I'm doing two things tonight, I'm noting C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" so let me do that first:
Chaos and violence continue.
Today in Iraq, CBS and AP report that a car bomb "near Ana town" wounded two. While the AFP notes car bombs in Baghdad that resulted in at least three dead and at least eight wounded. And the bombing of buses in Kufa has killed at least twelve and wounded over forty. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports that: "The bomber drove his car between the two Iranian coaches as they arrived at the Maithem al-Tamar shrine".
KUNA reports that six corpses were discovered in Kirkuk, Reuters notes "a beheaded" corpse was discovered in al-Zab, AFP reports "the discovery of 35 corpses of the last 24 hours, despite a three-week old security crackdown in the capital". The "crackdown" we're not supposed to notice the failure of.
Among the many of victims of violence has been Alaa Hassan. Hassan, 35-years-old, was an unembedded journalist who died in Iraq Wednesday June 28th: " When Alaa crossed the bridge Jun. 28, gunmen sprayed his car with machine-gun fire, killing him with six bullets." Aaron Glantz remembers his sometimes co-writer in "A Story IPS Never Wanted to Tell" (IPS). Hassan and Glantz co-authored: "Basra Begins to Fall Apart" (IPS) and "U.S. Military Hides Many More Hadithas" (IPS). (That's not a complete list.)
Meanwhile Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the illegal occupation and the current prime minister, turns chatty. KUNA reports that he says Iraq is "determined to hound the 41 outlaws" (including Saddam Hussein's daughter) and again bragged about how tight he was these days with the so-called insurgents. He then began recounting his whirlwhind trip in recent days (when he might have better served Iraq by addressing the issue of the alleged rape and murders in as they were happening as opposed to waiting over five days later to even make a public comment) but somehow left out the assurances he gave everyone about how 'stable' Iraq is now and how they should start investing. Though one might expect such statements to be greeted with loud laughter, greed knows no reality. IRIN reports: "Kurds approve foreigner-friendly investment law" and Reuters reports "[a] top United Nations envoy" was in Baghdad today to extoll the IMF and World Bank, and to promise international aid and support provided "Baghdad will commit itself to a series of yet unedfined political, economic and security steps."
Bloomberg notes this on al-Maliki and others' attempts at a peace 'scam': attempts at Happy Talk: "Harith al-Dari, who heads the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars, told AFP on June 30 that the amnesty offer was meaningless because it excluded those who had targeted foreign soldiers. He also said most insurgent groups had rejected the plan because it offers no timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, AFP reported.
As noted during WBAI's Pacifica news break at noon anchored by Mitch Jeserich*, Ehren Watada was charged by the Army yesterday for his refusal to serve in the illegal war. Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) notes that "Watada said he was morally obligated to obey the Constitution, not what he claimed were unlawful orders to join in an illegal war." Courage to Resist notes: "Supporters in Washington State's Puget Sound area will gather . . . July 6, at 5pm over Interstate 5 on the Exit 119 overpass (adjacent to the entrance to Ft. Lewis)."
In other news, Mitch Jeserich also noted: "Anti-war activists are at the White House" protesting with CODEPINK and, as Medea Benjamin stated, hope to encourage the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to do as was done during Vietnam, give harbor to the war resistors.* The fasting is to put pressure on the administration and Congress to withdraw US troops from Iraq; to say no to permanent bases; to create "a massive reconstruction effort but with funds going to Iraqi, not U.S. contractors." For more information, click here.
And in trash news, does editing the Independent for a publicity stunt mean London's Independent goes easy on you? Apparently so as Andrew Buscombe works over time to defend the piggish 'rock star' Bono.
Fat and happy, if not exactly peaceful, Bono has long decided to play his own version of corporate raider (picking off the bones of others) but Buscombe appears unaware of that as he rushes to provide cover for Bono's part in releasing a videogame that brings the "joy" of declaring war on Venezuela to your own home. Unlike an earlier game Bono was involved with ("unwittingly" Buscombe would no doubt rush in to say), Mercenaries 2 World In Flames does not appear to have been financed with either US Defense Department money or CIA money. While Buscombe provides Bono with so much cover he's practically spooning him, Wednesday's KPFA Evening News provided a more in depth look at the "rock star" and his business. Though quite happy to put out videogames where one gets to attack Iraq or, now, Venezuela, Bono infamously told Jann Wenner, for the November 3, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone, that he didn't feel he could "campaign" against the illegal war in Iraq. Though he may suffer from "War Got Your Tongue?" that doesn't prevent him from profitting.
*Note: Thanks to Ruth for passing on both Mitch Jeserich items.
Why am I blogging? Most will know already! Bono.
He's Scott Stapes with less depth. (Yes, that was intended as an insult.)
When the Wall St. Journal is praising your business instinct (which is basically preying upon the misfortunes of others musicians, as Bono himself admitted), you're really not about the music and Bono hasn't been about the music for some time.
Now he's in bed with a company that's not just on the verge of releasing a video "game" about war on Venezuela, he's also in bed with a company that took money from the Defense Dept and the CIA to manufacture a training video game for . . . Iraq.
Does it get any more disgusting?
If you missed The KPFA Evening News segment Wednesday, here's my synopsis of it.
Mark set up the segment with this: "Pro-Venezuelan groups have come out against a new US video game of mercanaries waging war in Venezuela for its oils resources. Activists say the video game fuels the anti- Hugo Chavez sentiment and may influence young men to join the military. Activists are also calling on a major investor, U2's Bono, to block the game's release on the market."
The reporter then explained, "The video game, Mercenaries 2 World In Flames, depicts mercanaries waging a coup d'etat on the Venezuelan government and taking over its oil resources. The game shows a White mercenary waging warfare in the black and brown cities of Venezuela."
Gunnar Gundersen (of the Venezuelan Solidarity Network) said of the game, "It's a piece of propaganda first of all trying to use a lot of stereotypical images to undermine the image of Venezuela in general and in particular to sort of demonize the current government of Venezuela and the president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez through this game and a sense to desentistize a segment of the public . . . that it's okay to go and invade . . .
He's talking about the video "game" -- Bono's Elevation ponied up 300 million to go into business with Pandemic Studios. I've thought Bono was an idiot doing long term damage (getting behind Bully Boy's AIDS 'education' which never delivers the promised monies but, in the meantime makes sure to do long term damage by confusing the issues of transmission and prevention).
But this even surprised me.
Not only is our prig of peace supporting war on Venezuela, he's also gone into business with someone who has contracted with the CIA and the Defense Dept. That's just disgusting.
As Gunnersen said, "To create a videogame where we go invade yet another country to take over its oil at this time is just reprehensible. . . . And for somebody who associates themselves with humanitarian efforts . . . and peace . . .. . . for Bono to be associated with it is even more reprehensible."
I'd add that it's reprehensible that three years into an illegal war he wants to give 'hints' that he is opposed to it but refuses to say that directly because of his lame ass charity. He's been hobknobbing with Republicans so long that he's forgotten who his audience was. No one's fault but his own. I love it when he foolishly 'explains' the United States (which he always seems to call "America" -- rather strange for someone who should be aware of the various Americas). From his tour bus, he's diagnosed or ills. It's no surprise that his snap-diagnosis would lead to a treatment requiring him to get in bed with Republicans.
He's just disgusting and embarrassing now. Hopefully, there will be enough shaming of him to stop the release of what's likely more CIA and Defense Dept "games." But I fear he's so far gone that he lacks shame these days.
My thoughts for tonight. Check out Sunny's ""Substituting for Elaine."
Bono's publicist did not return KPFA's calls by airtime.