Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Short post

Elaine's "Should The Notion be finger-pointing?" is a must read, go read it. Thank you for all the great e-mails but tonight, that's the one you should read. I would also encourage you to read Mike's "Thoughts on McGreevey" which address Jim McGreevey and examines Cipel's counter-claims that (a) he was harrassed, (b) he's straight and (c) there was no affair -- Mike examines it front a straight male perspective and doesn't feel Cipel's claims hold up. (For the record, I don't either.) Have you sampled GreenStone Media yet? I'll add them to my links at some other point this week. I'm too tired tonight. I went with C.I. to speak today and it went really well but I'm not like C.I., I can't hop off a plane, talk, hop on a plane, come back and not be worn out. It leaves me too disoriented. (Plus, I'm trying to get a second review ready and I had to do the big packing for the big trip when we got back. I was on the phone with Rebecca asking her what to pack because I'm not sure how cold it is in the east already.) But GreenStone Media started up this summer. I did catch Mo's show. Mo Gaffney is very funny and so is the woman she's paired up with. They make a good team. If you're looking for a conversation and you'd like to laugh, consider checking out the show. There are issues (and issues touched on) but this isn't a news program or news. This is more of a sharing sort of thing. That's not an insult.

I would love to sample the other two programs (they have a fourth coming to the lineup) but I doubt I'll be able to. One thing I will listen to, tomorrow, because it's Wednesday is? Guns and Butter on KPFA, I never found time to listen to last week's. I'm planning on listening to it on the plane flight. And if tomorrow's crazy, Toni will tape it for me and I'll listen to that one then as well. And this Sunday, KPFA has the following event:

9/11 & American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out
Sunday , September 24

7:00 PM
Martin Luther King Middle School

1781 Rose StreetBerkeley, CA
A KPFA original event gathering scholars who confront the unspeakable:
DAVID RAY GRIFFIN - Professor Of Philosophy and Theology, Emeritus, Claremont Graduate University. He is the author or editor of some 30 books, including The New Pearl Harbor, Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004) The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005) Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (2006)
PETER DALE SCOTT - former Canadian diplomat, Professor of English, Emeritus, at U.C. Berkeley. Books include: Drugs, Oil and War; The U.S. in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina, The Iran-Contra Connection, and Coming To Jakarta. Forthcoming from U.C. Press: The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. He won the 2002 Lannan Poetry Award.
RAY McGOVERN, host - Army officer, CIA analyst for 27 years (from John F. Kennedy to George H. W. Bush administrations). Founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. His articles and op-eds have appeared in newspapers around the country, in Europe, on TomPaine.com, Truthout.com, Commondreams.org, Counterpunch.org and Antiwar.com. McGovern has appeared in several video documentaries-notably, Robert Greenwald's "Uncovered: The War on Iraq" and "Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror" (produced by John Pilger). He writes and speaks for the arm of Tell the Word called "Speaking Truth to Power."
PETER PHILLIPS - Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University, Director of
Project Censored (with Bridget Thornton and Celeste Vogler), a media research organization, whose annual compilations are published by W.W. Norton. "Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism." - Walter Cronkite. His senior-level research assistants are Bridget Thornton and Celeste Vogler.
KEVIN RYAN - Certified Quality Engineer, B.S. in Chemistry, many years Laboratory Operations Manager and then Site Manager at Environmental Health Laboratories. On March 15, 2006 Ryan gave a lecture titled A 9/11 Whistleblower Examines the Official Conspiracy Theory in Bloomington, Indiana. This lecture was taped and broadcast.
"We have put out this volume in the conviction that 9/11 was not only the largest and least-investigated homicide in American history but perhaps also the largest hoax, with extremely fateful consequences for human civilization as a whole. If our educational community cannot address this issue, then it risks remaining merely "academic" in the worst sense of that term." - statement of editors David Ray Griffin & Peter Dale Scott
wheelchair accessible, substantial free parking
tickets: $15 advance, $20 door (available August 25 at Bay Area independent bookstores or
http://www.kpfa.org/tickets) Bookstores (always to be supported!) - EAST BAY: Black Oak, Cody's 4th Street, DIESEL a Bookstore, Moe's Books, Pegasus (both stores), Pendragon, Walden Pond SAN FRANCISCO: Cody's, Modern Times
Event sponsors: KPFA 94.1FM + Pacifica Radio, Northern California 9-11 Truth Alliance, Interlink Publishing + Bay Area independent bookstores
Media Contact: Bob Baldock
bobbaldock@kpfa.org T: 510.848.5006 KPFA Radio 94.1FM, 1929 M. L. King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

That sounds like a pretty solid lineup. If you're in the area and able to attend, please do. I won't be. We're not coming back until Monday. That's in case there are problems with The Third Estate Sunday Review (technical problems). And I'm really bummed that I won't be able to attend. (Not upset with anyone. And C.I. told me that I didn't have to stay and could fly out Sunday but I know that they're going to be working and I remember March with all the technical problems so I'm not going to say, "Sure, great, have fun and let me know how it went.")

That's it for me tonight. I really am wiped out. I don't know how C.I. does it. There were two posts this morning before we took the plane and then there was grabbing time for the snapshot here, there and everywhere. I feel very sorry for Shelley Kovco (read the snapshot below) and I don't think the inquiry will have accomplished anything. I don't think there will be any accountability either. But maybe it's being tired. (I doubt it though. I think Judy Kovco spoke the truth the other day.) So here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, violence and chaos continue in Iraq, Bully Boy went to the United Nations and so did activists, a soldier pleads guilty to a war crime, Camp Democracy continuesin Washington, DC and, in Australia, Shelley Kovco tells the military inquiry into the Aprtil 21st Baghdad death of her husband, "'Sorry' just doesn't cut it after the first time."

Starting in Australia, on April 21, 2006, Jake Kovco became the first Australian soldier to die in Iraq. For months now, a military inquiry into his death and the problems immediately after (including the destruction of evidence and losing his body) has been ongoing.

Belinda Tasker (Herald-Sun) reports that the head of the inquiry, Group Captain Warren Cook, has stated: "It is the intenion of the board to say . . . Jake Kovco did not committ suicide. . . . I can't make it any plainer than that."

Eleanor Hall (ABC's The World Today) summarized: "It wasn't suicide. In a surprise announcement this morning, the Preisdent of the Board inquiring into the death of Private Jake Kovco in Iraq interrupted an address from one of the Kovco lawyers to say that he had already ruled out that the young soldier deliberately took his own life."
Dan Box (The Australian) reports that Colonel Leslie Young ("representing [Jake] Kovco's interests") declared that the hearing should issue a finding of accidental death or "return an open verdict" due to the destruction and loss of evidence. Box quotes Young: ""Have you ever received direct evidence that Jake was handling his weapon when it discharged? The answer is no."

This follows (see
yesterday's snapshot) the statements made by Judy Kovco, mother of Jake Kovco, to Kerry O'Brien in an interview on ABC's 7:30 Report. Judy Kovco discussed her feelings regarding the inquiry, how "the evidence so far, there is no way known, no, he did not shoot himself" and that she believes the military would cover up "an accidental shooting by somebody else or a murder". Conor Duffy (ABC's The World Today) reported that the announcement of no finding of suicide came as Lieutenant Colonel Holles "was speaking for Jake Kovco's parents, Martin and Judy, and he began addressing the board and tell them why they shouldn't find suicide."

Following the announcement that the inquiry would not issue a finding of suicide, Shelly Kovco, Jake Kovco's widow, addressed the inquiry.

PM provides a recreation of some of her statements including: "I had explained to Tyie that Daddy's mates were bringing him home so that we could say goodbye. I then had to explain to my son why we weren't picking Daddy up. No mother ever wants to tell their children their Daddy has died and they won't see him again. But out on top of that, they didn't bring Daddy home, it was another man, we have to go get Daddy in a couple of days, is pretty hard and confusing on him and me."

Tyrie is the young son of Shelley and Jake Kovco (under five-years-old) and the couple also has a younger daughter, Alana (a one-year-old).

Conor Duffy reported on the statements to Eleanor Hall (ABC's The World Today), "Eleanor, so far Shelley Kovco has remained silent throught the entire three months of the inquiry, and today she was dressed in black and she gave an emotional address, and it really revealed the extent of her anger and the sense of betrayal she feels towards the Defence Force and to the Government."

Belinda Tasker (Herald-Sun) reports that it was a five-page statement and that Shelley Kovco was "[s]obbing as she read" it. The statement directly addressed Brendan Nelson's actions. Nelson is the Defense Minister and his breathless, uninformed gushing to the media helped no one (and may have tarnished his own 'rising star'). Dan Box (The Australian) reports her stating, "Brendan Nelson has said Jake was cleaning his pistol, and then he changed his story . . . These things shouldn't have been said to the media until the truth was known."

Shelley Kovco also addressed the pain caused by some of the rumors that were circulated. (We didn't note them here when they were circulating as gospel, we won't note them now but we will note that she addressed them, and the pain they caused, in her statement.)
Belinda Tasker reports that Shelley Kovco stated "she did not hold either of her husband's roommates, Pt Ray Johnson and Pte Rob Shore, repsonsible for his death . . . Likewise, she said she did not believe another soldier, Pte Steve Carr, whose DNA was found on Pte Kovco's pistol, was to blame."

Also speaking was David Small, Shelley Kovco's father.
Dan Box (The Australian) reports he spoke "outside the inquiry" to reporters and "said the family held Alastar Adams, the Australian consular official in Kuwait City who sealed Kovco's casket, responsible for the confusion over the body's transport." And what did Small say to the inquiry? Conor Duffy, on ABC's PM, reported: "Shelley Kovco was followed onto the stand by her father David Small, a former military man who also attacked the Defence force, saying the bungled repatriation had almost caused him to return his medals. . . He also attacked the facilities used to return Private Kovco's remains to Autralia, saying staff at the Kuwaiti morgue was illiterate and little more than fridge mechanics and cleaners." Small is quoted stating: "We have no reason to believe that Jake's death is anything but a tragic accident. However, we think that something has been withheld, perhaps with misquided good intentions. For Shelley and the kids' sake, if anyone knows anything that hasn't been said please come forward now and not in some years time as it will only increase the pain."

According to Dan Box (The Australian), it will be "about six weeks" before the board of the inquiry turns "a final report . . . [over] to the chief of the defence force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston".

Meanwhile, as noted by Aileen Alfandary on
KPFA's The Morning Show, today, Bully Boy went to the United Nations (and spoke to French president Jacques Chirac, before speech making). Bully Boy went to the United Nations and so did activists "calling for an immediate end to the war in Iraq" (Alfandary). Alfandary spoke to Leslie Cagan (United for Peace and Justice) moments before the protests were to begin. Cagan: "We are out on the streets of New York because President Bush is addressing the UN General Assembly and we're here to say no to his war, it's time to end the war, bring all the troops home and no new wars."

CBS and AP note, Bully Boy's speech included the cry "Stand up for peace." No word on whether that was greeted by UN delegates with snorts of derision or boos and hisses.

Gertrue Chavez-Dreyfuss (Reuters) reports on what took place outside with
"[t]housands of protesters including former American soldiers rallied . . . urging the U.S. government to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home." The article quotes
Raed Jarrar, "People in Iraq also want to end the war. We want our country back."

From the Bully Boy to another war war criminal -- in England, Corporal Donald Payne pleaded guilty "
to inhumanely treating civilians detained in Iraq between Sept 13 and Sept 16 2003 in Basra, Iraq" (Telegraph of London). The Guardian notes that Payne ("one of seven British troops who went on trial today facing charges linked to the death of an Iraqi civilian") was pleading guilty to chrages that "relate to the death of Baha Musa, 26, an Iraqi civilian in Basra". Jeremey Lovell (Reuters) reports that Musa is said to have had "93 injuries on his body, including a broken nose and ribs" and that "another detainee was so badly beaten that he nearly died of kidney failure."

This as
Reuters reports British military has announced that two British soldiers died in Iraq on Monday (British Iraq fatalities now stand at 118) and the BBC reports that the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, is calling "for urgent actions from Iraqi leaders and the international community to bring Iraq back from the brink." The brink? As AFP notes, "Violence continued unabated Tuesday" in Iraq.


CBS and AP report, in Baghdad, 10 people are dead and 19 wounded as a result of a "rocket attack". A car bomb, AFP reports, claimed the lives of two more people in Baghdad. Outside Baghdad, Reuters reports one dead (two wounded) from a car bomb al-Rasheed; two dead (seven wounded) in Mahmudiya from mortar attacks; and, in Baquba, two dead from a roadside bomb

AFP notes a police officer was shot dead in Baquba. Reuters notes that eleven people were shot dead today "across Baquba" and that two people were killed in Najaf.


Reuters reports that 11 corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya.

AFP reports that John Abizaid ("US Central Command chief") told Congress that he thinks "this level probably will have to be sustained through the spring and then we'll re-evaluate". He was speaking of the fact that 140,000 US troops are currently in Iraq. Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that Abizaid also spoke of the option of adding more troops "or extending the Iraq deployments of other units if needed." Apparently no one's supposed to remember the talk at the end of 2005 -- about drawing down the numbers. In June, the number was 127,000. It's now 140,000 -- like everything else the Bully Boy attempts, it goes the wrong way.

In peace news,
Camp Democracy continues its activities in Washington DC -- free and open to the public and open through October 1st. Camp Democracy's activities today revolved around media activism and tomorrow's activities focus around Women's Peace Day and is joint-sponsored by NOW and CODEPINK (among those scheduled to participate is Howard Zinn). . A complete schedule can be found here.

And, in Berkeley,
Judith Scherr (Berkeley Daily Planet) reports on the agenda for this evening's city council meeting which includes a vote on the "resolution to support Lt. Ehren Watada". Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In August, an Article 32 hearing was held. Last Friday, the military tried to sneak in a new charge ("conduct unbecoming an officer" for statements made at at the Veterans for Peace conference held in Seattle -- here at CounterPunch and here at Truthout). More information on Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org.