Monday, December 18, 2006

No title comes to mind

The illustration to the left is the cover of The Nation you didn't see all year long because they were too busy wasting everyone's time giving the finger. It goes with '"F.U." from The Nation' (The Third Estate Sunday Review).

There will be no requests that they turn over anything (to the US military) because they have done so very little, week after week.

They don't care about war resisters or they would have covered Kyle Snyder, Mark Wilkerson, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck or any of the people who stood up and stated publicly they were not going to serve in the illegal war.

The Nation doesn't care. Message received.

The magazine doesn't care about the people. It cares about sucking up to the Democratic Party, it cares about hiding behind flags.

I didn't catch C-Span Friday but C.I. did and that was almost included in the article. It was a really long article. I think C.I. will write about it in "And the war drags on" Thursday. I don't want to spoil that so I'll just note Amy Goodman didn't shrink up and hide on the program. Give her credit for guts and, as C.I. has pointed out before, not hiding behind the military or the flag.

In fact, let me note a section from Democracy Now! today (the full hour was Howard Zinn giving a speech -- you should check it out if you missed it):

They've taken over the country. They've taken over the policy. They've driven us into two disastrous wars, disastrous for our country and even more disastrous for people in the Middle East. And they have sucked up the wealth of this country and given it to the rich, and given it to the multinationals, given it to Halliburton, given it to the makers of weapons. They're ruining the environment. And they're holding on to 10,000 nuclear weapons, while they want us to worry about the fact that Iran may, in ten years, get one nuclear weapon. You see, really, how mad can you be?
And the question is, how has this been allowed to happen? How have they gotten away with it? They're not following the will of the people. I mean, they manufactured a will of the people for a very short time right after the war started, as governments are able to do right after the beginning of an armed conflict, in order to able to create an atmosphere of war hysteria. And so for a short time, they captivated the minds of the American people. That's not true anymore. The American people have begun to understand what is going on and have turned against the policies in Washington, but of course they are still there. They are still in power. The question is, you know, how did they get away with that?
So, in trying to answer the question, I looked a little at the history of Nazi Germany. No, it's not that we are Nazi Germany, but you can learn lessons from everybody and from anybody's history. In this case, I was interested in the ideas of Hermann Göring, who, you may know, was second in command to Hitler, head of the Luftwaffe. And at the end of World War II, when the Nazi leaders were put on trial in Nuremberg, Hermann Göring was in prison along with other of the leaders of the Nazi regime. And he was visited in prison by a psychologist who was given the job of interviewing the defendants at Nuremberg.
And this psychologist took notes and, in fact, a couple of years after the war, wrote a book called Nuremberg Diary, in which he recorded -- put his notes in that book, and he recorded his conversation with Hermann Göring. And he asked Göring, how come that Hitler, the Nazis were able to get the German people to go along with such absurd and ruinous policies of war and aggression? And I happen to have those notes with me. We always say, "We happen to have these things just, you know, by chance."
And Göring said, "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war? But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. It works the same way in any country."
I was interested in that last line: "It works the same way in any country." I mean, here, these are the Nazis. That's the fascist regime. We are a democracy. But it works the same way in any country, whatever you call yourself. Whether you call yourself a totalitarian state or you call yourself a democracy, it works the same way, and that is, the leaders of the country are able to cajole or coerce and entice the people into war by scaring them, telling them they're in danger, and threatening them and coercing them, that if they don’t go along, they will be considered unpatriotic. And this is what really happened in this country right after 9/11. And this is happened right after Bush raised the specter of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and got for a while the American people to go along with this.
But the question is, how did they get away with it? What about the press? What about the media? Isn't it the job of the press, isn't it the job of the media, isn't it the job of journalism to expose what governments do? Don’t journalists learn from I.F. Stone, who said, "Just remember two words," he said to young people who were studying journalism, he said, "Just remember two words: governments lie"? Well, but the media have not picked up on that. The media have gone along, and they embraced the idea of weapons of mass destruction. You remember when Colin Powell appeared before the United Nations just before the onset of the Iraq war and laid out to the UN this litany of weaponry that Iraq possessed, according to him, and gave great details in how many canisters of this and how many tons of this, and so on and so forth. And the next day, the press was just aglow with praise. They didn't do their job of questioning. They didn't do their job of asking, "Where? What is your evidence? Where did you get this intelligence? Who did you talk to? What are your sources?"

Now in the feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review I linked to earlier, an e-mail came in from a community member who is part of the Truth Movement and judging by his e-mail, his feelings were hurt. That's not me being sarcastic.

The thing was edited and C.I. always takes great pains to make sure that everyone's feelings are respected. Jim thought it was covered and cut out two paragraphs because he thought they were repeating. C.I. didn't agree that they were repeating but didn't want to re-read the article.
I should have said something but I knew what Jim was thinking which was, we've covered this. Not just in that article but in others as well.

"We'll listen" was explained in greater detail and got cut. That doesn't mean, "Oh dig us, so sympathetic." It's a reference to Drunk Uncle's assertion that 'those people' are everywhere.
It's never been a problem for C.I. (and C.I.'s noted this before which was why Jim felt comfortable editing). If something matters, C.I. listens.

What 'we'll listen' means is that we're not engineers or scientists and our focus is getting the troops home. The Truth Movement cares about that as well (and that was noted before it got edited down) and see the two as related. I don't think anyone can dispute that the government didn't use 9-11 to justify attacking Iraq. (But maybe the Susan Seaforth Hayes of independent media could?).

What was being counted on during the editing was that, most of all, every 1 was familiar with C.I.'s oft noted policy which goes something like this: "I don't know everything. I can't follow everything. Things I do follow, I don't know enough to comment on. I'm not going to gas bag on every topic."

Anyone involved in the Truth Movement knows they are giving a huge amount of time to study and explore. That's time we don't have. We don't think that time's wasted. We just don't have the time the same way we care about the environment but that's not our focus.

I was so upset when I read the e-mail because we weren't trying to say, "Oh, we'll listen to the sillys." We listen with interest and most of us listen to Bonnie Faulkner each week.

C.I.'s noted (after I outed it, sorry, I didn't realize I was outing) that friends who are firefighters do not believe the story -- friends who were part of the rescue effort. C.I. doesn't think they're crazy and doesn't humor them by listening. C.I.'s genuinely concerned. We were counting on that point being made and it was a case where we did need to repeat (if the stuff C.I. had in there that got cut was repeating) because we certainly did not mean to hurt anyone in the Truth Movement.

Jim will tell you he can be an asshole. He can be, we all can be. But he tends to take pride in it. However, when I read him the e-mail I got on the feature, he was honestly upset that someone's feelings had been hurt. If it had been some idiot in indy media, he wouldn't have given a damn. But this did matter because we were working so hard to show that this is something that people study (they don't just sit around taking hits off a honey bear they've turned into a bong and pulling theories out of their ass) and invest so much time in and that we are interested. We will listen, we will read. But our focus is the war. The way someone else might be focused on 9/11 or the environment or Guantanamo or whatever.

The member who e-mailed made a point to draw a line and put the blame on the other side of C.I. and I think that's because he realized that C.I. has gone to great pains to be respectful. We're not going to sneer and mock. People are dedicating their lives to this and they are unearthing information that is valuable. We tried very hard to get that across and if anyone else was offended, I do apologize and so does Jim.

The man who e-mailed noted how much dedication it takes from him and others and that is absolutely true. And it is respected by everyone working on that feature. If that wasn't clear, it was due to editing and not intent.

Those of us who listen to Bonnie, listen to her eagerly (on all topics). We support her work and we do not slam her. We also had a paragraph that got cut where we said if independent media (The Progressive, The Nation, etc.) is so interested all the sudden, why is it none of them can talk to Bonnie Faulkner? Get her opinion?

Cedric had a really important point and when C.I. found that was cut (after it posted) (it was a comment on race -- about a paragraph and a 1/2), C.I. was mad. There were a lot of things cut to make that a readable piece. We probably worked four hours writing that. By the time it was being edited, it was already seven in the morning. We would continue until after eleven o'clock or right before. And we started at five p.m. on Saturday. Some people took breaks but on the West coast, we worked straight through. We were just wanting to get it up. (Ava and C.I. realized Sunday night they hadn't mentioned Rosanna Arquette's performance in Crash. They'd meant to.) Everyone was tired and C.I.'s grabbing the blame on the member's feelings being hurt by saying, "I should have read it." But everyone was so tired.

Jim didn't edit out the longer section out of malice. The thng was very long and he and Dona were tightening it. He thinks if one person was offended and wrote in, a few more probably were offended and didn't write. So he asked me to note that he's very sorry that he thought the points were clear and he could remove the sections he did.

I've explained this to the member who wrote (over the phone, I asked him for his phone number and apologized over the phone because, on this issue, it does matter to me -- if he'd been in California, I would've seen if we could meet up and I could apologize and explain in person) but if anyone else felt the same way, let me be clear (a) that was not our intent and (b) Jim is sorry, I'm sorry. C.I.'s in beat-up mode over not reading over the article before it posted.
Jim said, "You don't need to be. ___ is not mad at you." C.I. doesn't care about 'mad,' C.I.'s upset that a member of the community felt a wall was being put up between him and the community.

Hopefully that clears things up. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, December 18, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, a mass kidnapping Sunday targeted the Baghdad offices of the Iraqi Red Crescent, KPFA listeners learn on air that the US military is very interested in the station's programming, the US military announces the deaths of three troops in Iraq, and Howard Zinn notes the realities of this illegal war, "They're not fighting for their country. They're not doing their families any good. They're certainly not doing the people over there any good. But they're doing it for their government, they're doing it for Bush. That would be more accurate to say, 'I'm going off to fight for George Bush'."

On KPFA's The Morning Show today, guests included attorney Dan Siegel and Gary Hill (Ethics Chair of the Society of Professional Journalists) who discussed the targeting of journalists by prosecutors who are unable to do their own work -- specifically as it related to Dahr Jamail and Sarah Olson. Hill reminded that journalists are supposed to act independently and that "is hard to do" when you're supposed to be a witness for the prosecution. Jamail, Olson and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) are being asked to provide some form of testimony in the court-martial of Ehren Watada. The supposed reason is to provide confirmation that what they wrote is true. Kakesako and Olson have been subpoenaed. Jamail has yet to be. As Philip Maldari (co-host with Andrea Lewis) pointed out, Jamail posted a transcript of Watada's speech in Seattle to Veterans for Peace at Truthout and the same page provides the option of watching the entire speech on video. (Those who prefer audio or do not have video capabilities can refer to KPFA's Flashpoints Friday, September 15th broadcast that includes portions of the speech.) So the US military has trouble determining video it sees with its own eyes? (That might explain the failure of those in commanding roles not to grasp that the war is lost.)

It's interesting request by the US military because in Watada's August 17th Article 32 hearing, they were able to just play clips from the speech. With regards to Watada, Hill noted that journalists were being sought because the military wants to prosecute Watada for what he said "and I find that very troubling in the United States." [Those charges fall under contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer.] Siegel noted that if Watada's going to be prosecuted for his speech, Bully Boy should be prosecuted for his lies that led to war.

Olson was scheduled to appear (I believe Jamail was as well but missed any comment on that) but was advised by her attorney not to while the legal strategy is still being worked out. Last week, Olson told Aaron Glantz (IPS), "This morning at 8:45 someone came to my house and delivered a subpoena. It's absolutely outrageous. It's a journalist's job to report the news. It is not a journalist's job to testify against their own sources." Olson's interview with Watada originally appeared at Truthout and was run by Left Turn -- Left Turn is the only left magazine to print an article about Watada (or for that matter -- any of the war resisters who began coming forward last summer). Possibly they're so shocked by Olson's interview (conducted in May) because Watada was (rightly) calling Iraq a civil war even then?

In one of the more surprising moments during the discussion, Siegel revealed that KPFA's
also being asked to supply information. Specifically, the US military has requested a program provide them with a "transcript" of their broadcast. The program, unidentified on air, is most likely KPFA's Flashpoints where hosts Dennis Bernstein and Nora Barrows-Friedman have regularly interviewed war resisters such as Carl Webb, Mark Wilkerson, Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck (the only outlet to avoid performing The Full Brobeck in fact Barrows-Friedman interviewed Brobeck on the November 6th broadcast -- the only interview he gave before turning himself in the next day). Flashpoints airs Monday through Fridays at 5:00 pm PST. Flashpoints began broadcasting in 1991 offering coverage of the Gulf War. Siegel stated that the program had said "no."

KPFA is the nation's oldest public radio station and was started long before NPR. Lewis Hill founded KPFA Pacifica Radio and the station began broadcasting in 1949 (94.1 FM in most of California, originating out of Berkeley and also carried on KPFB and KCFC). KPFA was the first Pacifica Radio station and Pacifica Radio is also the first public radio network in the United States. KPFK would follow in 1959 (Los Angeles), then WBAI (New York) in 1960, KPFT (Houston, TX) in 1970 and WPFW in 1977. In addition there are affiliates throughout the United States. (Click here for the history of the network.) While it's good when anyone listens, even the most casual listener should be aware that all programs are archived and a copy of most broadcasts can be purchased. All of the Pacifica stations are listener supported.

Support Baghdad is currently doing without is the Iraqi Red Crescent. Following Sunday's mass kidnapping at their offices in Baghdad, the BBC reports that the IRC is suspending operation "till further notice." The International Committee of the Red Cross puts the number of people abducted Sunday at thirty and notes that "The Iraqi Red Crescent officers are clearly identified by the red crescent emblem." The BBC notes that the IRC is Iraq's "biggest humanitarian organisation". CNN reports that six of the thirty abducted were released on Sunday and that the mass kidnapping involved 20 vehicles and men "dressed in camoflage Iraqi commando uniforms". CBS and AP note that the IRC "has around 1,000 staff and some 200,000 volunteers in Iraq." AFP notes that the main office in Baghdad was closed as well as "another 40 subsidiary offices in Baghdad, affecting more than 600 staff, a large portion of them security guards" and notes that. of the 30 kidnapped, 17 have now been released. Al Jazeera quotes ICRC spokesperson Nada Doumani, "All offices in Baghdad have closed, but this will not affect the work in the other 17 provinces."

The kidnapping took a backseat in some press outlets to Tony Blair's show visit in the Green Zone Sunday -- despite the fact that Britain's prime minister repeated the same song and dance he's been performing for months. The Guardian of London observes: "It speaks volumes about the dire state of the Middle East that a foreign head of government visiting Iraq dare not stray beyond the heavily fortified 'green zone' in central Baghdad and that the entire Gaza Strip - the centre of the region's latest escalating crisis - is now strictly out of bounds on security grounds. Tony Blair's pledge that British troops will stay in Iraq 'until the job is done' had an unreal air as he stood by Nuri al-Maliki yesterday with the disastrous mayhem of daily life -- mass kidnappings, bombings and shootings - continued unabated".

And today?


In Baghdad, Al Jazeera notes "a car bomb at the entrance of a wholesale vegetable market killed five people and wounded 19". Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that was one of two bombings targeting vegetable markets (the other, seven hours earlier, resulted in seven being injured and a mortar attack in Shah Ali killed one person and wounded twelve more including seven women ("The people were from families displaced from baqouba city").

Reuters notes the following: three police officers wounded by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, a car bomb "planted in a car carrying Electricity Ministry officials killed the driver and wounded two in easter Baghdad", one dead in Hawija from a roadside bomb and another wounded,


Reuters notes an attack onthe "female staff at the Ministry of Education" in Baghdad in which one woman was shot dead and two others wounded; a police officer shot dead in Kirkuk; and that Khaireddine al-Dabagh was shot dead in Mosul where he served on the city council. Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) notes the Baghdad shooting death of Colonel Adil Abdullah Kadhum.


AFP reports that 44 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the number of corpses discovered in the capital grew to 49 while a corpses was discovered in Samara, two in Mosul and nine in Baquba.

Today the US military announced: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Dec. 15 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Earlier on Monday they announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Dec. 16 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Later today, the US military announced: "Baghdad Soldier was killed and another injured when a Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a route clearance mission north of the Iraqi capital Dec. 18. The incident is still under investigation. In the month of December, Soldiers in the same area north of the Iraqi capital have found eight roadside bombs and a weapons cache disabling the terrorists ability to disrupt operations by Iraqi Army and coalition forces and wound or kill innocent Iraqi citizens." This brings the number of US troops known to have died in Iraq this month to 60 -- eight shy of the total for the entire month of December last year; however, there are still 13 days left in this month.

Despite this reality, the 650,000 plus Iraqis who have died since the start of the illegal war, some are calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq. The KPFA Evening News reported yesterday that the group calling for that includes US Senator Harry Reid who expressed his support for a 'temporary' surge of US troops "for two or three months" on ABC's This Week.
On the broadcast Dahr Jamail offered his opinion of Reid's nonsense: "Let's not forget that during the Vietnam war this was called 'escalation' not 'temporary increases' or anything like this, but this is an escalation of the occupation"; while David Swanson's reaction no doubt spoke for many: "Look we voted on Nov. 7th in the clearest national mandate Congressional election in US history. I mean, this was a statement by the American people that we want to end this war and already our new majority Democratic Senate in Congress are talking about, not ending the war, in fact, of escalating it. Obviously the surest way to end it and withdraw is not to send in more troops but to withdraw."
While Reid lives in the land of delusion, Michael Moss has been exploring the realities of Iraq's prisons. In Sunday's New York Times, Moss reported on 'justice' -- most Iraqi 'trials' last 15 minutes, the public defenders are paid $15 per class, that you can be convicted -- as two Iraqi males were -- for 30 years when the US military claims you attacked a hospital that even the hospital adminstrator swears was not attacked, and notes Karen Hanrahan (former US "State Dapeartment's rule-of-law coordinator in Iraq") explaining that public defender systerm "was never financed in part because judicial planning was dominated by American prosecutors who took a dim view of defense lawyers."

After delivering that appalling news, Moss returns in Monday's New York Times to chart the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of a former Navy veteran, Donald Vance, who blew the whistle on the contractor he was working for but the US military couldn't straighten that out; they could, however, deny him and other prisoners "the right to a lawyer at detention hearings to determine whether they should be released or held indefinitely" as the documents Vance left with bear out. Sunday's report by Moss noted that if you are one of the few an Iraqi judge finds not guilty, that doesn't mean you walk out of the court room and are free. Instead, if found innocenct in an Iraqi court, the US military then grabs you and throws you in their prisons. Iraqi 'justice' can be counted on to hand out the death penalty (and has) but the US military doesn't believe it's up to determining innocence which, Karen Hanrahan might point out, has a lot to do with the way the system was set up (by the US).
Meanwhile, a prisoner has escaped from a prison in Iraq. Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported on October 12th that, the day prior, Iraqi-American citizen and former Iraqi electricity minister Aiham al-Sammarae had been "convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison. Afterward, U.S. troops took custody of Sammarae . . .because he fears being killed if he was placed in jail". He need fear not currently. The BBC reports he escaped from his prison in the Green Zone and that this was "the second time that Samarrai has escaped from custody" -- earlier, after he was convicted, he was caught at Baghdad International Airport with a Chinese passport.

In other legal news, Reuters reports that the US military will announce charges against Marines over "the killing of 24 civilians in Haditha" this coming Thursday.

Finally, Howard Zinn is the subject of today's Democracy Now! as he addresses the realities of not only the current illegal war but of wars in general. Amy Goodman and company broadcast a speech he gave recently in Madison, Wisconsin which notes the uses of 'terrorism' to build fear, the ways people are manipulated by leaders, the way the press fawns over officials, and a great deal more.

the kpfa evening news

dahr jamail