Saturday, December 30, 2006


Poor Betty. She always frets over each chapter and the latest is one of the most important so she fretted even more. C.I. and I were both on the phone with her this morning. About two hours ago, she thought she was ready to post, then she called back two more times with revisions. She's worried it doesn't have enough humor but this is the chapter that's been hinted at since the beginning and I really don't think her readers are expecting belly laughs on this one. She had a firey speech for Betinna at one point but it wasn't working and C.I. suggested that Betinna saying less would actually work better because Betinna's probably like many readers, she kind of knew what happened, how she ended up with Thomas Friedman, but hearing it, and all the details, would be so shocking, that she really wouldn't have much to say. Betty loved that idea and then insisted on rewriting it to make Betinna more "clenched" throughout.

It's up and it's called "The Truth emerges from his fat mouth." She didn't change the time on the chapter so it shows as when she started to post it last night. That's fine because it shows how much she works on those chapters. I know it's an important one to her online novel so I hope you'll read it.

I really don't have much to say this morning. I'm kind of wiped out. Betty really pours the energy into those chapters and hates to part with them. I imagine she's exhausted right now and I know I am just from hearing the revisions. Let me note that Trina's "Ham and Potato Casserole in the Kitchen" posted this morning. She's got her pick for the year 2006 so check that out.

I'll note that on the phone, C.I. told us December's toll for US troops killed in Iraq was now at 109. December is the deadliest month of the year and the New York Times didn't even pay attention to it. Shows you what they care about.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, December 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Decemeber is now the deadliest month this year for US troops, Ehren Watada finally appears in print in The Nation, is Sabrina Tavernise angling to be the new joke of the New York Times, and the US military reveals how little heart and compassion they have as they move to court-martial a soldier suffering from PTSD -- one they did nothing to help.
Starting with fatality news. Today the
US military announced: "Three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Thursday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Watch for the New York Times to ignore that or Little Man Marcs to report "One marine died" if the pattern this month holds true. The Times can't say they weren't warned when they decided to ignore fatalities and minimize the few that they covered but readers of the paper who depend on it to provide reality (no chuckles) may end up shocked when they discover that today December became the deadliest month for US troops. The three deaths up the total for the month to 107. Prior to this announcement, October had been the deadliest month with 106.
Some outlets report 105 and that has to do with the fact that the US military tends to hold the deaths a bit, and has the since the start of the war, waiting for those first of the month look back press accounts to be published and then noting a death or two afterwards.
106 is the number ICCC uses, 106 is the one we'll go with here. 107 is now the total number of US troops who have died in Iraq this month. The total number of US troops who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 2996 -- four shy of the 3,000 mark.
US troops have not been the only military fatalities and England's
Ministry of Defense notes:"It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a UK serviceman was killed yesterday, Thursday 28 December 2006, in Basrah, southern Iraq. The soldier, from 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City when the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle he was travelling in was targeted by a roadside bomb. He was very seriously injured and airlifted to the Field Hospital at Shaibah Logistics Base, but unfortunately died later as a result of his injuries." That death brought the total number of British troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 127.
Turning to the issue of war resistance and starting with The Nation magazine. On page 14 of the January 8/15 2007 issue (a double issue) Marc Cooper has an article entitled "Lt. Ehren Watad: Resister." The Nation makes the article
availble online to subscribrs only for whatever reasons but seems unaware that they've published it for all (subscribers and non-subscribers) on Yahoo -- click here. Cooper describes Ehren Watada as "the lighning rod case of resistance" (Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq); and notes the speech he gave in August at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle (click here for text at CounterPunch and here at Truthout which offers both text and video of the speech) where Watada declared, "The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."; and notes that, in January, "a 'Citizen's Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq,' featuring Daniel Ellsberg and Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk will be convened in Tacoma, Washinginton, in support of Watada".
January 4th is the date scheduled for the military's pre-trial hearing and Feb. 5th is when the court-martial is scheduled to begin. The US military is attempting to force journalists to testify at the pre-trial hearing (see
yesterday's snapshot).
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing (who was released from the military brig on Satuday) Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
Resistance takes many forms in the peace movement. As noted in yesterday's snapshot,
Cindy Sheehan was arrested in Crawford, Texas outside Bully Boy's ranchette along with four other activists. Sheehan called the action a "peace surge" to combat Bully Boy's notions of escalating the number of US troops in Iraq. The AP reports that Sheehan's attorney Robert Gottlieb believes the arrest will have no impact on the conditional verdict the judge issued this month in Manhattan. The Smoking Gun reports that, were Sheehan convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in prison and the maximum fine is $2,000.
In another mother for peace news,
Theresa Hogue (Corvallis Gazette-Times) reported last week on Michelle Darr, a mother of six, who was arrested December 12th for attempting to get US Senator Gordon Smith to sign the Declaration of Peace (her third arrest this year for attempting to lobby Smith, she was arrested twice in September) and will face a tril in January. Darr told Hogue, "What they (her children) see me doing is as important as what they don't see me doing. If Im not using my voice and efforts in the cause of the common good, how can I expect them to take initiative when the need arises? I don’t want them to ever think oppression and genocide are acceptable, or that war is a way to solve problems."
Along with courageous acts of resistance like Sheehan's and Darr's, demonstrations will take part around the United States to note the 3,000 mark for US fatalities in Iraq.
United for Peace and Justice notes:
Another Grim Milestone -- 3,000 Deaths Too ManyMore than 2,990 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. By the time you read this, the death toll may have reached 3,000. We must bear witness to this tragic milestone, even though many people are already beginning their celebrations of the new year. And when we do take action on this occasion, we must remind others that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, women and men have also died in this outrageous war and occupation. Our call to end this war and to bring all the troops home now must be heard in every corner of the country! The killing must stop. Click here for some suggested ways to bear witness.
Military Families Speak Out notes:
MILITARY FAMILIES MOURN 3,000TH TROOP DEATH, PARTICIPATE IN NATIONWIDE VIGILS AND CALL ON CONGRESS TO END THE IRAQ WAR Family Members of Fallen Soldiers and Families of Troops Currently Deployed in Iraq Available for Interview Dec 29, 06 On the eve of the 3,000th troop death, the next horrific milestone in the Iraq war, Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), an organization of over 3,100 military families opposed to the war in Iraq, calls on the 110th Congress to honor the fallen and prevent further deaths by taking action to end the Iraq war. read more »
3000 Deaths Too Many As Bush considers sending thousands of additional troops to Iraq to control the violence, our troop death toll nears the 3,000 mark. It is crucial that we commemorate this grim milestone in Bush's disastrous war by pressuring Congress to bring the troops home NOW, and to stop this insanity NOW! Click here for CODEPINK suggested actions you can take.
Also refer to
World Can't Wait's Protests & Vigils Planned the Day After the Number of US Troops Killed in Iraq Reaches 3,000
As the press continues to note that Bully Boy is seriously considering escalating the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq,
Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) note: "Two attempts last summer to stabilize Baghdad by sending in more troops failed. The increased U.S. presence led to a brief drop in violence, but as soon as the troops left the neighborhoods where they'd deployed, the violence skyrocketed." That was the crackdown that cracked up and accomplished nothing. It began in June and by August, the US military was noting that, in July, attacks on US forces were up (double the January amount) and bombing attacks on civilians were up 10%. And last week Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the US Pentagon's findings "that the violence in Iraq soared this fall to its highest level on record" and this during the continued increase of US troops in Iraq. But like a greedy tele-evangilist, Bully Boy can just cry out, "Send more! Send more!"
CNN reports a bomber "waited near the house of Sheik Kadhim Hameed Qassim" in northern Bagdad and then detonated the bomb "when the clearic, his security and family members arrived after Friday prayers" leaving the Shi'ite cleric dead and also killing "his brother and severn others" and leaving 15 wounded.
Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Jurf al-Sakhar and seven more wounded.AFP reports a police officer and "a bystander" were shot dead in Hindiya while, in Mussayib, a police officer was shot dead and five more wounded. KUNA reports four Iraqi soldiers were shot dead "southwest of Kirkuk" and a fifth Iraqi soldier was injured while, in nothern Iraq, "two employees who . . . worked for the Petroleum State Company" were shot dead.
KUNA reports that the corpse of a kidnapped police officer was discovered in Kirkuk.
AFP reports on the increasing demise of communal baths in Baghdad from violence and financial costs: "In its glory days when Iraq was one of the most developed Arab countries in the Middle East, the hammam used to employ 16 people. Today only four permanent staff remains on the payroll as massive inflation takes hold." and quotes the owner of the bathhouse explaining, "The electricity is often down. Gas for heating has become too expensive. We pay 20,000 dinars ($14) for a bottle compared to 1,000 just two or three years ago. How do you expect me to carry on? There are days when it costs me more to open than doing nothing. I love my profession but it's disappearing."
In I-Schilled-for-the-U.S.-military-and-all-I-got-was-a-red-face news,
Sabrina Tavernise's 'scoop' in the New York Times had holes blown through it earlier this week and has now fallen apart completely. The US military announced (to her and James Glanz of the New York Times) that they had been holding Iranian 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' since the 12th of December. In the latest development to rip the story of Iranian 'terrorists' to shreds, the BBC reports that the two diplomats who were held by US forces but in the country of Iraq at the invitation of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, were released. On the detention of the two diplomats, AFP quotes the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hasan Kazemi Qomi, stating: "Fortunately with the effort exerted by the Iraqi officials, the US forces who firstly denied their arrest were obliged to admit it and under pressure from the Iraqi government to release them. The arrest of these diplomats was carried out contrary to international laws and the Geneva convention."
In the US, the
AP reports: "Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, 24, of Mont Alto, died Wednesday afternoon at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas" after being injured in November 13th bombing in Ramadi and quotes his grandfather, Edward Shaffer, stating that "All they could do was try to keep him comfortable. They couldn't do any more for him." 24 year-old Shaffer is among many troops who die from physical injuries recieved in Iraq but, due to dying after they are shipped out of Iraq, do not get included in the official body count.
Another war related death not included in the count is
covered by Megan Greenwell (Washington Post), 29-year-old James E. Dean, who had served in Afghanistan and recently recieved orders to deploy to Iraq, barricaded himself in his father's house on Christmas day, and was killed in an exchange with police officers.
NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported that the US army's crappy record on addressing PTSD within the ranks just got worse: the army is moving to court-martial Tyler Jennings who suffers from PTSD and was diagnosed with "Crying spells... hopelessness... helplessness... worthlessness" five months ago and received no assistance.
ehren watada

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why wasn't Herb London i.d.ed as a right-winger?

I'm not endorsing John Edwards, I'm also not saying "Don't vote for him." I want to make that clear because I've got no opinion of him one way or another.

But I do have an opinion about the crap that just aired on The KPFA Evening News. Herb London was quoted (actually a soundbyte of him speaking) twice saying that Americans didn't want that sort of 'class war' talk. I have no idea who Herb London is, I'm asking, "Who the hell is Herb London? What's this think tank he's with?"

C.I. explains the Hudson Institute is a right-wing think tank, though it claims otherwise, and that London is one of the many schills who starts screaming 'class warfare' whenever the obvious is pointed out. Why wasn't that stated on KPFA tonight?

I'm listening and trying to figure out why lefty (I assume) Herb London is trashing Edwards speech and saying crap like 'Americans want to hear about economic opportunities, not class wafare.' He's saying it because he's a damn conservative and he needs to be identified as such when he speaks. Ralph Nader, who said some nice things about Edwards, may not need to be identified -- I think most adults know who he is -- but this ass wipe Herb London needed to be identified and since he was pushing the crap he always pushes -- as opposed to really commenting on Edwards -- he shouldn't have been on the program without being identified. I also question the value of putting that right-wing spin on air to begin with.

Best thing online today? "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)" -- saying all that needs to be said. Don't miss C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, December 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with 41 corpses discovered just in the capital, Bully Boy continues to string along the world as he hints at a 'new' 'plan,' the 3,000 mark for US troops killed in Iraq hovers ever closer, Cindy Sheehan continues speaking out and is arrested in Crawford, Texas, and US war resister Ricky Clousing speaks about his decision to stand up against the war and the 73 days he spent in military prison.
Starting with peace news. "I feel like I chose the path that was meant for me." That's
Ricky Clousing speaking to Steve Maynard (Washington's The News Tribune) about his decision to say no to the illegal war. Maynard interviewed Clousing in his mother and step-father's home in Washington and the 73 days he spent in a military brig after his court-martial, his plans for the future (long range, college -- "I've always wanted to be a teacher") and his decision to say "no" to the illegal war: "I don't regret my decision to go AWOL in any way. I served my country better by saying 'no' to being in uniform."
Reflecting on the year,
Mark Schneider (The Palestine Chronicle) finds reasons for hope in a number of things including war resisters like Clousing:
Closer to home, cheers of love out to the thousands of U.S. soldiers who have gone AWOL instead of violating their conscience to involve themselves in the U.S. genocide of Iraq. Many have rightly fled to Canada, some have faced court-martial and years in prison in the U.S. The first officer to refuse orders is Lt. Ehren Watada, whose mom, Carolyn Ho, this month has been on a speaking tour talking about parents have a duty to prevent their children from participating in illegal wars.For years I've had this dream of getting hundreds of U.S. moms and dads taking flights into Amman and Baghdad and then dramatically going to find and retrieve (yanking them by their ears?) their soldier-children. What shame that would bring the U.S.! Cindy Sheehan and Fernando Suarez del Solar are vestiges of such a drama.
During a speech at the August, 2006 Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle, Watada cracked emotion stating, "to stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."The most powerful element of the anti-war movement against U.S. genocide in Vietnam were the returning Vets, resisters and deserters who used their privileged positions to take radical positions and action. Though I have a separate post with a quick run-down of the best movies I saw this year, this is a good segue to
Sir No Sir, a new film documentary (that has been released for rental), about those Vietnam Vets who resisted. In their promotional material, the filmmakers, thank them, have made the obvious links between then and now go to their website and click on the "Punk Ass Crusade" link).
This film will leave you teared up and inspired.

And, if you're in the Phoenix area, you can see
Sir! No Sir! this Saturday. Mike Millard (The Phoenix News) reports that David Zeiger's documentary will be shown at the First Annual Peace on Earth Event in Jamaica Plain at 6:00 pm (85 Seaverns St.) and will be followed by a discussion with Halsey Bernard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Joe Bangert who served in Vietnam. The event is co-sponsored by Military Families Speak Out and People United for Peace with a two dollar admission fee.
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) reports that the US military continues to attempt to force reporters to be witnesses for the prosecution in the January 4th pre-trial hearing of US war resister Ehren Watada (to be followed by his Feb. 5th court-martial) and quotes independent journalists Sarah Olson ("It's my job to report the news, not to participate in a government prosecution. Testifying against my source would turn the press into an investigative tool of the government and chill dissenting voices in the United States.") and Dahr Jamail ("I don't believe that reporters should be put in the position of having to participate in a prosecution. This is particularly poignant in this case, where journalists would be used to build a case against free speech for military personnel.").
Clousing and Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
War resistance and the peace movement are the only things that will end the illegal war. This morning, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 27. " And the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital Dec. 27." Since then, the US military has announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 was killed in action while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar Province December 27." And they have announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier north of the Iraqi capital Dec. 28." The total number of US military deaths in Iraq for the month of December thus far now stands at 102 -- only four less than the month with the highest count this year (October, with 106). The death brings the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 2991 -- nine short of 3,000. [AFP notes: "medical advances mean the number is a lot lower than would have been expected." Which also means a rise in the number of seriously injured.]
Carey Gillam (Reuters) reports that "some 140 demonstrations in 37 states are planned to mark the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq, a milestone that is likely only days away" and quotes Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessin: "This horrific and tragic milestone allows us to remind this country of the daily unending human toll of a war that didn't have to happen."As the 3,000 mark edges ever closer, Bully Boy continues to contemplate escalation as a 'new' 'plan' to 'win' the unwinnable war and says he is making "good progress" (he grades on a curve).CNN reports that Cindy Sheehan has once again stood up to the Bully Boy and his war machine and been arrested in Crawford, Texas (along with four other activists) for doing so. On the possible escalation, AP reports: "Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say a surge in troop levels some people are calling for is a bad idea."
CNN reports two people dead and 19 wounded from a car bomb in Mosul that apparently targeted "an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul". The Canadian Press reportsa bombing in Baghdad this morning using two bombs ("opposite a park in the South Gate area") that claimed 9 lives and left 43 more wounded, 12 more killed and 26 wounded by a bombing "near al-Sha'ab stadium in Eastern Baghdad" and a bombing in western Baghdad that killed two people and left four more wounded. Meanwhile Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Hawija that left 3 police officers wounded.
Reuters reports one police officer shot dead in Kirkuk and another wounded, two Iraqi soldiers shot dead in Tikrit and another wounded and a police officer shot dead in Baquba with two more wounded.
Reuters notes 49 corpses discovered in Baghdad and three in Mosul.
On Cindy Sheehan's arrest,
AP notes that she and four others "lay or sat" on a road near Bully Boy's ranchette in Crawford, TX for 20 minutes before they were arrested and that they were part of a "peace surge" to refute Bully Boy's talk of an escalation in the number of US troops in Iraq. (The 3,5000 who will go to Kuwait in January will be used as a reserve to deploy as needed.) Waco's KWTX reports: " The five were taken to the Crawford Police Department and a van was dispatched to transport them to the McLennan County Jail. They were charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway, which is a Class B misdemeanor. The protesters told a News Ten crew as they were led into the police department they didn’t know why they had been taken into custody. In the video KWTX posts, Cindy Sheehan states, "They should have arrested George Bush, not us."
ricky clousingehren watada

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Guns and Butter, Norman Solomon, et al

Front-Page Pundit Award - Reporter Michael Gordon and the New York Times.
With many voters telling pollsters that they want US troops to leave Iraq, the Times front-paged a post-election analysis by Michael Gordon - headlined "Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say" - quoting three hand-picked "experts" who decried the possibility of troop withdrawal. Gordon didn't tell readers that one of his "experts," former CIA analyst Ken Pollack, had relentlessly promoted an Iraq invasion based on wildly false claims about an Iraqi threat. Gordon took off his reporter's hat that night on CNN to become an unabashed advocate for his view that withdrawing US troops from Iraq would lead to "civil war" (as though civil war weren't already underway).

That's from Norman Solomon's "Announcing the P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2006" and I'm opening with it in the hopes that this is a sign others are going to be taking on Michael Gordon in 2007. In 2006? Don't kid that anyone but C.I. was doing the heavy lifting on this topic. While "media critics" were still talking about Judith Miller (who published nothing in the Times in 2006, having left the paper in 2005) and still ignoring the lies of Dexter Filkins, C.I. was addressing the drive-by Kate Zernike, the war porn of Michael Gordon and much more. I'll share my thoughts on 2006 after C.I. finishes the year-in-review. I'm waiting until then because I've read parts of C.I.'s piece and know the title (priceless!) and am afraid I'd spoil something if I wrote about it tonight.

C.I.'s "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today" went up when I was debating whether or not to call. I wasn't sure C.I. would be up due to being sick but C.I.'s still working out every morning and caught the nonsense on Democracy Now! today. There is no excuse for Barbara Ehrenreich being ignorant about GreenStone Media when she elects to talk about it and there's no excuse for Democracy Now! airing it when they should have grasped that Ehrenreich didn't know what she was talking about. On the plus side, it's this sort of crap that women get (even when served up by women like Ehrenreich) that really motivates C.I. to keep going. When I did call, I opened with, "Skip Democracy Now! today, it'll just make you angry and I'll cover it at my site." C.I. said to write anything I wanted about it but noted there was already an entry at The Common Ills. I made a joke about C.I. being the 'rapid response' arm of the feminist movement.

When C.I. wrote at length recently about the fact that Democracy Now! and others give a platform to a man arrested twice for attempting to seek out sexual relations with an underage girl, C.I. noted that feminists were quite aware they were guests at the party. The slam on Democracy Now! today demonstrated that. And it does explain why women will say to C.I., "Can you write about this? If I talk about it, I'll get slammed." They would too. (And C.I. did get slammed but doesn't give a damn.)

Dateline just did a story on sexual predators who go online in search of victims (what the 'voice' Democracy Now!, Laura Flanders, The Nation, Truthout and others give a platform to was arrested -- twice -- for doing) and I also caught a broadcast of PBS's women's forum show (I don't the name of it). Kim Gandy, Eleanor Norton-Holmes and two right-wing women were speaking of how girls needed to be protected from sexual predators. Left and right, women were agreed that sexual predators are not acceptable or respected. So let me ask the question, "Why do Laura Flanders, Katrina vanden Huevel, Amy Goodman and who ever is responsible for Truthout continue to publish and book as a guest a man arrested for being a sexual predator twice?"

I'm glad that C.I.'s spoken out about the nonsense of providing a platform for a sexual predator. I'm not surprised others won't call out those who provide the platform. But someone needs to. And when he's arrested a third time, it's all going to blow up in our supposed "independent" media's face. They should all be ashamed.

While Democracy Now! ignored the Warren Commission in superficial coverage of Gerald Ford's death today (apparently his death warrants an entire program -- how very mainstream media of them) and offered the slam on Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and GreenStone Media, you really didn't get anything that informed you or empowered you. That's really sad.

Wednesday means KPFA broadcasts Guns and Butter and it was a great show rebroadcast from 2003. Frank Morales was the guest and he's written for Covert Action Quarterly and Global Outlook. Morales was discussing the police state and efforts to allow the US military to police the United States, to silence dissent and much more. Morales will be one of the guests next month and this was was a wide ranging conversation that also serves as a set up to his appearence next month.

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths of US troops while they call up 3,500 more troops, a British general calls for more war money while lowering expectations, England and the United States face strong backlashes in Iraq and the puppet of the occupation proves unpopular.
As December has become the second deadliest month in 2006 it's easy to see who covers the fatalities (Washington Post -- usually
Nancy Trejos) and who doesn't (New York Times). Today the US military announced: "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died as a result of non-combat related injuries on Logistics Support Area Anaconda Dec 23." And they also announced: "A second Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of injuries received when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." And they announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." ICCC lists the total for the month of December thus far at 94. October is the month with the highest US fatalities in 2006 (thus far): 106. The total number of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 2983, 17 away from the 3,000 mark.
Meanwhile the
US Defense Department reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hasapproved John Abizaid's request and 3,500 troops of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team were informed today that at the start of next month they will deploy to Kuwait to replace the 15h MEU who moved to al-Anbar Province last month.
The call up means that 3,500 troops have had to head to Fort Bragg and cut short the holidays. In Iraq, the holiday reflected the illegal war.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that, for little girls, crying dolls were the most popular gift and, for little boys, tanks and guns because, as Ahmed Ghazi told the reporters, "Children try to imitate what they see out of their windows." Jamil and Al-Fadhily write:
Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressingtheir repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
"Looking around, they only see gatherings of mourning ladies who lost their beloved ones," said Khalil. "Our job of comforting these little girls and remedying the damage within them is next to impossible."
[. . .]
"The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," Maruan Abdullah, spokesman for the Association of Psychologists of Iraq told reporters at the launch of a study in February this year.

Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that Major General Richard Shirreff ("commander of British troops in southern Iraq") is stating that the British Army is underfunded and lowering expectations for 'democracy' and/or 'liberation' in Iraq -- Shirref stated: "When I set up, came up here and initiated the operations we have been conducting, I was looking for a 100% solution. But this is Iraq, this is Arabia and this is reality, so a 60% solution is good enough for me." This as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that Monday's raid and destruction, by British forces, on a police station in Basra is resulting in a backlash: " Several local leaders, including the head of the city council and a Basra police commander, have condemned Monday's raid. Mohammed al-Ibadi, provincial council chairman, said the council had decided to cut off ties with British forces pending an explanation of why they destroyed an 'Iraq government building flying the Iraqi flag' and removed detainees he described as suspected terrorists'."
This as the US faces their own backlash over a death in Najaf. Earlier today, Reuters reported that,
despite earlier denails by the US military, a US soldier was the one who shot an official of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports: "Thousands of supporters of anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through the holy Iraqi city of Najaf in an angry funeral procession after a senior Sadr aide was killed by a U.S. soldier on Wednesday. Chanting 'No to America' and carrying placards decrying U.S. occupation, mourners, including black-robed clerics, carried the coffin of Saheb al-Amiri through the streets." Supporters maintain that Saheb al-Amiri was shot dead "in front of his wife and children" and that he was a charity lawyer, not a 'terrorist.' The attack on the member of al-Sadr's bloc follows last week's (unsuccessful) efforts by the US to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr as outlined by Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) Friday.
While England and the United States face backlashes,
Reuters reports that a bomb has killed two Latvian soldiers and left three more wounded. In other violence today . . .
BBC reports a car bombing in east Baghdad that has claimed 8 lives and left 10 more wounded. The Press Association reports that seven British troops were wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Baghdad that left five people wounded and a roadisde bomb in Suwayra that killed three Iraqi soldiers.
Reuters notes an attack on "a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Higher Education" that left two wounded.
In peace news,
Dana Hull (San Jose Mercury News) reports that Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Patrick Ryan McCaffrey who was killed in Iraq by Iraqi security forces he was training, is planning to build a retreat for returning troops -- Nadia McCaffrey: "Patrick isn't dead. His spirit is very much alive, in me and all around us. The rest of my life is going to be dedicated to peace and justice, and to helping the veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.''
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that the support for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continues to nose dive among Iraqis (some polls noting 90% of Iraqis are displeased with al-Maliki's 'governing') and notes that Tariq al-Hashimi ("leader of the Islamic Party") feels that many have been shut out in al-Maliki's so-called unity coalition while Dr. Salih al-Mutlaq tells the reporters, "This government will definitely lead the country into a disaster."

iraqthe washington postnancy trejos

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


That's one of the things that C.I. noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Congratulations to Amy Goodman.

I want to take a very brief moment to note that C.I. and Ava (and Ava says "More C.I. than I") were responsible for Sunday's edition, managed to cover a number of topics, had a bit more features than usual and finished with the edition at least six hours earlier than usual. Ava wants a quote: "That was C.I.'s doing. So give the thanks and praise to C.I."

So that's that and here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the 3,000 mark for US troops killed in Iraq looms ever closer, Bully Boy continues to remain inactive and mum on what's next in his illegal war, a US war resister returns home and another gets some of the attention his stance warrants (no surprise, it doesn't come from independent media print division).
Starting with US military fatalities, there was no link between Iraq and 9-11. Now the number of US troops killed in Iraq tops the number of people killed on September 11, 2001.
AFP reports their count of US troops who have died in Iraq is 2975 which "is two more than the 2,973 people killed on September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda hijackers seized four airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvanian field. . . . The landmark American death toll, emerging over the Christmas holiday season, represents another political blow for Bush, who earlier this month was forced to admit for the first time that the US was not winning in Iraq."
CBS and AP note: "CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports that December is already the second deadliest month of 2006 for U.S. forces in Iraq. The depressing question now, Pinkston says, is whether the final figure will exceed October's of 106" and "Another sobering statistic; Iraqi officials report that 12,000 national police officers have been killed since the invasion in 2003, says Pinkston."
noted this morning:

US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And finally (thus far) today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing three Soldiers northwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26."

Since then, the
US military has announced: "One Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed and two others injured when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." This brings the total number of US troops killed in Iraq for the month thus far to 90 and the total since the start of the illegal war to 2979 -- 21 away from the 3,000 mark.
In the face of this, all Bully Boy has to offer is the so-called 'surge' option which failed miserably in the continued 'crackdown' of Baghdad -- failed in June, failed in July, failed in August, failed in September, failed in October (when even the Pentagon had to note the all time rise in the number of attacks), failed in November and is failing in December.
AP reports that US Senator Joseph Biden is against the 'surge' option calling it "the absolute wrong strategy," noting he will fight efforts to implement it and that he continues to advocate "a drawdown of U.S. forces and finding a political settlement among the various ethnic factions there." CNN reports that Biden, who is expected to chair the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate next month, has asked US Secretary of State Condi "to testify during three weeks of hearings in January about the Iraq war" that would begin January 9th and would also seek testimony from "former secretaries of state, academics, Iraq Study Group members and other witnesses from outside the administration as the committee examines various approaches to the war."
BBC reports 15 dead and 35 wounded in a bombing of a Sunni mosque today (northern Baghdad) which was preceeded by an earlier attack, using multiple bombs, in southwest Baghdad that "was severe, even by Iraqi standards, the BBC's Peter Greste reports from Baghdad" that claimed at least 15 lives and left at least 60 wounded. Christopher Torchia (AP) reports that the number of people killed in the latter attack rose to 25 and also notes an eastern Baghdad bombing that killed four police officers. AFP reports a roadside bomb killed three Iraqi children ("under the age of 12") and left eight more wounded when they were attempting to go to school.
Reuters notes two police officers were injured in a drive-by shooting near Kirkuk.
Lauren Frayer (AP) reports: "Police found 49 bodies bearing signs of torture dumped across the country, mostly in Baghdad." Reuters notes six corpses were found in Baquba.
In peace news, US war resister
Ricky Clousing was released from the brig at Camp Lejeune on Saturday where he had been sentenced for three months following an October court-martial. Clousing self-checked out of the military in June 2005 and, on August 11, 2006, announced that he was turning himself in. Cheryl Johnston Sadgrove (The News & Observer) reports that Clousing and some supporters first gathered Saturday at Raleigh's Vietnam Veterans Memorial before heading to the Quaker meeting house and meeting up with about 36 more people where Clousing spoke about his decision to refuse to participate in the illegal war and life in military prison: "I had a bed and food and shelter. To me -- it was a time out. I took that time to read and think about what I want to do after that." The Associated Press reports that Clousing stated, "It feels good, but it feels surreal because I don't have to deal with the military anymore. . . . My decision was never personal to my command. I had to honor my own personal convictions. I'm excited to finally be finished with the military. I've gotten the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and the system I fell under." Kelley Chambers (Jacksonville's The Daily News) quotes Veterans for Peace's Dave Taylor, “(Clousing) said to me, “I was willing to do my duty but I’m not going back to that war because I think it’s wrong,’” said Taylor. “I can’t not back him up because of that.”
Another US war resister,
Ehren Watada, has been the topic of year end media attention (no, not from independent media). Rolling Stone picked Watada for their 2006 Honor Roll noting:

Watada, who enlisted in 2003, was praised by his superiors as an "exemplary" officer. But when he refused to ship out to Iraq, he not only became the first commissioned officer to do so -- he even rejected a desk job. "My participation would make me a party to war crimes," declared Watada, who calls the war a "horrible breach of American law." He now faces court-martial and eight years in the brig.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin picked him for their "10 Who Made a Difference" series and
Robert Shikina observed: "Watada brought his case to the public's attention, appearing at anti-war demonstrations -- he spoke to a crowd of more than 300 recently in Honolulu -- and speaking to the media to defend his beliefs. The army initiated a court-martial against Watada for missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer for statemens he made about the war. A charge of contempt toward a government official for statements he made about President Bush was later dropped. Watada has criticized the government of committing lies to drag the U.S. into war in Iraq for the benefit of large corporations. He said he is defending the U.S. Constitution."
Phil Tajitsu Nash (Asian Week) picked Watada as one of the "Real People of the Year" noting:"When it was more damaging to his career to do so, however, Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada did not flinch when he publicly stated he believes the Iraq war is illegal, and publicly refused orders to deploy to Iraq to lead his troops later that month. He now faces possible court martial and prison time for his position, but refuses to back down. 'It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order -- including the order to go to war,' he said. 'The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes'."
Clousing and Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Joel Wendland (Political Affairs) reviews Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to the War in Iraq which examines the resistance and a large number of the resisters (including Joshua Key, Darrell Anderson, Jeremy Hinzman, Ryan Johnson and others). Wendland notes: "While this military-based movement falls numerically short of such opposition during the Vietnam War (approximately 170,000 draftees refused to fight by registering as conscientious objectors), today's numbers are still significant within the context of a so-called volunteer army. Indeed, many war resisters have been denied conscientious objector status and subsequently punished for their refusal to participate in what they consider an immoral or illegal war."
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month. Information on past and present war resistance can also be found in David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! which tells the story of war resistance during the Vietnam era and, in the new director's edition, also includes bonus material on Camilo Mejia's court-martial, interviews with Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda about today's war resistance, and more. The director's cut is availabe for $23.95 and the original version is currently available for $12.95.
CNN reports on the Iranians arrested in Baghdad (that the US government and the New York Times -- they still are seperate entities, right? -- has spun as 'terrorists' who entered the country to add to the chaos and violence) noting that Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani states they were in the country at his invitation and Iran's Foreign Ministry has stated "this action is not justifiable by any international rules or regulations and will have unpleasant consequences."

ricky clousingehren watada