Friday, August 11, 2006

"One tear I thought that should stop a war"

Rebecca and I are grabbing a moment to blog. It's been a very busy day. And we're going to go pick up Betty and her kids at the airport. She gets in late, everyone else is already present and accounted for. We thought about doing a joint entry (like Cedric and Wally did) but decided, since we're not going to be blogging Saturday, we'd go ahead and do individual entries.

I had very positive feedback to the entries this week although there were some questions of where was Thursday's post? I don't post every day. I think I said everything I needed to in the last post. I've listened to music since. My plan these days is not to turn on KPFA until Dennis and Nora come on with Flashpoints, I hang around for The KPFA Evening News or parts of it.

I've been listening to a lot of great music. It's made me see a number of issues from new angles. I think music can do that. Thursday, I stayed home cleaning. I really wanted to go with C.I. and The Third Estate Sunday Review gang -- minus Ty who is a working man these days -- on all their meetings and organizing but I needed to clean. I only just got back from Ireland and the place was a mess. I needed to do the usual daily cleaning but I really needed to do a great deal more and that included an hour at the kitchen table with bills. C.I. was cracking me up checking to see if I'd opened my bills yet. (I place them in a large bowl by the front door. I take them out of the mail box, walk in the front door, place them in the bowl and avoid them as long as I can. That's if I've got the money to pay or need to juggle. I hate paying the bills. With the phone and the newspaper, I've got that set up on automatic payment.) So C.I. would check in and ask if I'd pulled the bills out of the bowl yet. I kept putting that off. But C.I. would also ask what music I was listening to and say something like, on Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation, "Really listen to track eleven."

Which I did and wow. Jim or Jess one started listening to that nonstop last week so we've all been hearing it. But what the album meant to me years ago it means to me now. I enjoyed it in the years between but there's a new power to it due to current sitatuations.

Sun is scrambled in their eyes
While the moon circles like a vulture
Someone stood at a window and cried
"One tear I thought that should stop a war
But someone is killing me"
And that's the last hour to think anymore

-- "House at Pooneil Corners," written by Paul Katner and Marty Balin

After awhile, and C.I. wrote about this with Ani DiFranco's "Both Hands," when we really love a song, we sing along out of enjoyment and may not really be absorbing it. We know we love it. It's a great song ("Both Hands" is a great song) and if we can find something new it, suddenly it's not just a song we love but a song that's conveying a difference to us and it has a new meaning.

What I'm not being provided in coverage, I'm finding in music. New and forgotten avenues. Marcia e-mailed wondering what I thought the best CD was so far this year? I'm thinking it has to be Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun; however, I'm really excited by Michael Franti & Spearhead's Yell Fire and by Ani DiFranco's Reprieve. I actually think there were a number of wonderful albums this year and would include Neil Young's Living With War and Etta James' All The Way. But I just read Marci's e-mail this afternoon and haven't had time to really think. I'm sure I'm forgetting something but expect those to be on my list of best of 2006.

Betty's got a list of albums we're going to listen to. Her brother who's really into music made the list and she says Sly Stone, John Lennon, the Mamas and the Papas and some others are on it. Of the names she told me about, it shouldn't be a problem (I have those albums) but if we encounter something I don't have, we'll put out a S.O.S. and be able to find someone with it.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Friday, August 11, 2006 with two police officers dead from a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, another police officer shot dead in Mosul and a man on his way to work in Baiji shot dead. In the United States Ricky Clousing says no to war; in a sotto voice US military flacks give statements about the two US soliders who died in Tuesday helicopter crash and while recruiters struggle to meet their lowered targets, some applicants remain unwelcome.
Starting with the last item, the AP reports on Haven Herrin who would like to serve in the military but she is a lesbian and wink-wink-nudge-nudge no gays or lesbians have ever served in the US military. Reading the report which begins and ends with the Clinton era "Don't Ask Don't Tell," news consumers are probably left unaware that an openly gay man has served in the US military.
While some can't get in, others refuse to serve in an illegal war based on lies.
Writing for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mike Barber broke the news today that Ricky Clousing would turn himself in. Ricky Clousing, 24-years-old, checked himself out of the military after serving in Iraq. Speaking to the AP, Clousing stated, "My experience in Iraq really made me second-guess my ability to perform as a soldier and also forced me to question my beliefs in associating myself". Clousing's announcement comes on day two of the Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle (which concludes Sunday the 13th). Clousing questions the legality of the illegal war and "I came to the conlusion that I could not train or be trained under a false pretense of fighting for freedom." Barber notes that Clousing went AWOL from "Fort Bragg in 2005 after returning from Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division."
Barber broke the news, the AP is all over it. And gold stars for others? They'll have to demonstrate that they're going to cover it. Not, "Look how much I care, today I'll make time for this issue and then next week . . . Back to Israel non-stop!" (or whatever the topic is). Too much isn't being covered.
Clousing is one of many war resisters. This week, Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) took a look at some who had decided to do a self-check out and go to Candada -- mentioned were Ryan Johnson, Patrick Hart, Christian Kjar, Brandon Hughey, Darryl Anderson. Brandon Hughey and Jeremy Hinzman will learn shortly whether they're appeal will allow them to remain in Canada or not. Other war resisters include Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Aidan Delgado, Kevin Benderman. Katherine Jashinski. Camilo Mejia is generally considered to the the "first Iraqi War Resister." Benderman is attempting to appeal the Court-Martial and has been designated a "Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International. Benderman's case hasn't vanished, just any coverage of it. That's true of Hinzman and Hughey as well. Let's be really honest, that's true of the independent media attention on all things having to do with Iraq. (And remember it was Mike Barber who broke the story.)
Two names more recently in the news are Suzanne Swift and Ehren Watada. Their cases haven't vanished just because, for example, an announced and filmed interview with Swift's grandfather never aired as Iraq fell off the radar. Watada faces an article 32 hearing on August 17th which is next Thursday. Courage to Resist and are organizing and trying to get the word out for "a National Day of Education" on August 16th. Writing of Watada, Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) noted Watada's refusal to deploy to Iraq was a "no" and that: "When we say 'no' the war ends.Ehren is saying 'no.' He can make a difference. He is making a difference but it will be a huge difference with quick impact if we show our support." Noting the work of his parents, Courage to Resist and, Cedric wondered where the coverage was?
Attending the conference in Seattle was Cindy Sheehan who is offering Camp Casey III "as a refuge for U.S. troops who desert to resist the war in Iraq." As The State News notes on Bully Boy's low approval numbers, "Clearly, Sheehan is not alone in her position. But while a large population within the United States disapproves of Bush and the war in Iraq, it seems only a small population is doing something about it." Sheehan does her part and then some but it "seems" others aren't because of the lack of media attention. Watada and Swift are 'doing something.' Across the country, across the world, people are engaged in attempting to end this war, day in and day out. It's the media that can make it appear nothing is happening or report what's actually going on. Credit to Barber, AP, May and others in big media who've been covering these issues (especially the press in Hawaii) while others had other things to emphasize (non-stop). Or, as Molly Ivins points out: "The more surprising development is how completely one story drives out another. At other times, the collapse of Iraq would have been news." A collapse that has included, as Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) wrote, "There are no laws that say we have to wear a hijab (yet), but there are men in head-to-toe black and the turbans, the extremists and fanatics who were libearted by the occupation, and at some point, you tire of the defiance. You no longer want to be seen. I feel like the black or white scarf I fling haphazardly on my head as I walk out the door makes me invisible to a certain degree -- it's easier to blend in with the masses shrouded in black. If you're a femal, you don't want the attention -- you don't want it from Iraqi police, you don't want it from the black clad militia man, you don't want it from the American soldier. You don't want to be noticed or seen."
Reuters notes six corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("bound and blindfolded") Of the six, AP notes that they had all ben shot execution style. This was the week that, as the BBC noted, the body count at Baghdad's central morgue for July only had been 1,855. AP noted Dr. Sabah al-Husseini's declaration that "two-thirds of the deaths reported in Baghdad since January were due to violence."
This was the week of the Article 32 hearing to determine whether or not to file rape, murder and arson charges against US soldiers James Baker, Jesse V. Spielman, Bryan L. Howard and Paul Cortez. (Steven D. Green, who is also accused in the incident will stand trial in US federal court because he was discharged before the incident was uncovered. Anthony W. Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident.) The incident? Abeer Qasim Hamza. Presenting his closing argument in the hearing, Captain Alex Pickands stated, "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable." The defense (and the New York Times) offered stress of combat and fatigue. Pickands response? "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."
It was the story that should have gotten intense coverage. Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) has argued Abeer's story is the story of the illegal occupation boiled down to one person. Instead, as Mike (Mikey Likes It!) has pointed out, you had the New York Times offering the defense's argument and Abeer? Silence. She wasn't even named.
This was also the week of yet another poll finding where respondents echoed earlier polls by standing strongly against the illegal war. CNN found that 60% of Americans responding in their poll were against the war -- the highest opposition since the war began in March 2003.
Those were among the Iraq related stories that should have received coverage, discussion and exploration.
Another, in Australia, would be the military inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad. Belinda Tasker (Herald Sun) reports on Solider 1's testimony which resulted in tears for Shelley Kovco (widow of Jake Kovco) and Judy Kovco (mother of Jake Kovco). While the family of Kovco has every reason to well up when their lost one is spoken, the press has no excuse to go soft and mushy but, apparently, despite repeated testimony to the contrary, the nonsense of the 'buddy system' is back. Soldier 1 tossed off a few words (via video-link) and then used Jake Kovco to argue that they'd reworked the "buddy system" since his death. The press runs with it, failing to note that there witnesses' testimony (as opposed to the statements the military wrote and submitted in their name) that there was no "buddy system" in place. Ian McPhedran (Courier-Mail) offers a less sentimental view as he weighs in on Jake Kovco's death and Australia's involvement with Iraq: "We're being kept in the dark."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

KPFA leaves me numb

This morning, KPFA's The Morning Show covered Iraq . . . if you can call bad phone calls and a discussion of WMDs discussing Iraq. If you think, for instance, that Abeer Qasim Hamza is a topic worth covering, it's not covering Iraq. There was no exploration, in this supposed talk on how the media is covering Iraq, about Abeer Qasim Hamza. There was no calling out, there was no truth to power about how the New York Times has provided the defense of the accused in print before the defense even could. There was no talk of how the New York Times refuses to use Abeer's name. There was no discussion of how the New York Times santizes every report on Abeer of how readers of the paper have still not been told that the military investigator got a confession from one of the accused that they had taken turns in holding Abeer down and taken turns in raping her.

We heard Judy Miller's name tossed around. Well thank God the Times got rid of her because obviously she is the only problem they ever had with Iraq coverage.

Another problem, one noted by Mother Jones and CounterSpin (problem in the pre-war coverage) didn't come up but then Judith Miller didn't write that article. So no need to mention it.

We heard a discussion about WMD and it is required, that topic, because the coverage of Iraq has been so poor from KPFA. And when KPFA and others drop the coverage, maybe Andrea Lewis shouldn't wonder about 50% of poll respondents (not 50% of Americans as she kept saying) who believe that Iraq had WMDs. The number's gone up. I don't think that's surprising.

As the coverage of Iraq has been so poor and non-existant, I don't think that's suprising at all.

Tomorrow, I'll listen to Dennis and Nora cover Israel's actions because that's their beat, I enjoy their show. I'm not interested in all the others chasing down the same story day in and day out.
Not when they don't show the same concern, the same coverage for Iraq.

We supposedly got a discussion about media coverage of Iraq (a woman called in who should have shut up about 1 minute after she stumbled through her point instead of being treated as a guest as she babbled on about "mass hypnosis" -- way to treat Iraq seriously) but all we got was what we got in 2003 and 2004. Apparently nothing's happened in Iraq since. Or apparently Judith Miller was the only press problem.

Apparently, they couldn't go over the Harris poll and note that 72% of Americans believe Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam. Why would they believe that?

Maybe that belief arises from the fact that Iraq doesn't get coverage?

Are they better off? If you follow superficial discussions like what was offered today, maybe you think they are.

If you search out your own coverage (or even follow the mainstream) you know that's not the case. It's too damn bad that KPFA can't cover Iraq seriously. Tomorrow, it's been announced, a show will look at the anti-war movement.

I'd recommend it but I'm afraid we're going to get another program that can't even mention Abeer's name, can't discuss her and will as all the show do now make peace all about what Israel does or does not do. Should Americans be concerned with what Israel is doing? Absolutely. Those are war crimes.

But war crimes are happening in Iraq. We don't get coverage of that. We don't hear the details about Abeer. We don't hear about how US soldiers thought a 14-year-old girl made a good sexual pin up to leer at. We don't hear about how they got drunk and played golf while plotting her rape. We don't hear that they grilled chicken after taking turns holding her down and raping her.

We certainly didn't hear about that on The Morning Show today. We did hear about Judith Miller. I guess that passes for brave these days. I guess that's truth to power? Calling out a reporter who has a reputation so bad that she no longer works for the Times? Calling out a reporter who stopped writing about Iraq in 2003?

I guess it's too much to hope that we could discuss Abeer or note that the paper of record has presented the defense's argument both as it was made in the Article 32 hearing and, in fact, before it was made when Robert Worth and Carolyn Marshall had a lengthy, front page article that, wonder of wonders, presented the same argument that the defense would make in supposed "reporting."

To listen to the superficial discussion this morning, you'd assume that Judy Miller was the problem and that the problem is now over. John Stauber even suggested that the Times do something like run a full page, front page about "No WMD Found." Does he really believe that their coverage is any better today?

Is he unaware of how they've covered Abeer? Is he unaware that the Washington Post this year exposed not Judith Miller but Dexter Filkins as mouth piece for their propaganda efforts? Thomas E. Ricks wrote that article. I know that because I saw that article mentioned over and over at The Common Ills. That wasn't addressed. It was all about Judith Miller.

It was really sad to listen to because I had such high expectations. I thought KPFA was going to get serious about Iraq. (It wasn't announced as even being a topic for tomorrow's show. Well they gave us one segment, they're only a 2 hour daily, commercial free show, and if they gave us more than that every other week they wouldn't be able to cover Lebanon day after day, would they?)

I'm against the war in Iraq. I don't believe that Judith Miller is the only thing keeping us in Iraq. I didn't believe it while she was working for the New York Times. As C.I. pointed out, to buy that nonsense you'd have to believe that Judith Miller controlled all the papers, all the broadcast news and "newsie" programs, all the cable news and "newsie" programs, talk radio and much more. What a powerful woman she must have been. If you believe that lie. I also agree with a point C.I.'s made for almost two years now (made before Thomas E. Ricks exposed the propaganda of Dexter Filkins) which is that if (C.I. always says "if") Judy Miller got us over there, it's reporters like Dexter Filkins that keep us there.

I think you have to be lazy or uninformed to spend a segment where the only name you name is Judith Miller this late in the game. I don't know, maybe you're lazy and uninformed.

That's how the segment played out. John Stauber's a smart person, Andrea Lewis is a smart person so why did I hear a dumb segment?

And why was Abeer never mentioned. She wasn't named, she wasn't discussed.

The problem's not Americans (or even those surveyed by Harris), the problem is the media and, lately, independent media is part of the problem.

Let's talk The KPFA Evening News. It started out giving us about six minutes on Lamont/Lieberman, then a story on Hillary Clinton and her stance on Iraq re: her election. At 8 minutes after the hour, Cynthia McKinney's race (which she lost). Another Congressional race. Nine minutes after the hour, Israel. How long does it last? Blah, blah, blah (as Rebecca would say) goes on for six minutes. Want me to care about a story you can't shut up about? Cover the home bases first. A war the US started needs coverage. That seems basic to me. Shortly after the 15 minute mark, there's a "still to come announcement." At about 15 and 1/2 minutes, we get Iraq. Finally. About 16 1/2 minutes after we get an Aaron Glantz report. "It's a hell basically in Iraq" says a woman. It's a hell? I don't disagree. I'm just wondering why the hell that the U.S. created isn't worth opening the show with?

At 20 minutes after, we're now covering Gaza. For about a minute and a half. We're done with Iraq. The Glantz report? It lasted less than 4 minutes. We were told Iraq was "hell" but it's not enough of a hell for anyone to care about because there's no special on Iraq tonight. Or any other night. There will be, as usual, special coverage of Israel's actions.

At 38 minutes, I wake up when "Iraq" is mentioned in one sentence (a protest at Bechtel) but it's mentioned once and only once. After a minute, I fall back to sleep.

I've listened to KPFA as long as I can remember. (I donate to KPFA. I'll probably donate again this year, it's a habit for me, good times or bad times.) I can remember bad times before. I can't say I'm outraged because I'm really just numb. I'm numb to the point of shocked by the fact that Iraq doesn't get covered. When Abeer's not the topic of a report or a discussion, Iraq's not being covered. The Article 32 hearing is over. It came and went and did so without any coverage. I'm really just numb and don't know how that happened.

The US illegally went to war with Iraq over three years ago and it's not important enough for serious coverage. The prosecution in the Article 32 hearing convinced me that US troops raped Abeer and then murdered her and three members of her family (including her five-year-old sister). I think, I know a lot of KPFA listeners, that it would have made that point with others. But for that to happen, it would have had to have been covered. It wasn't. Reducing it to a headline isn't covering it. With all the time KPFA has to offer discussions, they weren't interested in Abeer.

As a woman, I'm surprised by that. A child was raped. She was murdered. Rape used to be considered a "feminist" issue only. I'm a feminist but I thought we'd moved beyond that. I thought we had a reached a point where we saw that violence against women (and girls) was violence against society. I guess it's a "girl" or "girly" issue to KPFA?

KPFA has a Women's Magazine. They covered it (twenty seconds) It's too bad that the host wasn't interested in the topic enough to say, "There's an Article 32 hearing and in Sunday's reports we learned that the soldiers took turns holding her down and raping her. What's the reaction to those revelations?" Even Nouri al-Maliki has had to make some noise because it is an issue in Iraq. (The puppet demanded an independent investigation.)

What I keep coming back to (a common thought about independent media expressed in the gina & krista round-robin) do I need bad coverage? Does it inform me? Does it inspire me?

I think I'll just stick to my CDs. I think I'll stick to Michael Franti and Ani DiFranco.

I'll listen to Dennis and Nora to hear about the issue of Israel's war crimes. That's what they cover. I never get upset with the focus of Flashpoints. I know that's their scope. They cover other things from time to time but, though you wouldn't know it from the breathless coverage, Israel's war crimes didn't just begin. The occupied territories have not had peace. Dennis and Nora didn't drop that story. They've covered it all along. I respect them for that.

I've grown to count on them for that kind of coverage. If Iraq was being covered on other shows, I'd be overjoyed that I'm getting special programming each night. But by the time it rolls around, I've heard about all I can take on the topic for one day. By the time it rolls around, I've listened thinking Iraq might be discussed, that Abeer will not be forgotten, not rendered invisible. But day after day she isn't treated as a topic.

She doesn't matter. As a feminist, I don't support a rape victim being ignored. When it's one who is dead and can't defend herself, I think it's all the more important that the media attempt to tell her story. I'll turn it on and off at my own place, KPFA. But I'm really numbed to it now.
The best part of my day was always learning something new from KPFA. Until recently, I rarely felt a day went by when I wasn't more informed. I'm not being informed now.

I'll listen to music. It'll inform me and inspire me.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Today, Wednesday, August 9, 2006, violence and chaos continue in Iraq with Allister Bull (Reuters) noting that the central morgue in Baghdad received nearly 2,000 bodies in July while Centcom's announced that a US helicopter crashed Tuesday in the Anbar province ("60 Blackhawk helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircrwaft Wing") which had six crew members of which two are still missing.
Elsa McLaren (Times of London) reports: "A desperate hunt is under way in Iraq today for two American servicemen whose helicopter crashed inside the 'triangle of death' west of Baghdad." As the search goes on, an Article 32 hearing concludes into the murders of Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members with military prosecutor Captain Alex Pickands arguing of the four US troops accused of rape, murder and arson, "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."
Speaking with Andrea Lewis today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, John Stauber discussed the results of a recent Harris Poll which found 50% of all respondents wrongly believed that Iraq had WMD which is "an increase from 36 prercent in February 2005." Stauber noted the pre-war coverage (unquestioning) and pre-war propaganda (which never panned out.) "If voices of authority repeat a huge lie [. . .] that gets people supporting a war [ . . .] then that lie sticks. And this war was sold to the American public on two huge lies: that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that he was behing 9-11."
"What is going on here?" wondered Andrea Lewis. Which is a good question. Stauber pointed to Rick Santorum falsely claiming that WMDs were found and Fox "News" and the right-wing echo chamber running with the lie. Because, not stated, the right-wing will continue to sell this war and peddle lies. While the coverage of Iraq vanishes from the media (in all its forms) it doesn't vanish from the right-wing echo chamber.
Note this finding from the poll: "
Seventy-two percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (slightly down from February 2004 when 76 percent said this was true)." Why would poll respondents think that when the UN estimates 100 Iraqis die each day from violent attacks? Don't they know the reality and status of the 'reconstruction' projects? No. They generally don't and when the media decides they need to ALL pick up and go after another story, when the coverage of Iraq is a one-story-a-day thing (New York Times) or one topic a week (radio, magazines, etc -- once a week when we're lucky -- we're supposed to be grateful for the once a week treatment of an illegal war launched by the US administration) then the problem really isn't the people -- the problem's the media. One quite proud to pat themselves on the back in every venue and forum but not too interested in focusing on Iraq.
People care about this topic (now more than ever as
a CNN poll demonstrates most recently), it's the media that either is bored or just doesn't give a damn. Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) reported yesterday on the surprise of a returning Iraqi vet who spoke to a group of young adults -- his surprise that they were interested in the topic and interested in his injuries and all the injuries that the press doesn't have time to cover.
Al Jazeera reports on a mortar attack in Baghdad which "collapsed a three-storey building" and left some worried that "some people were still trapped in the rubble." Five people are known to have died. Reuters reports three Iraqi police officers dead in Habaniya from a roadside bomb; the death of a civilian in Kirkuk from a roadside bomb; the death of a civilian by a roadside bomb in Baghdad; three civilians wounded by a roadside bomb in Ramadi; and, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb wounded three Iraqi soldiers. Also CBS and AP note that, in Samarra, a police officer died on Tuesday while attempting "to defuse a roadside bomb" and another police officer was injured in the blast. Associated Press reports that a US solider was wounded by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad
Pay attention here because you know
the New York Times doesn't bother to include shooting fatalities in their 'rounded' daily undercount these days. Reuters reports the death of "Army Colonel Qasim Abdul Qadir" in Basra ("on his way to work"). CBS and AP report that Abedl-Qadir was attacked by "gunmen on two motorcycles". Reuters notes that, in western Baghdad, five civilians were shot dead.
Reuters reports that, in Baghdad, nine corpses were discovered ("killed by gunshots"), two corpses ("shot in the head and chest") were found in Dour. and, in al-Zab, a behaded corpse was discovered.
In the case of
Abeer Qasim Hamza? From CNN: "Iraqi authorities have identified the girl who was raped and shot to death as Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Her father, mother and 5-year-old sister were also killed, and the 14-year-old's body was set on fire after she was killed." The Article 32 hearing has concluded. CNN reports Alex Pickands (military prosecutor) making his closing argument with the following: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl." As the BBC notes, the Article 32 hearing was to determine whether or not should be charged with rape, murder and arson. CNN notes that the deterimination will be made by "investigating officer, Col. Dwight Warren" and that' "Warren's report will likely be at least a few days in coming".
Ehren Watada is the first known commissioned officer serving in the US military to have refused to deploy to Iraq.
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports: "The army has rejected 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's offer to resign instead of facing a possible court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq." The concludes: "[i]t's looking more likely that Honolulu Army Lt. Ehren Watada will be court martialed for refusing to serve in Iraq." Hoyt Zia (publisher of Hawaii Business Magazine) addresses the case of Ehren Watada with "Having the Courage of Your Convictions."
Kakesako notes: "Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is scheduled to face an Article 32 pretrial hearing at Fort Lewis, Wash., on Aug. 17. That hearing is equivalent to a preliminary hearing in a civilian criminal court, and is expected to last a few days."
The 17th is when the hearing is scheduled to begin. Remember
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
Cindy Sheehan is in Crawford, TX with Camp Casey. Why? As
Missy Comley Beattie (OpEdNews) writes: "Thousands of Iraqis are dying each month. Coalition troops are perceived not as liberators of grateful Iraqis free at last from the grip of a tyrant. Instead, we are occupiers and our incursion has unleashed sectarian violence that shows no sign of abating. Life is so bad in Iraq that its citizens long for the days when Saddam Hussein was in power." For those reasons and many more, Camp Casey III matters. Alison Sterling Nichols tells Chris Durant (The Times-Standard) that, "There are more people here than there were in the first few days last year."
Today is day 37 of the
Troops Home Fast action which will continue until September 21st. Today, 4, 549 people are taking part from across the world. Remember you can do a one-day fast, a one-day-a-week fast or longer. More information is available at Troops Home Fast.
CNN reporting the results of their latest poll -- "Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in Iraq, the highest number since polling on the subject began with the commencement of the war in March 2003" -- the sea of change on the Iraq war is obvious to all but the Bully Boys and Joe Liebermans.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"A look at US media coverage of Iraq" on Weds. KPFA's The Morning Show

I have three things to note.

1) Tomorrow on KPFA's The Morning Show, "after the 8:30 headlines," Iraq will be a topic discussed. "A look at US media coverage of Iraq."

2) Ani DiFranco's Reprieve -- get it. I'll probably make this my next review. I can't say when. I got back from Ireland and I'm still playing catch up. I hope to have it done within 7 days. Get the CD now and you can find out if you agree with me or not when my review is done. (I'm also hoping to review Michael Franti & Spearhead's Yell Fire. As well as a soundtrack.)

3) I'm putting in the snapshot but no comments or other links. Before you complain, I have a reason. If you're reading this, you're probably a smart person (or a lurker). Smart people don't need me to comment tonight because they have someone far smarter . . . Drum roll please. Rebecca is back. At her site Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. I've been on the phone with her several times today. I missed her repeated phone calls, I really did. We all missed her. She's been called, I think by C.I., our warrior woman. She really is that. And more. On this, the night of her return, there's nothing I could offer that wouldn't end up anti-climatic. So just get over to Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and read her. She's got a number of things to sound off on re: Iraq and the coverage or lack of it. All of my friends love Rebecca and always ask, "Is she as strong and pissed off as she sounds?" She doesn't take crap and she doesn't play. So tonight, instead of offering you my attempt at second best, I urge you to go read her. (She's not up yet, but I called her, and she says she's almost done with it.) She's going to cover Abeer, she's going to cover a great deal more. (She says she feels like it's the longest thing she's written at her site but that might just be because she's been on her vacation and honeymoon "and out of practice.") That's not to take anything away from anyone else in the community, by the way. But Rebecca comes in pissed off and owning the room. (In reality, she's so small. I feel like a giant standing next to her and I'm 5 foot 7.) She's pissed, she's back and she's not handing out lolly pops. Go read her.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" (packed with information always):

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Tuesday, August 8, 2006. Bombings, a bank robery . . . all part of what the AFP term "Bloody Day in Baghdad." And while people continue to dicker in the United States with games of "Is it or isn't it a civil war," Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) reports on Iraqi politicians who "way that the country is in civil war already." This as the so-called 'crackdown' (in beefed up form) appears to . . . crack apart.
Strongest dose of
reality comes from Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch): "The vast city of seven million people, almost the size of London, is breaking up into a dozen cities, each one of which is becoming a heavily armed Shia or Sunni stronghold. Every morning brings its terrible harvest of bodies. Many lie in the streets for hours, bloating in the 120F heat, while others are found floating in the Tigris river."
In the captial,
ITV notes "three near-simulaneous bomb explosins near the Interior Ministry building." Police officer Bilal Ali Majid tells the AP that at least 10 are dead and at least 8 wounded from the three bombs. Al Jazeera puts the toll at nine and notes "[t]wo roadside bombs exploded in the main Shurja market in central Bagdad within minutes of each other, killing 10 civilians and injuring 50". CBS and AP place the death toll at 10 for each bombing (20 total). AFP notes that ths market blast "set fire to several shops."
This is the AP in case anyone's confused (some early reports lumped the two attacks together): "Three bombs exploded simultaneously near the Interior Ministry buildings in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said. A couple of hours later, two roadside bombs ripped through the main Shurja market, also in central Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and wounding 50, police Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said."
Reuters notes a police officer was wounded by a roadside bomb "in the eastern Zayouna district of Baghdad"; in Iskandariya, two people were wounded by a roadside bomb; and, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed by a roadside bomb (eight people wounded "including a child").
Reuters notes two civilians were shot to death in Rashad, "a police lieutenant colonel" was shot dead in Falluja (his brother was wounded), and two were shot dead in Mosul.
CNN reports that, in Muqdadiya, three people were shot dead (including a teacher) and that drive-by shootings claimed two lives in Baquba. AP notes "two Sunni brothers . . . slain in their car repair shop in southwestern Baghdad:.
In addition to the above, the
BBC notes the death of "three security guards and two bank officials" during a bank robbery in Baghdad today. AFP notes that the robbery of the al-Rasheed Bank utilized three cars and that the interior ministry is saying it only netted "seven million dinars (less than $5,000)". The AP states it was two cars.
CBS and AP note the discovery of nine "bullet-riddled" corpses in Kut. AFP notes that at least seven were "Iraqi border guards." Reuters notes that seven corpses were found "south of Baghdad" and that they were "wearing military uniforms". And the AP notes two corpses found in Baghdad ("shot in the head").
In addition, the
BBC reports: "Also on Tuesday, a US soldier died of wounds sustained in fighting, the US military said"; while CBS and AP report: "Two Iraqi journalists were killed in separate incidents in Baghdad, police said Tuesday. Mohammed Abbas Hamad, 28, a journalist for the Shiite-owned newspaper Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida, was shot by gunmen at he left his home Monday in western Baghdad, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said. Late Monday, police found the bullet-riddled body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, about a half mile from where he was abducted two weeks ago in northeast Baghdad, Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. The body showed sign of torture, he added." The AP reminds that the two are "among more than 100 Iraqi and foreign media workers slain here since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."
Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) notes that Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister and puppet of the occupation) no longer pushes the "reconcilation project" and that Abdullah Aliawayi (Iraqi parliamentary member) describes it as "failed." Nouri al-Maliki's criticism of the "U.S.-Iraqi attack on Mahdi Army's stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City" continues. Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) writes of the attack: "Families sleeping on rooftops to escape the summer heat were startled early Monday by helicoprters and gunfire" and that the action "killed three people, destroyed three homes and sent families scurrying for cover." (For those who wonder about the heat, a friend says it is 110 degrees in Baghdad right now). As AFP noted yesterday: "An AFP journalist in Sadr City reported that the raid on the area, a stronghold of the firebrand cleric, was accompanied by air strikes." Today AFP notes: "Coalition aircraft were called into action after the Iraqi army snatch squad came under fire, and at least three civilians were killed." Coalition aircraft would most likely mean US military aircraft. Elsa McLaren (Times of London) notes Times' colleague James Hider's observation that "This security plan is basically the last chance to save the country from civil war. It seems like he [al-Maliki] is trying to distance himself. There is a very fine line between sending your troops out to attack militia that are linked to a government party." Hider himself writes that "a clear rift" has opened between puppet al-Maliki "and the American military" which leads to "doubts about whether the security forces would have the political backing required to tackle powerful militias beholden to parties in the governing coalition."
In Baghdad, the trial into the murder of
Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members continue (as well as into the alleged rape of Abeer). This is the case that yesterday, as Reuters notes: "A US military court heard graphic testimony about how US soldiers took turns to hold down and rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murderer her and her family." Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that the attornies for the four troops currently serving (James Barker, Paul E. Cortez, Jesse V. Spielman and Bryan L. Howard; Steven D. Green is no longer in the military) accused of rape, murder and arson are calling for "a new hearing, accusing Yrbie's counsel of deliberately asking incriminating questions. A ruling was expected later in the day." Anthony Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for alleged failure to report the incident, he is not accused of rape, murder or arson. Also, CNN reports that a witness testified of "colleagues who drank whiskey and cough syrup and swallowed painkillers to cope with their jobs." The witness, Justin Cross, was asked if Steven D. Green could have done the crimes by himself and Cross responded, "Green does nothing by himself."
In the United States, peace activist Cindy Sheehan and others continue their protests in Crawford, TX.
Sheehan is quoted as saying of the Bully Boy, "He can shorten his vacations or not show up at all, but he's not hiding from the truth." Camp Casey III is up and going again this summer. Writing of Sheehan and the first Camp Casey last year, Tom Hayden noted: "Cindy Sheehan inhabits an alternative world of meaning that more Americans need to experience before this war can end. She represents the survivors' need to define a meaning in her son's death -- and her life -- that is counter to the meaning offered by President Bush. That is why she refuses any condolences, and why she continues to ask the President what was the 'noble purpose' for which Casey Sheehan died."
an interview with Dan Bacher (Toward Freedom), Sheehan spoke of the Troops Home Fast action and noted, "We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home." Troops Home Fast continues with at least 4,549 people taking part today from around the world.
In other peace news,
Edwin Tanji (The Maui News) reports that Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is getting the word out on his son (first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq) and will appear at Maui Bookseller (Wailuku) today at four p.m. as well as on the TV program Crossroads tonight at 7:00 p.m. Maui Democratic Party leader Lance Holter says of Ehren Watada: "I'm awe-struck by this man's bravery. He has taken on the entire American military machine and standing up for principles of honor and justice and American patriotism. There is no more patriotic man than this person."
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
In Australia,
AAP reports "Soldier 14" will be the next to testify into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad. In addition to Soldier 14 testifying in person, AAP reports: "The inquiry is also this week expected to hear more evidence about the bungled repatriation of Pte Kovco's body from witnesses appearing on a video link from the Middle East." Last week, one of Kovco's former roommates testified that the repatriation was contracted out and done on the cheap, tying that into the mix up that led to the body of Bosnian capenter Juso Sinanovic being sent to Australia instead of Jake Kovco. Those remembering how the scene of Jake Kovco's death was cleaned up before the investigation into what happened began won't be surprised by Ian McPhedran (Australia's Courier-Mail) report that it's happened again -- in this instance David Nary ("father-of-five SAS Warrant Officer") died in Kuwait last November and the military board's finding include "criticism for the lack of procedures to preserve an incident site."
In election news in the United States, as Ned Lamont challenges Joe Lieberman (polls close at 8:00 pm EST) for the Senate seat currently occupied by Lieberman, commentators sees the race as a sign post.
Stephen Schlesinger (Huffington Post) draws comparison to Eugene McCarthy and LBJ in 1968 and offers that: "A Lamont triumph or near success will make (and is already making) Democrats like Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden shift progressively more in favor of withdrawal from Iraq and is certainly going to alter the entire spectrum of political views over the issue of Iraq, not only for Democrats, but for Republicans, too. In short, this is likely to be the turning point". Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) takes a look at Lieberman's "strategy" noting: "Anxious to move Iraq to the backburner, Lieberma dug deep into his long history in the Senate to find a reason why Connecticut voters shouldn't send him packing tomorrow. The biggest selling point he came up with? 'I don't hate Republicans,' he said while arguing that he wasn't President Bush's 'best friend and enabler.' Talking points for the ages."

Monday, August 07, 2006

I love KPFA but I can't take any more of this "THE ONLY STORY IS ISRAEL!"

I'm listening to the KPFA Evening News and wondering where Iraq is? 13 minutes after the hour and not a damn word. But I have heard that The Morning Show will be discussing Lebanon tomorrow. I didn't need to hear that because I don't believe a goddamn day has gone by since I got back where The Morning Show didn't talk about Israel for at least a half hour. One day, I think I got an hour of it. I just can't get any Iraq coverage.

From multiple stories about Israel's illegal actions, we're now going to a report on Amnesty about . . . Israel.

Israel, Israel, Israel. It's as though Jan Brady's taken over KPFA.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when Dennis Bernstein mentioned that Iraq had been pushed out of the coverage on Flashpoints. He mentioned it in the midst of an hour long discussion on Israel's actions and, good news, when KPFA Evening News is over, I'll get more coverage of Israel's actions. I don't know if it's an hour or two hours but he mentioned it at the end of Flashpoints.

Now I'm getting a report on Palestine.

There's still no Iraq.

It's three hours of special coverage on Israel tonight. Sumner said he heard about it earlier and it's three hours.

So it's really good that at 16 minutes after, KPFA Evening News is still covering Israel. A letter to Hamas. Now we're on a poll -- no, not about the war in Iraq. We're still on Israel.

Oh, now we get Iraq. We get that Nouri al-Maliki criticized an attack by US and Iraqi forces. This is covered in C.I.'s snapshot, the attack, and there's nothing here. "More than 30 people were killed or found dead in Iraq today." No, that's not correct. Over 36 died. Finally, Cindy Sheehan gets mentioned. "We're going to be here until September 3rd." After that it's being moved to DC. "We met with different leaders of different palimentary parties and they all agreed the occupation is causing the problem and they want a fixed tiemline and they want troops withdrawn."

They didn't open with this. Who's at war with whom?

I'm sick of this nonsense. When I left for Ireland, Iraq was already on the backburner. Now it's shoved to over fifteen minutes after the hour and instead of a special tonight on her, we've got three hours on Israel. You know what, I'm fucking sick of it.

I'm sick of the Israel report. Thank God, Against the Grain had something else to cover today. I could listen to that. With other programs, I was walking out of the room. I don't need that constant, repeated coverage. I made the mistake of starting the day listening to Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman should be embarrassed. The woman who wanted kudos for broadcasting live from Camp Casey last year reduced Camp Casey to a headline. She turned the program over to the only topic that anyone wants to cover and then added a new topic. Not Camp Casey, not Iraq, but the Congo.

I'm tired of this nonsense. Did the heat in this country get to everyone while I was gone? Did everyone in the media, big and small, go stupid from the heat?

That's what I think. I don't plan to listen to The Morning Show tomorrow. I don't need day after day after day after day after day after day of, "And now we're going to talk about Lebanon." They also talked about Cuba today. Had an author on. Didn't have Iraq. Wasn't interested in Iraq. Didn't give a damn about Iraq.

This is crap. It's fucking crap. America went to war with Iraq, the war's not over. People need to get off their "look how wonderful I am" kick as they all rush to cover what Israel's doing and rush to ignore Iraq.

And C.I.'s made a good point for some time. Where the hell is the program on Iraq? KPFA, where the fuck is that show? It's over three years old, this war, and why can't one damn program on the radio station focus on Iraq?

This is supposed to be the peace network.

I'm not getting that these days.

I'm not getting that people even care to be informed about Iraq. When _____ is talking to Dahr Jamail about Falluja and is speaking of it highly (the slaughter), I'm not getting that ____ understands what went on in Falluja (in April or in November of 2004).

When I left, everyone was ignoring the Nancy A. Youssef story about how the US government was keeping a bodycount on dead Iraqis. I doubt that ever got covered.

I'm a longtime KPFA listener but this is ridiculous.

You cover an American war first. Especially when it's dragged on for over three years. Especially when, as Elaine pointed out, 14 US troops are dead this month and we're only on the seventh day of the month. And who knows what count they're sitting on that they'll announce a few days later.

I am fucking sick of this bullshit. That's all this is.

Every non-music program doesn't need to be rushing in to cover Israel. They do need to be rushing in to cover Iraq. The United States did go to war with Iraq. Iraq has fallen apart. I'll call it a civil war. And this nonsense of round the clock coverage of Israel while Iraq's pushed off the map is fucking bullshit.

I wonder how the pledge drive pitch will go? You know, it's almost time for it again. I guess we'll be told, "We're the only place you can go to get nonstop coverage of Israel's illegal actions"? Is that how the pitch will go? They can't claim they've offered serious reporting on Iraq because they haven't.

It's really interesting that we can get Saturday special coverage and we can get prime time special coverage of Israel but we don't get that on Iraq. I listen to the station, I've always listened to it. In good times and bad, I've been there for KPFA. But if this keeps up, I've got CDs I can listen to. I don't need this fucking shit of one topic and only one topic over and over and fucking over.

If C.I. reads this and freaks out (C.I. loathes criticizing KPFA), I'll note, I love the station but I can't listen to this. I've had it with the coverage. I've had it with going on program after program.

For those wondering, if C.I. does freak out, it will only come up if I bring it up. C.I. has never said, "How could you write that, Kat?" But if I've written something here that C.I. strongly disagrees with and I ask about it, I'll hear something along the lines of there are better targets. I respect that. But I'm writing this as KPFA listener, a lifetime listener. And their Iraq coverage isn't cutting it. This nonsense that they've added new programming but still haven't added even a once a week program devoted solely to the illegal war that the United States started over three years ago and this isn't important enough for regular coverage let alone a program devoted to it?

That's bullshit. There's no other word for it. Jim just walked in and asked me what I was writing about? (I'm at C.I.'s which is probably insulting since I'm at C.I.'s and writing about something that I'm sure isn't a topic C.I. would want covered.) He says C.I.'s not going to care. I hope that's true. I'm not trying to piss off a friend here. But KPFA has pissed me off.

Jim advised me to pull a name and put in "____" and otherwise says no problem. Jim says in the living room, someone's cornered C.I. and is saying pretty much what I'm writing here. I'm not surprised. Even Maggie's been complaining. When Maggie has reached the saturation point, Maggie who never seems to pay attention to anything, then there's a problem. Jim just said when he and Dona came out here for the summer, they were listening to KPFA non-stop but now don't see the point "because it's the same story over and over."

They've got a program director. Someone should be an adult and step in and say "Look, we've covered this topic. You need to find a new topic. Dennis will cover this later today. You need to focus on Iraq and other issues." You know where they could put an Iraq program, on the schedule in place of the second daily broadcast of Democracy Now! or, as I think of the show now, Look What Israel's Done Now!

That Cindy Sheehan wasn't the big topic on KPFA today, the peace network, is embarrassing. And if Amy Goodman thinks her non-stop coverage of Israel is "going where the silence is," she's kidding herself. The silence is on Iraq. Now maybe in New York they need this but KPFA listener's suffer no delusions about the government of Israel. We're talking about a government that condonese torture. Not "post-9-11." They've long tortured.

And Dahr Jamail, I though your site was called Iraq Dispatches, not Live from Lebanon. (A neighbor actually came up with that.)

I'm not in the mood for it. Iraq's falling apart and there's no coverage. Makes me wonder if during the Six-Day War, they would have dropped all coverage of Vietnam?

KPFA does realize that trials are going on into allegations of US forces murdering, raping, burning, you name it, Iraqis, right? And we probably don't hear the half of it. Back when Dahr Jamail was interested in Iraq, he was making that point. I hope he doesn't make a statement in a few months about how the coverage on Iraq has fallen away (he's said similar things before on KPFA) because he hasn't done a damn thing this month to increase the coverage of Iraq.

Dennis covers this on Flashpoints. KPFA has a program whose main focus is Gaza, Israel and Lebanon. We're losing Africa Today to get this three hour program on what Israel did today. No offense to Nora Barrows Friedman, but I had to turn it off. I've heard about nothing else all day. I don't need three hours of this. Let me hunt around for some CDs. C.I.'s got a stack by the computer.

Okay. I almost went with Jackson Browne (there were several) and was tempted by Stevie Wonder (a live album and Hotter Than July) but ended up going with Judy Collins' Wildflowers.
I came in here to do a quick post (with permission before anyone thinks I just go over to someone's home, bail on everyone, sneak off to a bedroom and boot up a computer). (I'm not Donna Mills' character on Knots Landing! I can't remember the character's name but I remember an episode where she was copying something from someone's computer.) I knew I was upset but listening to the radio in here just made me more upset.

I wasn't upset by Dennis. This is his topic. If you listen to Flashpoints at all, you know Dennis will be covering this and Nora as well. You know they'll do a great job of it. But I already listen to Flashpoints. I don't need to wake up to Amy Goodman giving me 40 minutes on this topic, then hearing it on The Morning Show, then on the repeat of Goodman's show . . .

KPFA's program director must not care about Iraq if nothing's been said about this.

KPFA doesn't give this kind of attention to Iraq and that is a US war. Lew Hill must be rolling in his grave. Must be thinking, "This is the moment!" because it is. People are against the war now, even Joe Lieberman has to make some noises about how it's okay to disagree with him on the war (after saying that those who criticize it are, what was it, not accepting that the Bully Boy is in charge for two more years? or was it undermining the troops? it was nonsense regardless), KPFA should be leading the charge aginst the Iraq war with nonstop coverage. Instead it gets hardly any coverage at all. That was true of the evening news which lead with Israel and gave report after report while Iraq got three. (Four if you count Lieberman.)

Let's move on to another topic (and away from how KPFA is breaking my heart). Sumner showed me an article and I wanted to note it today. This is from Nick Turse and Deborah Nelson's "Civilian Killings Went Unpunished: Declassified papers show U.S. atrocities went far beyond My Lai." (Los Angeles Times):

The men of B Company were in a dangerous state of mind. They had lost five men in a firefight the day before. The morning of Feb. 8, 1968, brought unwelcome orders to resume their sweep of the countryside, a green patchwork of rice paddies along Vietnam's central coast.
They met no resistance as they entered a nondescript settlement in Quang Nam province. So Jamie Henry, a 20-year-old medic, set his rifle down in a hut, unfastened his bandoliers and lighted a cigarette.
Just then, the voice of a lieutenant crackled across the radio. He reported that he had rounded up 19 civilians, and wanted to know what to do with them. Henry later recalled the company commander's response:
Kill anything that moves.
Henry stepped outside the hut and saw a small crowd of women and children. Then the shooting began.
Moments later, the 19 villagers lay dead or dying.
Back home in California, Henry published an account of the slaughter and held a news conference to air his allegations. Yet he and other Vietnam veterans who spoke out about war crimes were branded traitors and fabricators. No one was ever prosecuted for the massacre.
Now, nearly 40 years later, declassified Army files show that Henry was telling the truth -- about the Feb. 8 killings and a series of other atrocities by the men of B Company.
The files are part of a once-secret archive, assembled by a Pentagon task force in the early 1970s, that shows that confirmed atrocities by U.S. forces in Vietnam were more extensive than was previously known.
The documents detail 320 alleged incidents that were substantiated by Army investigators — not including the most notorious U.S. atrocity, the 1968 My Lai massacre.
Though not a complete accounting of Vietnam war crimes, the archive is the largest such collection to surface to date. About 9,000 pages, it includes investigative files, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports for top military brass.
The records describe recurrent attacks on ordinary Vietnamese -- families in their homes, farmers in rice paddies, teenagers out fishing. Hundreds of soldiers, in interviews with investigators and letters to commanders, described a violent minority who murdered, raped and tortured with impunity.
Abuses were not confined to a few rogue units, a Times review of the files found. They were uncovered in every Army division that operated in Vietnam.

Maybe forty or so years from now we'll find out about what really went on Iraq? We'll probably have to go to the LA Times for that. This should be big news. It won't be. It won't be because we live in a time where the revisionists got their way. I bring that up because there's a lesson here. The general pose after the fall of Saigon was that everyone had to be nice to the War Hawks. People let them put out their lies and either didn't take it seriously or didn't care. I remember people saying "Oh The Deer Hunter's crap but look as how great it looks!" And little by little, revisionism took hold.

So the point here is, don't let it happen. Don't be nice. Don't stay silent because "Golly gee everyone has a right to their opinion." They don't have a right to rewrite history.

But maybe none of us will know about it? Maybe we'll be able to talk at length about what Israel did in the summer of 2006 but have no idea what happened in Iraq?

On that note, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Monday, August 7, 2006 -- even if the "world's eyes" (media) elect to focus elsewhere.
While the failed "crackdown" attempts to beef up Baghdad and
George Casey ("Top U.S. commander in Iraq") holds a press conference to proclaim the military equivalent of "Check's in the mail!" (Casey claims things will be okey-dokey by the end of September) reality suggests otherwise with the AFP reports at least 26 Iraqis dead on Monday and BBC correspondent Paul Wood noting "of John Abizaid ("head of US Central Command") "that this is the first time the generals are talking openly about the possibility of a civil war." And more details emerge into the death of Abeer Qasim Hamza and her family as a US military investigator testifies before the Article 32 hearing.
Before turning to today's violence, we'll note the latest peace news.
On Sunday, Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford, Texas for Camp Casey III. Last summer, the first Camp Casey's were set up to honor her son Casey Sheehan who died April 4, 2004 as well as the other lost lives of this illegal war.
W. Leon Smith (Lonestar Iconoclast) reports on (and from) the new location for Camp Casey (several acres owned by Sheehan) and notes Sheehan's belief that the new location "will be safer than where we were before, and we won't be in the way as much as we were before. We are good neighbors. . . . If they can't put up with our presence for a few weeks, when our soldiers and the people of Iraq are suffering constantly because of what our other neighbor George Bush did, then I think they need to learn to relax a little bit and learn to live with us because, I promise you, I love Crawford and we will be good neighbors."
As The Lonestar Iconclast notes "
Bush Is Back . . . But So Is Sheehan" which reports this is Bully Buy's "59th" trip to the ranch and that "[a]s of Saturday, he had spent all or part of 384 days (more than a year of his presidency) in the area, which has drawn considerable criticism among those who believe that presidential vacations should be limited, especially when catastrophes abound throught the world."
This August, Bully Boy cuts his vacation short because he's a "
Bully on the Run" ("Bully on the Run") with Sheehan back in Crawford. Angela K. Brown (AP) reports that, on Sunday, "Sheehan and more than 50 demonstrators again marched a mile and a half toward Bush's ranch, stopping at a roadblock" and that the activists began a chant of "This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy sounds like!"
As the
AFP notes, Cindy Sheehan's return to Camp Crawford follows her trip to Jordan with other activists (including Medea Benjamin, Tom Hayden, Ann Wright, Diane Wilson and others) where ""We met with Iraqi parliamentarians, elected officials, who have peace plans and goals that they want to accomplish in Iraq, and all of them said the occupation is the cause of the problem and the occupation has to end."
For the Bully Boy, the only thing ending is his retreat to Crawford since he will now spend precious few days at his ranchette but
will weekend in Maine this month and hang out at Camp David. Clayton Hallmark (North Texas Indymedia) reports on the Bully Boy's ranchette, which used to be a hog farm (and still house a pig -- at least during vacations), noting that "[t]he new main house is built like a motel but with porch on the back instead of the front"; that the "style is that of an office factory" and that it "was built by a religious commune from nearby Elm Mott, TX (the FBI-decimated Branch Davidians were from Elk, also nearby), out of yellow-beige native limestone".
While Bully Boy is planning on pulling a disappearance stunt (shades of his releationship with the National Guard),
Richard Benedetto (USA Today) reports that Sheehan intends to stay in Crawford until September 3rd.
When Sheehan returned to Camp Casey, others on the
CODEPINK and Global Exchange sponsored trip to Amman, Jordan are hoping to arrive in Lebanon today -- those include Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright. Australia's Sunday Times reports:
"Medea said the group wanted to press congress, ahead of November elections, to support calls for 'a fixed timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and a commitment not to have permanent US bases in Iraq'." (
Marjorie Cohn noted on WBAI's Law and Disorder this morning that "we are now building six to fourteen permanent military bases" in Iraq.)
Jodie Evans reports on the first meeting in Jordan and notes some of the statements made by Iraqis including: "We witnessed with our own experience how American tanks used to break Universities and asked people to loot them. These people who started looting in the beginning were not from Iraq but other countries, Kuwait was involved." CODEPINK's Evans also notes the large number of Iraqis fleeing their country as the illegal war wages on and estimates that the city of Amman contains "about 500,000 Iraqis seeking safe harbor." Along with Evans, Hayden, Wright, Wilson and Benjamin, others on the trip to Jordan were: Dal LaMagna, Franciscan priest Louie Vitale, Gael Murphy, Jeeni Criscenzo, Raed Jarrar, Geoffrey Millard and Barbara Briggs-Letson.
The meeting in Amman is thought to have come about from the
Troops Home Fast actions. The fast continues and it is on day 35 with 4,549 people from around the world participating. The action started July 4th and continues through September 21st. If you're interested in participating, it is an ongoing fast and you can join at any time for a one-day strike, a one-day-a-week strike, or whatever works best for you. More information can be found at Troops Home Fast.
Rawya Rageh (AP) reports on a "suicide truck bomber" in Samarra whose actions have resulted in the death of nine Iraqi troops as well as ten civilians wounded. CBS and AP report two bombs in Baghdad, on Palestine Street ("major shopping area of Baghdad"), resulted in ten people being injured. Reuters reports a roadside bomb near Khalis killed four civilians and wounded at least seven; a bomb in Khan Bani Saad killed two (police officer and a civilians) and left seven more wounded; and, in Faulluja, a roadside bomb claimed the lives of six civilians leaving two more wounded.
Reuters reports that an attack by armed assailants in Baquba resulted in the death of six Iraqi soldiers and fifteen more wounded. The Associated Press notes fighting going on in Iraq, cites Col. Hassan Chaloub (police chief of Sadr City -- a district in Baghdad) noting that three people have died "including a woman and a 3-year-old girl" while "three cars and three houses also were destroyed."
AP also notes that two cars did a drive-by aimed at a barbershop in Baghdad and resulting in the death of "the owner and four customers"; while in Mosul, two police officers in a taxi were shot to death.
I believe the above incidents add up to 35 reported dead in Iraq (and that's not touching on US military claims of "insurgents" killed). Corpses?
AP notes that two corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("hancuffed . . . shot in the head").
From corpses to courts . . . New reports are coming out of the military inquiry into the death and alleged rape of
Abeer Qasim Hamza, the fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl who was killed along with three family members reported by US troops. Reuters reports that the "U.S. military court heard graphic testimony on Monday on how U.S. soldiers took turns holding down and raping" Abeer Sasim Hamza. Elsa McLaren "and agencies" (Times of London) reports that Benjamin Bierce testified on what James Barker told him when he (Bierce) began investigating the incident: " Barker said that he held the girl's hands while Sergeant Paul Cortez raped her or tried to rape her. Barker then switched positions with Cortez and attempted to rape the girl, but said he was not sure if he had done so, Special Agent Bierce told the hearing." After this, Bierce testifies, Steven Green came into the room "put down an AK-47 assault rifle and raped the girl while Cortez held her down". CBS and AP report that: "U.S. soldiers accused of raping and murdering a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in the town of Mahmoudiya last March drank alcohol and hit golf balls before the attack, and one of them grilled chicken wings afterward, an investigator told a U.S. military hearing Monday, citing a soldier's sworn statement."
In peace news,
Caroline Aoygi-Stom (New America Media) notes that the national JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) has taken a non-stand on Ehren Watada (sitting out another issue they could be impacting) despite the fact that "the Honolulu JACL has come out in full support of Watada, backing his decision to refuse deployment to Iraq." Watada is the first commissioned US officer known to have refused deployment in Iraq. Aoygi-Stom notes the latter's statement: "'The JACL Hawai'i, Honolulu chapter supports Lt. Ehren Watada's thoughtful and deliberate act of conscience. We believe Lt. Watada's refusal to participate in a war that violates the U.S. Constitution and international law is a principled act of patriotism,' the chapter said in their statement. 'We believe a staunch defense of the Constitution is in keeping with JACL Hawai'i's primary mission of protecting the civil and human rights of all'."
To read the national JACL's statement you
can click here (PDF format).
Remember that
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the war resistance movement and notes that attorneys in "Toronto and Vancouver . . . compared numbers" and estimate they've advised 200 Americans soldiers who've gone AWOL. War resister Brandon Hughey is quoted saying: "I've always believed if you need to defend yourself or your family from killing, then killing could be justified, but I can't kill someone without a good reason." May also speaks to Patrick Hart, Ryan Johnson, Darryl Anderson and others and May's report is also available as a podcast.

I'm closing with John Nichols' "Joe Lieberman's Desperate Measures" (Common Dreams) (and Larry Bensky did a great job covering this yesterday -- and was able to cover both Iraq and Lebanon -- hard to believe, isn't it?):

Joe Lieberman, down in the polls and desperate as Tuesday's Connecticut Senate primary approaches, tried on Sunday to remake himself as something he has not been for a very long time: A true-blue Democrat who respects dissent in his own party and the country as a whole.
Accusing his anti-war primary challenger, Ned Lamont, of waging "a distortion campaign against me," the Bush administration's favorite Democratic senator grumbled, "Now I understand that many Democrats in Connecticut disagree with me and are very angry about the war. I don't think there is anything I can say to change your mind about whether we should have gone to war or when we should bring the troops home, and at this point I'm not going to insult you by trying. What I will say is this: I not only respect your right to disagree or question the President, I value it. I was part of the anti-war movement in the late 1960s, so I don't need to be lectured by Ned Lamont about the place of dissent in our democracy."
With the primary just two days away, the senator professed to be shocked, shocked by suggestions that he might be something less than a diehard Democrat.
"The more I have talked to voters in these closing days, the more I am concerned they have been shortchanged in this campaign," said Lieberman. "Instead of hearing an honest debate about the issues that really matter to people, they have been overwhelmed with bogus charges about my Democratic credentials. Instead of having an honest discussion about your future, we're getting negative politics at its worst."
The new Democratic Joe Lieberman is a far cry from the Joe Lieberman who has spent the past four years as the pet Democrat of the conservative Fox News combine -- grinning, nodding and chirping his approval as conservative commentator Sean Hannity has trashed war critics and accused Democrats who challenge the Bush White House of something akin to treason.
Consider this sample from the transcipt of a February 10, 2006, appearance by Lieberman on Hannity's radio program:
HANNITY: I agree with you, and Senator, this is why I am very appreciative of the positions you've taken in the war on terror in the last number of years. And I know you've taken a lot of political heat from it from within your party. You've heard of Howard Dean's comments about you, for crying out loud.
LIEBERMAN: (Laughter)
HANNITY: I mean he could barely come out and support you. And, you know, Karl Rove said that Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview, and he said, it doesn't make them unpatriotic, but it makes them wrong.
HANNITY: He believes, profoundly consistently wrong. And I think the latest example of this is, we can kill members of Al Qaeda, but we've got Democrats up in arms over the idea that if Al Qaeda calls into the United States from an outside country, that, boy, we'd better get a court order to listen to them. It's absurd to me.
In the course of the same program last winter, Hannity offered to campaign for Lieberman, telling the neoconservative senator: "If you ever want me to do anything, for you and your re-election, I think we ought to have Conservatives for Lieberman, a big fundraiser in Connecticut, and if I could ever do that, I'd make it the biggest blowout celebration ever."
Lieberman responded by thanking Hannity and telling the Fox personality: "You're a great guy. It would just be fun to be with you."

I want to add to my comments about Larry Bensky. I wrote a post on him one time and thought, "Oh, don't post it." But I will. He's had health problems. He's been in journalism for a long time. He knows how to cover things -- last week he even did a translation (I recognized his voice, I don't believe he got credit on air). I wonder what happens when Bensky's gon? I'm not seeing right now that many people (C.S. Soong excepted) grasp that one-note coverage will cause listeners to tune out. I could say more. I did in the post I trashed. I didn't post that because he's never seemed the type to enjoy compliments. I'm sure he has an ego, we all do. But he's not someone who seems to enjoy being the focus. He hosts Sunday Salon and if you've never listened to it, check it out one Sunday (or anytime via the archived broadcasts).