that's going on then.) (Yes, there will be future similar actions. Those like Baby Cries a Lot make that possible. This war and the next brought to you by the Babies Cry a Lot.)

We can complain about someone who's useless or we can focus on what does matter. While I understand the e-mailers complaints, no, I'm not going to fact check Baby Cries a Lot. Life is too short for me to put up with his nonsense. And while it's true that others have pushed him as a brave liberal voice, we haven't done that here. We've largely avoided him. Let's continue to do that and focus on what matters.

The World Tribunal on Iraq matters. You can follow it online.

As I type, Tim Goodrich is about to continue speaking. Goodrich is a founding member of
IVAW -- an organization committed to ending the occupation. And though they don't feel the need to trumpet it in constant advertisements, "they were there."

How people are recurited into the military, who joins the military and why. . . . Military life is glorified and soldiers are seen as role models. In my case, I wanted to join the military since I was five-years-old . . .

He's speaking of the socio-economic draft right now. And you won't hear him saying that seated across from Baby Cries a Lot. You won't hear Jim Massey or Diana Morrisson or Michael Hoffman or any of the others. You will hear the clampdowners telling you that you can't speak because you weren't there or telling a Vietnam vet that they don't know what they're talking about because it's "not Nam, man." Your information flow with Baby Cries a Lot is severely restricted.

So you can wait until Monday and get upset that Baby Cries a Lot is goofing around for three hours with the occassionally teary sob, or you can make the effort to find out for yourself what's going on. Member can complain about Baby Cries a Lot but if you're going to do that, put something in the e-mail that demonstrates that not only do you realize the would-be Bob Hope has nothing to say, but also indicates you did make a point to get actual information you can use somewhere else.

Here's where I think (as always, I could be wrong), we are in the testimony to the

12:00 – 12:20 Witness -
Tim Goodrich: The Conduct of the US Army

12:20 – 12:40
Amal Sawadi: Detentions and Prison Conditions

12:40 – 13:00 Witness -
Fadhil Al Bedrani: Collective Punishment

13:00 – 13:20 Questions from the Jury

13:20 – 14:30 LunchFourth Session / Cont. ... (Moderator: Joel Kovel)

14:30 – 14:50
Joel Kovel: Effects of the War on the Infrastructure

14:50 – 15:10
Herbert Docena: Economic Colonization

15:10 – 15:30
Mohammed Al Rahoo: Iraqi Law Under Occupation

15:30 – 15:50
Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty: The Transfer of Power in Iraq

15:50 – 16:10
Niloufer Bhagwat: The Privatization of War

16:10 – 16:30 Questions from the Jury

16:30 – 16:50 Coffee Break

16:50 – 17:10
Nermin al Mufti: The Occupation as Prison

17:10 – 17:30
Barbara Olshansky: Covert Practices in the U.S. War on Terror and the
Implications for International Law: The Guantanamo Example

17:30 – 17:50 Witness -
Mark Manning / Rana M. Mustafa: Testimony on Falluja

17:50 – 18:10
Abdul Wahab Al Obeidi: Human Rights Violations and the Disappeared
in Iraq18:10 – 18:30
Johan Galtung: Human Rights and the U.S./U.K. Illegal Attack on Iraq

18:30 – 18:50 Questions from the Jury


0509:00 – 09:10 Summary of the Previous DayFifith Session / Cultural Heritage, Environment and World Resources (Moderator: Hilal Elver)

09:10 – 09:20
Hilal Elver: The Framework of the Session

09:20 – 09:40
Gül Pulhan: The Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Report from the
Istanbul Initiative

09:40 – 10:00 Witness -
Amal Al Khedairy: Testimony on the Destruction of Cultural Heritage

10:00 – 10:20
Joel Kovel: The Ecological Implications of the War

10:20 – 10:40 Witness -
Souad Naji Al-Azzawi: Tes. on Radioactive Contamination in Iraq

10:40 – 11:00 Questions from the Jury

11:00 – 11:20 Coffee BreakSixth Session / Global Security Environment and Future
Alternatives (Moderator: Ayşe Gül Altınay)

11:20 – 11:40
Ayşe Gül Altınay: Militarism and the Culture of Violence

11:40 – 12:00
Nadje Al-Ali: Gender and War: The Plight of Iraqi Women

12:00 – 12:20
Liz Fekete: Creating Racism and Intolerance

12:20 – 12:40
Samir Amin: The Economy of Militarization

12:40 – 13:00
Ahmad Mohamed Al-Jaradat: Relationship between Iraq, Palestine and

13:00 – 13:20 Questions from the Jury

13:20 – 14:30 LunchSixth Session / Continues

14:30 – 14:50
Wamidh Nadhmi: Polarization and the Narrowing Scope of Political Alternatives

14:50 – 15:10
John Ross: Collateral Damage: The Mexican Example

15:10 – 15:30
Christine Chinkin: Human Security in Iraq

15:30 – 15:50
Ken Coates: The Future of the Peace Movement

15:50 – 16:10
Corrine Kumar: Towards a New Political Imaginary

16:10 – 16:30
Biju Matthew: Alternatives for an Alternative Future

16:30 – 17:00
WTI İstanbul Coordination: The WTI as an Alternative: An Experimental

17:00 – 17:20 Questions from the Jury

17:20 – 17:40 Coffee Break

17:40 – 18:00
Richard Falk - Closing Speech on Behalf of the Panel of Advocates

18:00 – 18:20
Arundhati Roy - Closing Speech on Behalf of the Jury of Conscience

18:20 – 18:30 The Closing of the World Tribunal on Iraq, Istanbul.

27 JUNE 2005

11.00 Press conference announcing the decision of the Jury of Conscience at
Hotel Armada

You can complain about Baby Cries a Lot (as many of you have) but you can also make a point to inform yourself. The World Tribunal on Iraq is being conducted right now. You can see it as a symbolic action or as a resource for information or however you want to see it. But you can also follow the proceedings online.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"What do you plan to do with all your freedom" the new sheriff said

Got a call this morning. Had no idea who it was. Finally, I realized it was Rebecca. She sounded awful. Even with a summer cold she was implementing another operation Circle Jerk. Always happy to get the word out or to "honor" the delightful Bill Keller who coined the term.

But before I do that, I want to take a moment to say "Welcome to the blog world" to Michael who started his own blog last night. It's called Mikey Likes It! and that exclamation point is part of the title, like with Democracy Now! which Michael loves as much as I do. And let me steer you to a headline from DN!:

New Poll: Americans Against Iraq War
Meanwhile, the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war in Iraq and a growing number of them are dissatisfied with the war on terrorism. The poll was released yesterday and shows that support for the war has fallen significantly since March and is hovering at about 40 percent

Now, cue the theme to Mission Impossible, from The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Editorial: "Illegal" bombing raids? When will the domestic press note this?
A SHARP increase in British and American bombing raids on Iraq in the run-up to war "to put pressure on the regime" was illegal under international law, according to leaked Foreign Office legal advice.
The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later RAF and USAF jets began "spikes of activity" designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the allies a pretext for war.
The Foreign Office advice shows military action to pressurise the regime was "not consistent with" UN law, despite American claims that it was.
The decision to provoke the Iraqis emerged in leaked minutes of a meeting between Tony Blair and his most senior advisers -- the so-called Downing Street memo published by The Sunday Times shortly before the general election.

It's Sunday, it's the editorial, we're highlighting a report, so of course it's Michael Smith's. Of course we have to look overseas to find "
British bombing raids were illegal, says Foreign Office" in The Sunday Times of London.

"Illegal under international law?" That's a chage, a strong one. We're confused as to why it's received so little attention. "Spikes of activity," as we've noted here and C.I.'s noted at The Common Ills, mean the increased bombings that took place before Congress authorized the Bully Boy to act. "Spikes of activity" also refer to the attacks on a country supposedly run by a madman possessing WMDs that he was looney enough to use. That was the public commentary from the Bully Boy and the Boy-ettes, right?

As C.I.
wrote, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim "Saddam has WMDs! We're all at risk!" and increase the bombings. If you really believe the WMD lie (we all know it was a lie now, right?) you don't attempt to start a war before you're ready. You don't put your country at risk. If you really believe there's a risk, to invite an attack when you're unprepared, a WMD attack, may border on derelicition of duty for the one who wanted the whole nation (military and civilian) to call him "commander-in-chief." (Note to Diane Sawyer, unless you enlisted, he wasn't YOUR commander-in-chief, nor was he the Dixie Chicks' "commnader-in-chief.")

Now if you feel there's no risk, then that means you were lying. You were lying to the people, you were lying to Congress.

We're prepared to argue either way, just let us know which lie you intend to stick to this time.

Did you believe Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that the nation was risk? If so, you put everyone at risk by increasing the bombings to invite an attack.

Did you not believe in the WMD myth? If that's the case, you lied us into war.

We're betting it was the second one but we're aware that the only one who has more of problem than our mainstream press with applying the term "liar" to you is . . . well, you.

So do you want to stick to the "I told the truth!" defense?

We think it's a loser. (We think both are losing positions for you.)

Sticking to the "I'm another George who can never tell a lie" defense leaves you wide open for charges of recklessly endangering the citizens and the nation you swore to protect. Sometimes, it seems like the Bully Boy really forgets his job duties.

Again, tell us which story you're going to stick to so we can make our case. We'll take either option: lying us into an illegal war or risking the lives of many Americans.

As for the press, one Scott Shane article does not a paper of record make. Possibly The Timid's been limbering up for a limbo contest? If so, trust us, you'll surely come in first. Now how about getting back into the business of news?

The nation needs to know what's going on and what is at stake. Citizens have depended upon one another because the press didn't do their job. Publicity releases do not a news article make.

But we think, deep inside, there's a part of you that's itching to prove what you can do. Somewhere inside, you want to strut your stuff if only to prove to the country that the bloggers (making up Bill Keller's fantasy "circle jerk") are full of crap.

Have at it, big boys & girls. Pimp slap us around by showing just what you can do when you marshall all the reporters you have on staff and use the full weight of your paper to get behind a story.

But until that day comes, lose terms like "circler jerks," or "arm chair media critics" (another one Keller's fond of) and drop the attacks on web sites and bloggers because the reality is we've done the reporting you've refused to do.

"Reporting!" we can hear the snort coming down from Mount Keller.

Yeah, the same kind of brave reporting you run on Monday where a Timid reporter "reports" from the safety of his or her arm chair on who said what on the Sunday Chat & Chews.

The Associated Press is getting behind this story. A few regional papers have already run their opinion pieces. Rumblings all around, probably not a good time for The Timid to take a pass.

As we said in last week's editorial, "
Mainstream press, do your damn job."

Hats off to C.I. who got two mentions
of the latest from The Sunday Times of London up last night (while on a break from helping us). We're sure that what C.I. could do in fifteen minutes, you with your large staff can do in five. If you apply yourselves. We'll be handing out grades next week.

posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @
Sunday, June 19, 2005

I'll give you another hit off my "remix" only this time by way of The Common Ills:

Islam Online reports that US occupation forces have detained Iraqi women as "bargaining chips" (Omar Salah Al-Din & Khalid Yassin El-Yassari)
US occupation forces completed on Sunday, June 19, the release of twenty one Iraqi women held as a bargain chip in the northern city of Mosul.
"The release came after massive protests organized by the Islamic Party and the Islamic organization for human rights over the past three days," Nour Al-Din Al-Hayalli, the Islamic Party's media officer in Mosul, told
The Islamic party championed a massive demonstration following the Friday prayers on June 17 to press for the immediate release of all Iraqi women in the US custody.Assembling outside the Sedek Rashan mosque, protestors denounced the American occupation for dishonoring the Iraqi people by detaining women.
They carried photos of detained women, demanding the government of Ibrahim Jaafari to live up to its responsibilities toward the Iraqi people.

The above was sent in by Erika. It's from Islam Online, Omar Salah Al-Din and Khalid Yassin El-Yassari's "US Frees Iraqi Woman Detainees After Protests" and it's disgusting (as Erika noted in her e-mail). Barganing chips? We're holding women as bargaining chips?

Is this story in our press (United States)? No one but Erika e-mailed on it so I'm thinking it's not. (As always, I could be wrong.)

So our hearts & minds campaign now includes taking women and holding them as bargaining chips? And that's apparently okay or, at least, something we're not going to talk about.
I don't think so. It is not okay, it is not alright, it is not "the product of war" or "collateral damage." If the report is true it's disgusting. There is no "higher ground" left for us to take in Iraq, we're firmly in the gutter now.

Al-Hayalli said many Iraqi families have complained that the occupation forces were holding women as a bargain chip against relatives reportedly involved in resistance operations.
That's how we do things now? The Bully Boy tries to the turn the military into the mafia?

How exactly did the discussion for that plan of action take place?

Rummy: We think we know some resistance fighters but we can't catch them. So what if, I was watching Scarface last night, we went after the women?
Bully Boy: Great idea! I love it! Reminds me of when we used to do panty raids in my prep school!
Rummy: But you went to an all boys prep school?
Bully Boy: What's your point? Do it, Rummy! Do it!

Is that how it went?

Who made the call that it was okay to grab people as barganing chips?

Let's note, they don't even know who the resistance is. They may suspect, but they don't know. So on suspicion of the activities of some, they grabbed people that they don't even think are involved.

Do you realize how disgusting that is? How far from what we're supposed to stand for that takes us?

If the protests hadn't led to the women's release, what next? Do we decide, if the resistance continues (and it will) that we start "offing" a few of the women we have detained to show the resistance we mean "business?" Is that the next step?

You've already done a round up and imprisoned people that you think are innocent. You've already violated that aspect of what America is supposed to stand for. It's not that hard to then decide that you'll torture these detained women or worse.

This is disgusting. Erika is exactly right, this is vile and goes against all notions of what we're supposed to stand for. There is no justification for it -- no legal or moral justification. It's just flat out wrong, flat out illegal, flat out immoral, flat out unethical. It never should have happened.
And that's the thing, day after day we lose our grip on what we're supposed to represent. We trash notions of democracy, notions of freedom, notions of rule of law. The invasion/occupation should never have happened to begin with.

But those who want to argue we need to "stay the course" regardless (think of Betty's "husband") better realize what we're turning into and what we're doing over there. They better realize what we're sacrificing and destroying within ourselves and our concepts of freedom and humanity.

It's not getting better. Trot out the Happy Talkers, launch a new round of Operation Happy Talk, tell us that ceiling fans went up in some building or that you're really going to work, at some point, on the water system (how long have we been waiting on that?). Keep jaw boning about things that have nothing to do with what's going on.

And the New York Timid won't tell you about it. Embed reporters, reporting from the Green Zone, have other concerns. Which is why one of them (you know which one) can go on radio and speak of what "we" are trying to do. They've lost objectivity, they've forgotten that they're not there to write titters for the base newsletter, that they're actually supposed to be reporting on what's happening, not what Centcom tells them is happening, but what is actually going on.
The stay the courses see an event like the one excerpted above and avert their eyes or speak of the "costs of war." I'm not prepared to pay the "cost" of abandoning living in free society. Nor am I prepared to go along blindly as we degrade everything we are taught to hold dear. The longer we are over there, the more we lose our way.

What's going on Iraq, the destruction of Falluja, whatever, it's disgusting. But for those Happy Talkers who see Iraqis and only see the "other," let's put this to their base self-interests because they lack the ability to see the humanity in anyone who doesn't look like them or talk like them.
So Happy Talkers need to ask themselves how much are they prepared to "pay?" What "cost" is okay?

They don't care what goes on over there. They justify it as needed to "spread democracy" or some such b.s. Well, what about what it's doing to our country? I won't note the military casualities because that doesn't seem to bother them either.

But I will note that we long ago crossed a line and if they're okay with that, if they're okay with tossing out everything we're supposed to stand for and believe in, then these people who paint themselves as uber patriots really must hate this country. You really have to hate it to trash every concept that we're taught it was built upon.

We're becoming something very ugly. Forget in the rest of the world's eyes because Happy Talkers aren't concerned with that or "global tests" or "polls." But we're becoming something very ugly in our own eyes. And we can look away or pretend it's not happening, but it doesn't change reality.

When we're silent on Iraqi women being detained because their family members are suspects, we're giving our approval. Silent or otherwise, we're endorsing that as okay. So when that "policy" that we're okay with comes back home and we start seeing it used by law enforcement in this country, we've already endorsed it. We've said it's "what had to be done" with our shrug or silence and, therefore, there's no reason for it not to be used here.

Certainly, we have horrible crimes in this country. So if it's okay to be used in Iraq, then it's okay to be used here, right? Maybe we'll start out by using it on someone accused of terrorism?
The administration loves to convict by the press. They're not so crazy about getting anyone into an actual court room (ask Jose Padilla), but they're happy to try their cases through the media.
So they pick X. X's is an American citizen. Probably of Arab descent because that's easier to target without a huge uproar. People get nervous apparently about defending rule of law because, well, it's a person of Arab descent, what if they did do something!
Rule of law is rule of law. Everyone's guaranteed their day in court. (It's just the Bully Boy who thinks he can subvert the Constitution.) But knowing that someone of Arab descent won't stir a lot of concern in our press or public, they target X.

Then after, what?, three years in a prison, holding cell, or military base, they come back out to the mikes and cameras and reveal that they didn't have luck "cracking" him so they've also taken in his wife. They don't think she did anything, they're not accusing her of anything, but they needed a "bargaining chip." So it's okay, right?

And probably for some people it will be. The Timid may launch an editorial, a tiny one, but there won't be huge press coverage and what there is will just repeat the administration's line without questioning.

So we've used family as a "bargaining chip" there. And there wasn't an uproar. Even though it goes against every legal convention in this country. So what's next? Drug dealers? Do we detain their family members? What about organized crime? Probably that's where we'd hit hardest because we likened, in the initial round ups following 9-11, "terrorism suspects" to members of organized crime. So we'll go after family members of organized crime suspects (suspects, no convictions), family members we have nothing to charge them with, and we'll round them up and detain them.

At what point in this process do you say no?

It's not very "American" to do any of it. But it's not very "American" to detain Iraqi women as "barganing chips." What it is is shameful. It goes against everything we're supposed to believe in. The Bully Boy has so trashed our notions of self that things are being done in our name, under his orders (Diane Sawyer couldn't stop noting he was "our commander-in-chief" in that looney attempt to shame the Dixie Chicks), that it's hurting us. Not just in terms of blowback, but in terms of what we stand for and how we see ourselves.

Again, Erika's right. It's disgusting.

There are other reasons to "Bring the Troops Home," ones that don't involve our own self-interests. (Link takes you to the February 2005 editorial from The Progressive. We noted it in January and agree with all the points raised.) They are solid reasons and we've endorsed them and continue to do so. But for those Happy Talkers that can't seem to grasp any concern further than their own noses, maybe it's time for them to ask what "costs" they are willing to pay in terms of their own lives and liberties and how far they're willing to allow the Bully Boy to trash the United States.

Tossing my two pennies, it's disgusting. We should be outraged. We should be demanding answers. Note the silence that greeted the news that we are using Iraqi women as bargaining chips.

GRRRR! Let's remember what Tori Amos sings (and wrote) in the title track to Scarlet's Walk:

"What do you plan to do
with all your freedom"
the new sheriff said
quite proud of his Badge
You must admit the land
is now in good hands
yes, time will tell that
you just lift your lamp
I will follow
her on her path
Scarlet's Walk
through the violets
just tell your Gods for me
all debts are off this year
they're free to leave
yes, they're free to leave

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Albert wonders what I'm doing

Albert e-mails to ask: So Kat, what you doing? Where's the White Stripes review?

I'll complete it by Saturday. Which means I'll start it shortly.

What have I been doing, Albert wonders?

Well we started Saturday afternoon working on The Third Estate Sunday Review. There were all sort of glitches and delays, some computer, some phone. At about one in the morning, Jim was apologizing to C.I. because the whole point of starting early was to finish early so everyone could get a night of sleep. And with C.I.'s health (which is improving), it was really important to Jim that we be done early. It ended up being an all nighter.

We'd all be looking over a final draft of a post and go to save it and the thing would vanish. "Recover Post," a Blogger option, either didn't work at all or only gave you the first paragraph and maybe a line from the second one. It was a total nightmare. There was a lot of cursing each time that happened. And it happened repeatedly.

There was a "Dear Third Estate Sunday Review" piece that was going up. But after six times of losing it, it got ditched. The media roundtable takes a great deal of time. I think what's up is about half of what was discussed. We do that, we talk, Ava takes notes, C.I. takes notes, every now and then one of them will say it's time for a break or someone else will. Or we'll lose Betty on the phone or this burst of static will come in from someone's phone.

One thing that would save Ava and C.I. from taking notes would be doing it, the roundtable, via instant messenger. But how? If I say, for instance, "Well the big issue for me was ___," Jess Dona and Rebecca might all have a response right then and they're typing away and the slow typer ends up being left out because we've already moved on to another topic.

After the whole thing's up, which is usually Ava, C.I., Jim and Dallas (who tracks down the links while it's going on so they can be added when it's time to start the transcription) doing that work, we then all look at it. Not to change our remarks but to figure out where the emphasis should go which means "Is that topic really important? Should this one be part of the roundtable?" Four lenghty discussions on other topics didn't make the roundtable this week. Entire portions of those discussions were eliminated.

So with the two hours minimum we spend on the roundtable doing the discussion, the talk part, add in at least two hours more, at least, for Ava, C.I., Jim and Dallas to get the whole thing into some rough transcript. And then we end up with at least an hour of debate over whether a topic is worth including or not. So at a bare minimum, a roundtable takes five hours.

Ty and I were both watching the baseball game (Jeter got two home runs) and when the talk part of the roundtable was done, Ty, Dona, Jess, Rebecca, Betty and I could have added input to something else, worked on a draft while Jim, Ava, C.I. and Dallas were getting the full draft of the roundtable together, but Ty and I were going on about the game and others had other topics to talk about and we really blew time, I'll admit it.

When everything started going wrong over and over, we were all telling Ava and C.I. to go off and do their review because they had their notes on One Tree Hill but they hadn't written their review in any form yet. They were as frustrated as the rest of us by Blogger but felt like they had to hang in with everyone else. It was only when we finally were able to get some things up at the site that they went off to write their review while the rest of us worked on the critique & response.

I e-mailed Ava this morning before going to bed, I didn't want to call her and keep her up any later and I knew she was going through the Times with C.I. because both were exhausted and they decided to do The Common Ills entry together.

I asked her if she could explain, for me to post, what went into that review.

She wrote back this afternoon. She noted they were both tired and they wrote six paragraphs and realized it was complete crap. "We needed a break but there was no time to take a break. We'd hit the wall repeatedly and were thinking, 'Oh no, we won't have a TV review. We're going to have to go back and tell everyone we can't do it.' C.I. was asking if that's what I wanted to do and said no so we just bore down, trashed the six paragraphs except for one line from the middle and did the review. I still don't know how we did it, honestly. When we got to the last line, we were both surprised. We were tired and didn't really think we had anything left in us. I hope it's funny but I haven't read it. We just posted it and rejoined you guys for the editorial."

Ava doesn't need to worry, it is funny.

What else have I been doing? Today I've been reading of U2: The Rolling Stone Files because we had all enjoyed All Yesterdays' Parties: The Velvet Underground In Print: 1966-1971, (Clinton Heylin editor) (see "Five Books, Five Minutes") and wanted to read something else on music that's written in real time. Jim wanted something about U2 and this was suggested. Maggie's a slave to Bono so I called her up this afternoon and borrowed it from her. (The others will utilize the library and I have nothing against libraries and support them but I was too lazy to go out today.)

Make a point to check out Isaiah's latest cartoon, the New York Timid cries. And check out Dallas' "Bullies Without Borders." I love the Mamas and the Papas. And on that note, check out C.I.'s take on Saturday morning's New York Timid which has Mamas and the Papas refs.