Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wayne Madsen and Dr. William Pepper (Ruth)

Ruth filling in on Wednesdays while Kat is in Ireland. Before I go any further, I need to suggest that you read Ava and C.I.'s "TV Review: Men in Trees, Water Cooler Critics swinging from them." Men in Trees is my granddaughter Tracey's favorite show which I had no idea until Sunday. She 'confessed' only after she read the review. I had never seen the program but she tapes it on Fridays and came over last night. That really is a show that you get caught up in. With the first episode, she brought three on tape, I thought, "Well that is a pretty good show." By the third episode, I was a little upset there wasn't a fourth to watch.

It really is involving. If you are interested in finding a TV show that will hook you, this is probably one to check out. I will add that Tracey agrees Fridays is a bad fit for the show. She is afraid that it will end up cancelled. That would be a shame because it is one of the better programs I have seen in the last few years.

KPFA's Guns and Butter aired today and, if you missed it, you can hear it in the archives. Today, I visited a friend. She had her new grandchild with her and was a bit nervous. She was excited but nervous. She, the grandchild, is three-months-old and this was the first full day she had her. Her daughter is going back to work and she figured, "If Ruth can do this, I can too." She can. But that did make us wonder how many grandmothers and other family members were watching children across the country?

Some adult-children can probably afford childcare and prefer to use grandparents but we are also aware that with the continued downward trend of the economy, for everyone not at the very top, there are probably a number of families with small children who are making the choice with little choice.

I was there to provide moral support and encouragement. This is her first grandchild and, despite raising three children, she had more jitters than a first time mother bringing her child home from the hospital. She did the wonderful job that her daughter knew she would. This is not a sacrifice for her but it is an adjustment because, outside of Treva, she is the most mobile friend I have my age. So I offered different suggestions including catching KPFA or another radio station during the day. I enjoy radio and I think it is much easier to watch a child and have that on then to have the TV on because then what are you watching?

Elijah is old enough that I do not have to keep my eye on him every moment but that was a concern early on. So we listened to The Morning Show and she really enjoyed that. Later, we listened to Guns and Butter and she was disappointed when I explained that she would not be able to listen to it every day because it only airs new programs on Wednesdays.

As she pointed out, "I've never heard anything like this on NPR." Probably not anywhere else either. It is a one of a kind show. Today the program aired segments from a New York conference. First up was Wayne Madsen who set the stage wonderfully. My friend loved what he said but wondered, "How can anyone speak the truth like that?" Hint, it is pledge time again. If you have the money to give and can donate, that is the thing that allows programs like Bonnie Faulkner's to air. Next up was Dr. William Pepper whom Kat has noted before. During the first section of his talk, we were still speaking of Mr. Madsen.

My friend had seen Matthew Rothschild's article slamming the 9-11 Truth Movement and she wondered why he was so bent out of shape and portraying everyone as "crazy"? That is a good question and one I have asked myself.

I will return to that topic shortly, but first let me note today's program.

Dr. William Pepper spoke of the interest in 9-11 in Venezuela and, as we both agreed, it would be a really sad state of affairs if another country was more interested than the United States but, fortunately, despite scoldings, snears, and smears, people in this country are willing to explore and ask questions.

There was a woman, months and months ago, that Bonnie Faulkner presented. I believe her name was Mae Brussell. She has passed now but Ms. Faulkner was, I thought, honoring the work Ms. Brussell had done and demonstrating the importance of asking questions and refusing to accept pleasing tales as the truth. Ms. Brussell was speaking of efforts to destroy the counter-culture movement and, specifically, of Charles Manson. It was a fascinating broadcast and, as I look back on it, makes me wonder why people who have no interest in something feel the need to trash those who do?

That is the question I still have over Mr. Rothschild's smear. I have heard him on many radio programs, including his own, and he always seems like a nice guy. I think it was the nastiness factor, the mean spirited way of writing, that bothered me so. That is not how he has come off on radio. Then to see the e-mail where he was so filled with glee over stirring up a "hornet's nest" further shocked me.

Ms. Faulkner does important work. I am less inclined to say that about Mr. Rothschild because of the fact that he promoted the piece, which has now been published as a book review, on 9-11 and had so much to say on that topic while having so little to say on issues that supposedly matter to him. The "hornet's nest" e-mail continues to bother me because it appears, as C.I. noted, it was nothing but an attempt at attention-getting. Some people, apparently, can only build their name up by tearing others down and that Mr. Rothschild would be one of those is something that truly saddens me.

If you are interested in more than scolding, please check out Guns and Butter. Maybe you will agree with the program, maybe you will not. But you will not be bored and you will discover a program that is not interested in repeating what every other media outlet does.

Now let me wind down this post by copying and pasting C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006. Violence and chaos continue in Iraq, Shi'ites in Parliament push to split the nation of Iraq, a new study published by the British medical journal The Lancet concludes that an estimated 655,000 Iraqis have died since the illegal war, those disputing the study will have plenty of time to gasbag since the illegal war is 'ready' to continue through 2010, but in the meantime they can dicker over the figures released by the Iraqi Health Ministry for September (2,660 Iraqis dead), and war resister Ricky Clousing stands trial in North Caroline tomorrow.

Tomorrow, at Fort Bragg, war resister Ricky Clousing faces a military trial. Clousing self-checked out of the military in June of 2005. In August, Clousing held a press conference to announce his decision to turn himself in. At the August 11, 2006 press conference, Clousing stated:

In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Upon my return to the United States I started to ask my unit the same questions I had been asking myself. Wearing the uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down. But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality?

Clousing was charged with desertion and tomorrow, October 12th, he will face a military trial. As Clousing's website notes: "After returning to military custody, the 82nd Airborne opened an investigation into Sgt. Clousing's allegations of systemic abuse and the misuse of power by US troops in Iraq. The Army has yet to announce the results of this investigation." Also noted is the press conference tomorrow at 10 am, the Quaker House, 223 Hillside Ave, Fayetteville, NC at which Ricky Clousing will speak. At noon, in downtown Fayetteville, there will be a rally to show support for Clousing.

While Ricky Clousing stands up, jaw boners get all nervous over a study published in The Lancet which estimates Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the illegal war to have reached 655,000. The study, funded by MIT and the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, follows up an earlier one published in the fall of 2004 which, as Patricia Reaney (Reuters) reports, estimated 100,000 Iraqi deaths as a result of the war during the time frame of March 2003 and September 2004. The study comes a little over three full months after the US military finally admitted that they were keeping a body count of Iraqis dying from violence throughout the country. [See Nancy A. Youssef's "U.S.: Civilian deaths feeding insurgency," Aaron Glantz' "Pentagon: Tell Us How Many Civilians You've Killed" and Juliana Lara Resende's "50,000 Dead, But Who's Counting?".] [The study published in The Lancet notes: "The US Department of Defence keeps some records of Iraqi deaths, despite initially denying that they did" and credits Sabrina Tavernise, Dexter Filkins and Eric Schmitt's "U.S. Quietly Issues Estimate Of Iraqi Civilian Casualties" from October 30, 2005 in the New York Times. Youssef's article exposed the fact that the actual figures are kept and sent out to high ranking officers in Iraq for, as a general put it to Youssef, a measurement.]

Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) observe that the latest study "breaks down to about 15,000 violent deaths a month". The study's publication comes as another estimate, from Iraq's Health Ministry, makes the news. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Lee Keath (AP) report: "More than 2,660 Iraqi civilians were killed in the capital in September amid a wave of sectarian killings and insurgent attacks, and increase of 400 over the month before". They also note that Bully Boy disputes the number in the latest study published in The Lancet.

As sillys and fools dicker, Salam Talib and Eliana Kaya ( Free Speech News, The KPFA Evening News) took a look at life on the ground in a report that aired (on both programs) yesterday and, unlike so much of the reporting from Iraq, they were actually able to speak with Iraqi women. Life on the ground in Baghdad includes outrageous prices and travel delays. One Iraqi women explained that you either wait or you take "unpaved roads". Wait? For the US military. "Today," she stated, "we've waited about 2 hours for the military to pass." In terms of prices, a woman spoke of how she has seen the prices for food rise, rise and rise. Unlike a chicken, you can get a cell phone for less than ten bucks. The price of a chicken has gone from the US equivalent of one dollar to fifteen dollars. As the report makes clear, more time is spent waiting for US military processions to move through than in the market, which, one woman explained, many tend to dart in and out of quickly due to fears of violence.

Fears of violence?


CBS and AP report that three car bombs in Baghdad wounded a total of 30 people and killed at least five. Reuters notes that a roadside bomb in Inskandariya, apparently targeting the Babil police chief, left his driver and two bodyguards wounded while a "peasant woman" was killed by a bomb on "a farm just 10 km (6 miles) southest of Kut". CNN notes a bomb "in southwestern Bagdad's Amil neighborhood" which took the lives of five and left six more wounded.


Reuters reports that, in Rasheed, three died (including two police officers) during armed "clashes"; while, in Suwayra, Raad al-Uthmani was shot dead following a home invasion by assailants; and, in Falluja, a police officer was shot dead. CBS and AP note that a police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk. CNN notes a home invasion in Baghdad ("Dora area") which killed four and wounded two more.


Reuters reports that five corpses were discoverd in Kut ("bound and blindfolded with multiple gunshot wounds, gearing signs of torture").

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, a fire in an ammunition dump that started last night was the result of mortar rounds and not an accident. Though the US military originally practiced denial, they admitted the cause of the fire and explosions this morning. AFP reports that it "lit up the night sky and spread panic in the already shell-shocked Iraqi capital," that it continued to burn through Wednesday and noted US military flack Jonathan Withington stating that it's believed to have been the work of "civilians aligned with a militia organisation". Al Jazeera reports: "While there were no reports of US casualties, the explosions marked a rare success for mortar teams working for militia and insurgent groups, which rarely cause much damage to well-protected US facilities." CNN reports: "Militia forces fired an 82 mm mortar round on a small U.S. base in southwestern Baghdad. . . The ammunition supply center that was struck held tank, artillery and small-arms rounds. A U.S. soldier and an interpreter were wounded but later returned to duty, a military spokesman said." As Aileen Alfandary noted today (KPFA's The Morning Show) this attack in Baghad "despite an increased sweep by Iraqi and American forces" -- the 'crackdown' -- juiced up and jucied up again, ongoing since June.

The continue violence and chaos comes as Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports that US Army General Peter J. Schoomaker has stated that the military can maintain the present US troop levels in Iraq through 2010 but states he's not prediciting, "It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot." Sitting ducks, commas, the troops have been called many things. Schoomaker calls them "ammo." This as, in England, Mark Oliver (Guardian of London) discusses Tony Edwards appearance at Tuesday's Jane's defence conference and stated "that governments would either have to find more money or scale back their ambitions for what their reduced military capabilities could do." Edwards was speaking of the British military.

In Iraq, the puppet governments continue to raise eye brows. Al Jazeera reports on Ayham al-Samarraie who was arrested "on charges of finanical and managerial corruption in August" for his actions while serving as a minister in Ayham al-Samarraie's government (the first post-invasion puppet government) but he was taken from the court and is now protected by US forces. al-Samarraie's "protection" raises serious questions about whether even the appearance of independence will be allowed for the puppet government. It also raises a serious issue of what was a US citizen doing holding government office in the supposedly independent Iraq.

In other Iraqi parliamentary news, Reuters reports that they have just "approved a law that sets out the mechanics of forming federal regions" with the backing of "some Shi'ite majority leaders" and that the vote was "boycotted by the Accordance Front, the largest political bloc of the Sunni minority."

To "save" the country, it had to be "divided" -- after being turned to chaos by outside forces.

In peace news, Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

War resister, Ricky Clousing faces a court-martial tomorrow. We'll close with his statement at the August 11th press conference:

First to my Family, Friends, Brothers and Sisters of the Religious Community, Members of the Press, and fellow citizens of this nation we are grateful to call home -- thank you for your support here today before I turn myself over to military custody.
My name is Ricky Clousing. I am a Sergeant in the United States Army and I have served for three years and have been absent from my unit since June 2005. Like many in uniform today, I enlisted after the events of September 11th wanting to defend the freedoms and privileges we enjoy here. After 18 months of instruction I completed my necessary training as an interrogator and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. As the invasion of Iraq unfolded I felt confused about the premise behind such an attack. But in November 2004 I deployed to Iraq in support of the first stage of elections to be held. In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Being attached to a tactical infantry unit and being exposed to the brutalities of war, I began to doubt and reconsider my beliefs. I thought about these experiences and what they meant each day I was deployed and until I was back in garrison at Fort Bragg in April of 2005. Upon my return to the United States I started to ask my unit the same questions I had been asking myself. Wearing the uniform demands subordination to your superiors and the orders passed down. But what if orders given violate morality, ethics and even legality? If those orders come unquestioned down my Chain of Command, does this exempt me from reevaluating them? My convictions, spiritually and politically, began to make me call into question my ability to perform day to day functions as a soldier. I finally concluded after much consideration that I could not train or be trained under a false pretense of fighting for freedom. At the recommendation of my unit, I sought counsel from military chaplains and counselors, and as my feelings crystallized, I realized that I could not fulfill the duties expected of me. After months of questioning, I began considering the possibility of leaving. Each day I felt haunted by my conscience which told me that my association in uniform at this time was wrong, and my involvement directly or indirectly in this organization at this time was a contradiction to my personal, moral and spiritual beliefs. I stand here before you today about to surrender myself, which was always my intention. I do not know what to expect, or the course of my future. We Americans have found ourselves in a pivotal era where we have traded humanity for patriotism. Where we have traded our civil liberties for a sense of security. I stand here before you sharing the same idea as Henry David Thoreau: as a Soldier, as an American, and as a Human Being, we mustn't lend ourselves to that same evil which we condemn. Thank you.