Friday, May 18, 2007

Matthew Rothschild, Robert Parry, Dona, C.I.

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.
Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility "for ensuring constitutional government."
He laid this all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."
The White House released it on May 9.

That's from Matthew Rothschild's "Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency" (The Progressive). Does that register? Does it frighten?

Just tossing it out there. I'll also toss out an excerpt of Robert Parry's "Rejecting Reality in Iraq" (Consortium News):

The well-regarded British research organization, Chatham House, has published a new report with the seemingly unobjectionable title "Accepting Realities in Iraq." But it is that difficulty -- facing up to what is real -- that has been at the heart of this political and military catastrophe.
From the beginning, George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisers have put ideology and wishful thinking ahead of rationality and realism. This tendency explains why so many pieces of evidence cited to support the Iraq invasion have proven false and why so many claims of progress have proven overly optimistic.
There always was a cockiness among Bush and his Republican allies that they could bend American perceptions of reality by putting out their message aggressively and shouting down any dissenting voices.
Given the potent right-wing news media -- and the timid and complicit mainstream press – the neocon strategy of flooding the process with alarming pseudo-information worked wonders in 2002, convincing many Americans that there was a desperate need to invade Iraq.
During that run-up to war, very few people were willing to risk their careers by challenging the Bush administration’s narrative on Iraq. Those who did -- from former weapons inspector Scott Ritter to the Dixie Chicks -- were punished. "Respectable" Washington political circles, including key Democrats and leading journalists, largely sided with Bush.
It turned out, however, that Bush’s power to impose his will on adversaries faded the farther away he got from the booming voices of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly.
So, while right-wing bombast attacking Iraq War critics as "traitors" and "surrender monkeys" kept most politicians and pundits in line in the United States, the threatening language had less impact on the ground in Iraq.
Indeed, today's intractable crisis in the Middle East is arguably more dangerous because of the divergence between the harsh realities in Iraq and the more pleasing false reality that has been cultivated in Washington.
In particular, Bush's Republican "base" continues to believe that the war in Iraq is going well, that the "surge" is bringing America closer to victory and that the biggest problem is that "liberal bias" in the news media is obscuring all the President's successes.
At the first two debates of Republican presidential candidates, the loudest applause went to tough talk about the "war on terror," including the need to torture suspects and to expand the Guantanamo Bay prison complex. Even the mildest, most indirect criticism of Bush’s policies was met by stony silence.
It's as if a substantial part of the U.S. population has joined a Jonestown-like cult, willfully cutting itself off from the real world and accepting the truth handed down by the cult leader, in this case the President of the United States.
For years at -- indeed since our founding in 1995 -- we have warned that an emerging false narrative of recent American history represented a danger to the United States as a constitutional Republic. Regarding Iraq, our stories in 2002-03 observed how White House wishful thinking was sure to get many good people killed. [See, for instance, "
Bay of Pigs Meets Black Hawk Down."]

It should go without saying that I shed no tears for Scott Ritter and the public exposure of his arrests for attempted online hookups with underage females. I do like Parry and I think Dona had some great points in "Mailbag" worth sharing:

Dona: I don't think it's open to debate. I'm jumping in because Ava asked me to because she finds the comment so "stupid and repugnant" that she's not even addressing it. But the Democratic Party stood for something. When Clinton moved to the White House he was interested in standing for something else. He wanted to please and to reach out and did so at the expense of those he was supposed to protect. The desire to please by him and his administration allowed Poppy Bush to get away with breaking the law by allowing Iran-Contra to be set aside. If everyone read Robert Parry (Consortium News), I think it would have been more difficult for Bully Boy to be installed into the White House. But as much as I appreciate Parry's strong work, it's really sad that a journalist had to do what Congress and the administration wouldn't and that, having done that, there's never been any governmental follow up. Larry Bensky recently stepped down from his regular duties at KPFA and in the retrospective they broadcast, he was on NPR being asked about Oliver North. He explained he didn't feel sorry for North because North and his family weren't raped or killed or maimed or injured but North's actions allowed that to happen to many other. The NPR host said, paraphrase, "You're talking about a man that many consider a hero." Larry Bensky responded, "So? I don't." The reason many considered, or even any considered, North a hero when he broke the laws was due to the fact that so many wanted to cover up. The cover up then goes a long way to explaining the situations we're in now. I could give other examples as well. While consensual sex is not an impeachable crime, it sure did get old having to repeat that over and over. No question, that was a witch hunt. But, no question, Clinton did a stupid thing allowing that to happen in the first place. I'm not speaking of morals, I don't care what his morality is or was. I do know he went into office with a "bimbo" cloud over his head and he presumably wanted to be president. I think, regardless of whether he's faithful or not, he could have kept it in his pants while occupying the White House since he already knew the fallout from various 'bimbos' and that the press had such a field day with it originally that it nearly sank him in the 92 primaries. It was a self-control issue for him, a lack of it, and Democrats like me ended up having to explain over and over how consensual sex is not rape, is not harassment. It's easy to say, "He was under attack!" But the reality is he handed out the ammo for this attack by his own actions. But to repeat, consensual sex is not grounds for impeachment nor is lying about it.

I'm exhausted. Dona and I were speaking with C.I. today. We spoke at all but one thing. C.I.'s hitting professional groups when possible now. And that means 'balance' -- C.I. with the truth and some Fool saying the war's going to be 'won' any day now. Today's was a total nightmare. I don't know how C.I. didn't lose it. The Fool was supposedly talking about Iraq but went into 10 minutes slamming "Mexicans" and tried to tie that into Iraq. It was stupid and offensive. When it was C.I.'s turn, C.I. opened with, "Well . . . WELL? . . . WELL!" and got a big laugh. (You probably had to see the facial expressions with that.)

But Dona and I were wondering, is this the next wave to sell Iraq? Try to tie into the racism towards immigrants? Racism was clearly used to sell the illegal war (fear of the "other") and if this is the new tactic, those trying to end the illegal war have nothing to worry about -- the War Hawks will bury themselves. As the Fool did today. C.I.'s three "well"s and a look dismissed with the Fool's points and allowed C.I. to zoom in on reality. Maybe they can tie it into bulldogs or crystal meth next? I'm sure they'll find some way to attempt to re-sell the illegal war.

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

Friday, May 18, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, day 7 passes with no news of the whereabouts of the 3 missing US soldiers, the US miliarty announces more deaths, America's ABC announces the death of two of their journalists in Iraq. . .

The US military announced that they were continuing the search "for three missing U.S. Soldiers who are believed to have been abducted . . . Saturday in Quarghuli Village". The soldiers remain missing. One identification that has been made is the fourth soldier killed on Saturday. CNN reports that he has been identified as Anthony J. Schober of Reno, NV.
CNN lists the three missing soldiers as being: Byron W. Fouty, Alex R. Jimenez and Joseph J. Anzack Jr. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes: "The manhunt has involved an extraordinary array of resources, including helicopters, drones, manned aircraft, forensic experts, FBI interrogators and dogs that can sniff for bombs and bobieds."
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that, yesterday, "the wear was showing, not just on the soldiers obsessed with finding their comrades but also on the hamlets that dot the region southwest of Baghdad, which is blessed with groves of elegant date palms and riddled with pro-Al Qaeda insurgents. Hundreds of local men have been detained for questioning, leaving women, children and legions of ferociosly barking dogs in charge of Iraqi towns such as Rushdi Mullah, a community of 86 households under a virtual siege by troops looking for their buddies."

snapshot noted: ". . . protests take place in Baghdad, . . ." That was it (my apologies). The protests were described yesterday by Thomas Wagner (AP): "In northern Baghdad, about 200 Iraqis marched down a street in the mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab, shouting slogans and carrying banners demanding that the thousands of US soldiers conducting a security crackdown in the capital stop creating forward operating bases in neighbourhoods and searching homes for suspected insurgents and militiamen." Thursday protest resulted from the tensions that Susman describes today. Today was day seven of the 3 US troops being missing and, only on day seven, did the New York Times decide it was front page news (Damien Cave's "Hunt for 3 G.I.'s in Iraq Slowed by False Trails"). Also in the paper is Paul von Zielbauer's report on the just revealed story (AP broke this yesterday) about the army's investigation of the June 2006 attack and kidnappings (2 US soldiers) and later deaths revealed that the dead "had been left for up to 36 hours without supervision or enough firepower or support to repel even a small group of enemy fighters." No one in the Times draws the obvious comparison from the June 2006 events and the attack last Saturday. This despite the fact that the report on the 2006 attack noted the 25 minute arrival by the "quick reaction force." Last Saturday's attack took one hour before other troops arrived. Or one hour until Wednesday when the US military changed their story and began insisting that it took 30 minutes. The report on the 2006 attack wasn't criticizing the responders -- it was noted that the distance plotted was too great -- a command issue, not an on the ground issue. The same thing appears to have happened with last Saturday's attack.

As the war drags on, some work to end it.
Judith Scherr (The Berkeley Daily Planet) reports US war resister Agustin Aguayo took part in "a gathering Tuesday morning outside City Hall sponsored by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, Courage to Resist and the Ehren Watada support committee. The event was to celebrate the city's first Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters Day, an event to be observed annually every May 15." Monday, pre-trial motions begin for Ehren Watada -- the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and the first officer to be court-martialed (in February, it ended in a mistrial and double jeopardy should prevent him from being court-martialed again). Also on Monday, airs Questioning War-Organizing Resistance from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST and will address the issue of war resistance with guests including Pablo Paredes, Michael Wong, Jeff Paterson and Camilo Mejia. More information can be found in Carol Brouillet's "Questioning War- Organizing Resistance- War Resisters Radio Show" (Indybay IMC).

Camilo Mejia's just released
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) traces his journey. From pages 224-225:

Through media contacts from before I went underground, I had gotten the contact information for a man named Steve Robinson, a retired Special Forces veteran who led an organization called the National Gulf War Resource Center, which provides support to veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. Steve in turn put me in touch with Tod Ensign, the director of the soldiers' rights organization called
Citizen Soldier.
Thus a couple of weeks after the end of my leave I found myself on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue outside the address that Tod had given me over the phone. Looking at the building from the street, I thought at first I had arrived at the fancy headquarters of a well-funded organization. Once inside, however, I found that the
Citizen Soldier offices were quite modest. Furthermore, far from the uptight, heartless image I'd always had of attorneys, Tod turned out to be a down-to-earth kind of guy, with a big smile and a physical resemblance to Christopher Walken -- a similarity only enhanced by his heavy New York City accent. As a young attorney in the sixties and seventies, Tod had been involved in the Vietnam GI resistance movement, and had helped underground soldiers living abroad with safe passage back to the United States, a legal defense, and the means to get their stories out to the media.
As soon as I spoke with Tod the door to a new world opend up before my eyes. I went from feeling powerless and alone to realizing that there was a whole network of people and groups, from women's rights organizations and antiwar veterans to military families and religious groups, who all felt as I did about the war.
Tod and I discussed how I was going to handle my absence from the military. We agreed that I should do everything I could to avoid getting arrested and then give myself up voluntarily while insisting in court on my right to be legally discharged from the service. This strategy of surrendering myself would defeat the charge of desertion, which is roughtly defined as unauthorized absence from the military with the intent to remain permanently away.

Mejia has been taking part in a speaking tour that wraps up today:

Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.

Tod Ensign, who Camilo Mejia wrote of, also started up the
Different Drummer Cafe where a group of Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke in March. Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Matt Hrutkay today:

About a week and a half ago I was browsing through the VA Web site. They have a section in there devoted to PTSD. It has a guide for VA medical providers, doctors, psychologists, etc. that are dealing with people coming back from Iraq having these issues. And they have in there an encouragment to physicians to diagnose people with "adjustment disorder," "anxiety disorder," and "personality disorder." The reason they're doing that is so they can claim that there was a pre-existing condition before I joined the army and my issues have nothing to do with being blown up twenty-one times.
According to statistics, 18 percent of soldiers coming back from Iraq suffer some form, mild or severe, of PTSD. That's 18 percent according to an army physician at the VA. Of those, add to that people like me who have multiple symptoms of this but still get diagnosed as it being "my own problem." Add to that, people who are scared to go to mental health clinics because of their chain of command, because they're scared they won't get promoted. Because they're scared their buddies will make fun of them. I think you can then see how much prevalent that issue is and what the numbers are probably more likely to be. I'm not going to say what percentage really have PTSD coming back because it would be a guess. But I think it's clear from my own experience that this issue is probably the most prevalent issue facing returning soldiers and it's being compltely ignored.

CODEPINK is in DC for the summer of activism and Rae Abileah shares, "Today when I was at Congress for a meeting I stopped by the underground subway between the House buildings and the Capitol as many Congressmembers were walking through to vote on something. Though I didn't have a specific bill to ask them about, I did shake many of their hands, and to every one I asked the question, 'Have you done something today to staop the war in Iraq?' 'Help us bring our troops home!' Because it is possible to walk these halls of Congress and feel very distant from the mere idea of war, it felt very effective be a constant voice about the conflict outside the passageway to the Capitol. Imagine if every time there was any vote in Congress, every member going from their office to the Capitol was confronted with the message that it is time to bring our troops home and get out of Iraq.
Our Congresspeople are for the most part behind the times in terms of public opinion about the war. Not only do we have to 'push' them to do the right thing, support key legislation, stop the war... we have to 'pull' them, by leading them towards the right direction. I envision hundreds of people here on a daily basis helping to pull Congress away from the Bush Agenda and towards peace. To increase our numbers from a dozen to a hundred... we need YOU! Click on the links to the right to find out how to join us in DC! Or raise a ruckus at your Congressperson's nearest office!" The links she was referencing are:

Apply to Join Us in DC
DC Pink House Info
DC Sumer Trainings
CODEPINK Women for Peace
Cindy Sheehan and a number of other individuals and organizations are working to make this summer one of activism and volume so that Congress not only grasps that the people have turned on the illegal war but that it is time to end it.

United for Peace & Justice notes:

Peace activists are surging on Washington DC -- to bear witness as Congress again takes up Iraq War funding and the Pentagon budget, and continues to hold hearings on civil liberties, torture, and more.
Click here for the latest legislative information.
May 15-July 31: SWARM on Congress
June and July: CODEPINK DC Activist House
UFPJ hopes you will get the word out: There is plenty to do in Washington, and a steady flow of people into the nation's capital will have a tremendous impact in the coming months. UFPJ endorses these efforts, and encourages other creative actions and projects, both in DC and around the country. (If you are organizing an action,
please post it on our events calendar.)

Turning to Iraq, two journalists who worked for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) were killed in Iraq yesterday: Alaa Uldeen Aziz and Saif Laith Yousuf.
AFP reports they were "ambushed and killed as they returned hom from work at their Baghdad office" and notes: "At least 170 journalists and media professionals have been killed in the fighting that has gripped Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion, according to the watchdog Reporters without Borders." AP quotes Terry McCarthy (ABC correspondent in Baghdad) stating: "They are really our eyes and ears in Iraq. Many places in Baghdad are just too dangerous for foreigners to go now, so we have Iraqi camera crews who very bravely go out. . . . . Without them, we are blind, we cannot see what's going on." ABC notes:

Aziz is survived by his wife, his two daughters and his mother. Yousuf leaves behind his fiancee, his mother and brothers and sisters. Mike Tuggle, an ABC News producer who worked with Aziz, remembers a game of pool they played on his first trip to Baghdad.
"I had some down time and got into a game of pool with Alaa. He beat me badly. Just before he hit the last ball in he looked up at me and said, 'My name is Alaa Uldeen, but you can call me Aladdin, because I have his magic on the pool table," Tuggle wrote in an e-mail message.
"The balls they just disappear," Tuggle continued, "And his face lit up with that big smile of his."

In Iraq today . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack at Abu Dhaba killing one ("5 were injured including children"). Reuters reports: "A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle at an Iraqi police checkpoint in the town of Mussayab, south of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding four police said."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Baghdad, a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad, that following an explosion in Baghdad's Al Hurriyah, two people were killed (6 wounded), two police officers were shot dead in Al Wajihiya (2 more wounded) and Bku Shukr Saber ("Kurdish Iraqi army officer") was shot dead in Kirkuk.


Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports five corpses discovered in the Babil province. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 15 corpses in Baquba.

Today the
US military announced: "While conducting operations two MND-B Soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in separate attacks in the southern section of the Iraqi capital May 17. Three soldiers have been returned to duty." And they announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Diyala Province, Friday when an explosion occurred near their vehicle."

IRIN reports on the educational crisis in Iraq and quotes Baghdad University's Professor Fua'ad Abdel-Razak, "Violence and lack of resources have undermined the education sector in Iraq. No student will graduate this year with sufficient competence to perform his or her job, and pupils will end the year with less than 60 percent of the knowledge that was supposed to have been imparted to them."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

JFK and VA

The illustration is for "Nation Isle" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) which I hope you've already read. Speaking of The Nation, did you see John Solomon's "Scientists Cast Doubt on Kennedy Bullet Analysis: Multiple Shooters Possible, Study Says" (Washington Post)? From that report:

In a collision of 21st-century science and decades-old conspiracy theories, a research team that includes a former top FBI scientist is challenging the bullet analysis used by the government to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald alone shot the two bullets that struck and killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The "evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed," concludes a new article in the Annals of Applied Statistics written by former FBI lab metallurgist William A. Tobin and Texas A&M University researchers Cliff Spiegelman and William D. James.

Uh-oh. Who's The Nation going to slam first? Maybe they can get Vinnie to write a slam piece? They feature so many conservatives as it is, why not give Vinnie some space to promote his lousy book?

If you read Cedric's "Things just get more rotten at the VA" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! FAILURE PAYS PRETTY DAMN WELL!" yesterday, you should have shared their outrage. If you didn't, this is from an AP story David Swanson has posted at his site (AfterDowningStreet):

Nearly two dozen officials who received hefty performance bonuses last year at the Veterans Affairs Department also sat on the boards charged with recommending the payments.

Let me echo Wally and Cedric, the ones who received bonuses should be compelled to return them. If the money is gone, they should be forced to repay it. If you rob a bank tomorrow, you're not allowed to keep the money. The idea that people working for the government can rob us and walk away with the money is nonsense. They shouldn't be allowed to keep their (unearned) bonuses that they gave themselves. That was stealing from the people and the people's money needs to be returned. A firm marker needs to be set.

Mike's "Guest post by Mike" is a worthy read and I say that not just because we had a mini-mind meld. We both wrote about the same topic yesterday. I hedged mine and he said he did his as well. Why? We think it may make for a feature or editorial on Sunday. Betty's "The Alberto Gonzales Show" catches you up on the Gonzales scandals. Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, May 17, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, 3 US soldiers remain missing, protests take place in Baghdad, Chatham House issues another report (one the domestic mainstream will probably get behind this time), recruiters caught lying on tape and more.

This morning,
ICCC was reporting that the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war reached 3400. Today the US military announced: "Three Soldiers were killed and one was wounded when their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdady May 17." So the 3400 marker has been surpassed -- 3403 is the current total. Michael Munk (Democracy Rising) calculates that the US military has seen "at least 55,471 casualties" during the same period. Meanwhile, for the sixth day, 3 US soldiers remain missing following a Saturday attack. Tina Susman and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) report: "Evidence indicated that the attackers used grenades and other hand-held explosives, and converged from several directions . . . Drag marks leading to tire tracks showed that the missing men were pulled from the area to vehicles about 45 away. The military is trying to determine whether the two Humvees were sufficient to guarantee the troops' protection and whether the patrol had taken necessary precautions. Those precautions would include not being positioned at a spot previously used by U.S. troops". As CNN noted yesterday, "Caldwell said the division headquarters is 'looking very carefully at the whole tactical situation to see if there's something they need to do better." And possibly, a year from now we may know one way or another if the 7 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi were sitting ducks (4 of the 7 US soldiers and the Iraqi translator are dead) and who's responsible for that?

Almost a year ago a similar abductiion happened in the same region (and the ones claiming credit for the kidnapping also cited the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer). In that case, the 3 US soldiers were killed.
CBS and AP report: "Three U.S. soldiers slaughtered in a grisly kidnapping-murder plot south of Baghdad last June were not properly protected during a mission that was not well planned or executed, a military investigation has concluded. Two military officers have been relieved of their commands as a result of the litany of mistakes, but neither faced criminal charges, a military official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday." Yet despite that reality, the New York Times is not only not interested in front-paging the story (the story has never made the front page), they also aren't interested in pursuing how it happened. Just like they aren't interested in Abeer, war resisters . . .

Democracy Now! has regularly explored is war resisters and today
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with Agustin Aguayo who explained where his status currently stands: "Technically, I'm still in the military, because I have the right to an automatic appeal to the court-martial. And that is a long process. It could be up to two years. I have a rehearing in the courts in my civil suit against the Army in D.C., and I would like to be reddemed and I would like to be recognized . . . I'm challenging that I was wrongfully denied conscientious objector status. And so, I'm still essentially in the military. However, I don't have to report to any duty station. So I'm essentially free to live my life. And from here, I would like to share with others my experience. I think it's vital, it's crucial that people understand from a different perspective what is actually taking place, what I saw, what my conclusions were and why I couldn't return."

Aguayo joined Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejia and Robert Zabala in
the speaking out tour to raise awareness on the realities of the illegal war and the need to stand up against it which has two more scheduled date remaining:
Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.
Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.
Iraq Veterans Against the War bring truth with them whenever they speak (and they are available for speaking engagements if you have a group or organization that would like to hear from them).

Always speaking truth to power,
Iraq Veterans Against the War. In March, a group spoke at
Different Drummer Cafe. Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Adrienne Kinne

Since leaving the military and now that I've finished my degree in psychology, I've been working in VA (Veterans Adminstration) hospitals. I've worked at VA hospitals in Georgia and Virginia and now in Vermont and I've seen so many different soldiers. For the first time our VA hospitals are seeing active-duty soldiers because our Department of Defense hospitals cannot keep up with demand. I've seen a lot of people come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious injuries and a lot of serious things going on with their health. And it really makes me mad -- and I'm not here speaking as a VA employee, but I'm certainly allowed to speak about my experiences there. Not in any official capacity, but it makes me mad when I hear veteran after veteran telling me the difficulties they have getting their services. It makes me embarrassed to work for the VA and I don't want to feel that way because I actually want to work in the VA to help our veterans. It's just so frustrating.
There are so many things that are tied together. I saw one soldier who was stationed overseas and he was an MP and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because he saw our government do things to people that no person should ever have to see our government do. He said that he couldn't go into details because it's all classified, but he still felt that he was bound to military doctrine where you can't tell anything to anyone. But he has nightmares every night because he saw us tortuing people. He was at one of our secret, non-existent prisons and he saw people tortured and he cannot cope with what he has seen.

Turning to today's violence . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 dead from 4 Baghdad mortar attacks (8 wounded) and a police officer died from a Baladroz bombing (one more was left wounded). Reuters reports the death of a police officer from a grenade hurled into his Hilla home (three members of his family were injured) and a Baghdad bridge bombing that left two dead and five injured. AFP reports "in Najaf a street cleaner was killed when he lifted a bag of trash and set off a hand grenade." Thomas Wagner (AP) reports that Thursday saw the third day in a row of attacks on the heavily fortified Green Zone: "Terrified pedestrians raced for the safety of concrete bunkers. Motorists abandoned their cars and sprinted for cover. Sirens wailed and loudspeakers warned people to seek safety."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two police officers shot dead in Baghdad (1 wounded), a seucirty worker for a clinic was shot dead in the Diyala province, an electrical engineer was shot dead in Basra, and an Iraqi police officer was shot dead in Salahuddi. Reuters notes a "police major" who was shot dead (so was his son) in Basra. AFP notes a police officer shot dead in Baiji and an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Kirkuk.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the corpses of Emad Ahmed Shareef was found in Kirkuk and 3 corpses in Baquba (one of which was a woman -- all "were shot many times in the head"). Reuters reports 2 corpses discovered in Latifiya. AFP reports the corpse count on Baquba has risen to 9.

On the heels of their previous report castigating Tony Blair for putting the interests of the US ahead of England, Chatham House issues another report. This one is entiteld (PDF format warning) "
Accepting Realities in Iraq." Chief points include that a series of civil wars is taking place in Iraq, that US political leaders (including the White House) have repeatedly lowered expectations on Iraq in the last year, that regional neighbors (Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) have more influence than does the US, that there is no "military solution," that power brokers must be reached out to and that Iraq is facing the possibility of collapse. "Muqtada al-Sadr cannot be ignored" is the heading of one section and before Bully Boy thinks Chatham House is on board with him there, they argue instead that efforts must be made to reach out to al-Sadr and that it is foolish to ignore his base, popularity and influence (they also argue that the Jaish al-Mahdi would continue with or without al-Sadr as its leader). Elsewhere in the paper, they argue for the Joe Biden option (splitting Iraq up into three regions and calling it a federation). At nine pages-plus of text, they make many recommendations and it's largely what one would expect from Brookings or any other centrist think tank in the US. They ignore serious realities and, it needs to be noted, they need to learn to source properly. The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune are owned by the same company and IHT has a stronger European presence (than does the Times) so it may make sense to source to IHT over the Times; however, Sudarsan Raghavan and Karin Brulliard work for the Washington Post, not the Boston Globe. Iraqi popular will is not merely discounted, it's ignored which either suggests Gareth Stansfield (author of the report) is unfamiliar with it or that he has no interest in what the people of Iraq might want for themselves. This is the attitude throughout in spite of the occassional sentence such as this: "In effect, Iraqi solutions will need to be found to Iraqi problems." Most alarming is that Stansfield seems completely unaware of the issues for Iraqi women.

Yifat Susskind (
MADRE), at CounterPunch, observes the attacks on women and their rights in Iraq and notes: "The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. . . The US also destroyed the Iraqi state, including much of the judicial system, leaving people more reliant on conservative tribal authorities to settle disputes and on unofficial 'religious courts' to mete out sentencing, including 'honor killings'." To repeat, Chatham House says nothing about that which doesn't seem to demonstrate "Accepting Realities in Iraq." The BBC's James Robbins characterizes the report as "unremittingly bleak." Imagine how much more so if it had really expored realities?

On the subject of the oil law,
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) covered it Sunday noting that it "was in serious trouble among Iraqi lawmakers" despite the "vital" importance the US government has placed on it. Andy Rowell (Oil Change) notes that London, Wednesday, was the site for a protest "oustide the Shell AGM".

In activism news,
Matthew Rotchschild (The Progressive) reports on Tim and Yvette Coil (husband and wife) who, in March, happened upon military recruiters attempting to enlist at their public library (Slow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Ohio) and, after getting permission from libary employees, began leaving cards warning people from enlisting. The military recruiters -- apparently never have been taught about freedom of speech -- made a scene, dragged in the library director and Tim Coil (Gulf War Veteran) was arrested. The case goes to trial June 5th. (Contact info can be found here.)

Also on the topic of recruiting,
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) notes Nashville's WTVF report (audio-video here) of recruiters asking a local man, Jay Mallard, to lie about being on Zolfoft (the man signed up, lied and killed himself) which led WTVF's news team to set up three cameras: "In each case, our undercover producer told recruiters that he was put on Zoloft by a physician for depression. Asked whether he could function without it, he said he wasn't sure. And there, inside those Army recruiting stations, we got the same advice described by Private Mallard's family. . . . Over and over, the recruiters tell us that it's OK to lie."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Bono Times?

So I was reading The Bono Times today, were you? Yesterday the New York Times felt the need to bring us up to date on Bono and how, shocking, his G8 moves from last year? They didn't reap rewards. He moves . . . in pathetic ways. Today? He's got problems with Billy Squier.
If you missed C.I.'s "NYT: Bono's front page news while US soldiers get left on A10:"

Let's recap. On Saturday, outside Mahmudiya, there was an attack on a "stationary observation post" that left 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator dead. 3 more US soldiers are missing and presumed captured, presumed by the US military, by an organization that may or may not have ties to al Qaeda. Today, the New York Times continues their shameful pattern of not seeing this story as anything worthy of the front page.
What is front page news, according to the Times? James B. Comey testifying to Congress. No disagreement there. Afghanistan poppy fields? Hmm. Jerry Falwell's death. Ivy Leagues schools in a crunch? This nonsense and we're not even done. Stephen Labaton's badly written story about cronyism? And look, there's the boy NYT can't shut the hell up about: Bono. Was it just yesterday that, in the news section, we had to read about how he still couldn't find what he's looking for? And see the photo that verified that though his career prospects had shrunk, his waist line was ever expanding? Now Bono's on the front page because (gasp!) smoke from a fireplace may have drifted over from Billy Squier's place to his. That's not a joke. That article does exist, on the front page, with a photo of Bono, it's by Allen Salkin and it's entitled "Among the Rich and Famous, A New Dispute over Air Rights."
Apparently 4 US troops being killed, 3 missing and presumed captured just aren't news but Bono's neighbor complaints are. Is the Times trying to steal Murdoch's interest away from the Wall St. Journal?

Now can you believe that? Bono has a neighbor complaint and that's front page news from the paper that has never put any story about Saturday's attack or the three missing US soldiers on the front page? It doesn't matter that much in the eyes of the New York Times.

I think that's just disgusting and I'll leave it at that for tonight because I really want that to register, that the New York Times will put anything on the front page if it will let them avoid realities from Iraq.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the 3 missing US soldiers remain missing, Congress sings along to Aimee Mann's "Going Through the Motions," the State Department doesn't want to go the Green Zone, and Chalabi chuckles.

In his newly published book,
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, war resister Camilo Mejia shares how empty talk went over in Iraq (p. 138):

Now that people were realizing bullets fly two ways in war, the gung-ho attitudes that had predmoninated when we were back in Jordan were seldom heard. Pretty much everyone wanted to go home. This new attitude was evidenced by rumors in the unit about how this politician or that officer was trying his best to get us out of Iraq. We called such rumors "cheese," so if anyone had supposed news regarding our departure from Iraq they would announce it by saying: "Guess what the latest cheese is?" This would generally be followed by a story about how some senator back home had written a letter to the Pentagon questioning why we'd been in Iraq for so long, and how come this, and how come that. It never amounted to anything except empty rumor.

Proved again today as the US Senate . . . did nothing.
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) laid it out yesterday: "I don't give a damn who 'goes on record' against the war. I care who actually tries to end it. To do that will require voting for bills to end it, AND VOTING AGAINST bills to fund it. Otherwise, you're 'on the record' both for and against the war." Today some Senators went on the record as a proposal by Senator Russ Feingold and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would have ended funds for US combat operations on March 31, 2008. Police actions and 'terrorism' fighting would have still continued under the proposal. As Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse (New York Times) reported this morning, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton waited until yesterday to weigh in and only after "Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, seeking to draw more attention to his presidential candidacy, began broadcasting advertisements on Tuesday in states with early primary elections, highlighting his support for the legislation. 'Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me,' he said. Hours later, at least two of his colleagues did."

The full text of Senator and 2008 presidential contender
Chris Dodd's advertisement was:
"Half measures won't stop this president from continuing our involvement in Iraq's civil war. That's why I'm fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the president's blank check and set a time table for bringing the troops home. Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me. I'm Chris Dodd I'm running for president. I approved this message because we can't just wait for a new president -- we should have the convictions to stand up to this one."

So that's what it takes to get Hillary and Barack semi-off their butts? Today, the vote was taken.
Noam N. Levey (Los Angeles Times) reports that 29 senators voted for it and 67 voted against it and notes that Senator and presidential contender Joe Biden was one of the 29 voting for the Fiengold-Reid proposal. "I'm not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy," CBS and AP quote Joe Biden stating, "about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on." William Branigin (Washington Post) observes, "It was one of a series of largely symoblic votes today on war spending proposals, testing support for restrictions on President Bush's war policy on Iraq ahead of negotiations with the House on legislation to provide stopgap funding." Also voted on was Senator John Warner's proposal that set timetables . . . Woops! He changed it before the vote so that Bully Boy would be able "to waive the restrictions on U.S. funding." But remember, John Warner swore come September he will get tough. That leaves him three months to grow a spine. Russ Feingold issued a statement: "Today the Senate took another step toward acknowledging the will of the American people, who want to end this misguided mission in Iraq. A majority of Senate Democrats are on the record clearly stating that the President's Iraq policy is a failure and that we need to take real action to change course. Keeping 150,000 American troops in the middle of an Iraqi civil war both hurts our national security and impedes the ability to reach a political solution in Iraq. We must continue to rachet up the pressure on the Preisdent and supporters of this irresponsible war to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq so we can refocus on those who attacked us on 9/11."

Something isn't right
I don't know how I know
But baby, it's despite
Your dog and pony show
I can hear it coming
You're only going through the motions, baby
With your engines humming
You're just going through the motions, baby
-- "Going Through the Motions," written by Aimee Mann off her CD
The Forgotten Arm

And while they do that, 3 US soldiers remain missing. On Saturday, an attack in Al-Taqa, outside Mahmudiya, a "
stationary observation post" that was apprently left unaided and left out in the open for too long, came under attack. 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator were killed. 3 other US soldiers were missing and are assumed captured by an organization that the US military assumes has ties to al Qaeda. Sudarsan Raghavan and Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) noted the US military's identification thus far: James David Connell Jr., Daniel W. Courneya and Christopher E. Murphy are dead while Anthony J. Schober, Alex R. Jimenez, Joseph J. Anzack Jr., Byron W. Fouty are identified as missing -- one listed as missing is dead but the miltary has yet to be able to determine which one. For Joe Anzack's moter this is a replay. Louis Sahagun and Ashraf Khalil (Los Angeles Times) spoke with Theresa Anzack who explained that only three weeks prior, she had been infored that her son was dead. Joseph Aznack, Joe's father, spoke on NBC's Today this morningthat "his son was not the soldier who was killed."

One family member who does know the fate of her loved one is Jennifer Courneya whose husband Daniel Courneya who is among the three declared dead thus far.
Speaking to
Joe Mahoney and Rich Schapiro (New York Daily News), Jennifer Courneya, while turning her late husband's fatigues in to a military supply store, noted of her husband, "He was so funny, very loving. He was talking about starting a family." She also shared her feelings "that we don't need to be [in Iraq] anyway" and that her husband "told me in a letter I just got yesterday if he had met me before he went in the service, he would have never gone. He really didn't want to be there." If you wonder why the widow is left out of the press you see, consider that the outlets can't deal with what she has to say. (Jennifer Courneya is being left out of a lot of coverage on the death of her husband -- even coverage that finds the time to interview students at a high school he went to.)

CNN reports that the hunt for the missing includes dropping 150,000 leaflets and "offering a $200,000 reward for any information about the location of three missing American soldiers, or the identity of their kidnappers". The Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Little Willie Caldwell, insists to CNN that the soldiers attacked Saturday had support and maintains that the support was only 1640 feet away. For that to be true, they'll need to explain why 'support' came in the form of the "unmanned aerial vehicle" which, for the record, apparently got there much to late to deteact the missing soldiers or where they might have gone. Little Willie does admit that "the patrol was 'static throughout th enight with concertina wire somewhat around their position'." Somewhat? And a commander rushes in to say Little Willie was wrong, it didn't take an hour to get to the burning wreckage, it took only 30 minutes. Only 30 minutes? Did they travel by tricycle? "500 meters" is 1640 feet. "500 meters" is less than 1 mile (it's .31 miles). They're scrubbing the store to change the one hour to 30 minutes and that might fool some but it's not fooling all the rank and file serving in Iraq -- some grasp this was something that could have and should have been avoided. Not a screw up by the ones who were stationed, but by the ones who stationed them there and the real question is how far up does the screw up go? Little Willie says the military is "looking very carefully at the whole tactical situation to see if there's something they need to do better."

"There's no one left to call me, 'Mom'."
Erin Allday (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on Mother's Day for Karen Meredith whose son Kenneth Ballard died in Iraq three years ago and spent her Sunday addressing the First Unitarian Universalist Church: "He left the day after Mother's Day, and he said he'd make it up to me when he returned. Today is my third Mother's Day that I will not pick up the phone and hear his voice." Also speaking were Iraq Veterans Against the War's Sean O'Neill and war resister Pablo Paredes: "My mother was a very moral person. She instilled in me a sense of brotherhood. War is the antithesis of motherhood."

Paredes, Camilo Mejia,
Agustin Aguayo and Robert Zabala are taking part in the speaking out tour to raise awareness on the realities of the illegal war and the need to stand up against it:

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197

Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

Friday May 18 - Berkeley 7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.

Iraq Veterans Against the War bring truth with them whenever they speak (and they are available for speaking engagements if you have a group or organization that would like to hear from them). Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript of four members who spoke last March at the Different Drummer Cafe. This is from Matt Howard's talk:

I was given a whole pallet of humanitarian rations on my truck, so the first thing I started to do is hand them out to all the children I saw standing on the sides of the road in the south of Iraq. My first sergeant came up to me and said, what the hell do you think you're doing? Those aren't for the children. I got all the way to Baghdad and all the way back to Kuwait and was ordered to bury these things. Our commanding general said that we don't want to give the Iraqis the wrong impression of why we are there.
So let's cut through the bullsh*t, we were never there to help the people. Our first objective was to secure the oil fields in the south of Iraq. Now we hear that it's for the hearts and minds? We've got to be honest. Coming out of the military I'm told that I'm really courageous for speaking out. No. I feel I have a moral responsibility to speak out. The sh*t I've seen you're not going to see on the news or read it in the newspapers. We as veterans have a responsibility to tell the truth of what we've seen in Iraq and let it be known. Speak about the reality of actually what's happening on the ground. The reality that we will never quell the insurgency, they are fighting a foreign military occupation. We are treating them like sh*t. We go and clear an area and they just go somewhere else and when we leave they come back, and this will go on and on until we finally admit that we're not supposed to be there. We never should have been there in the first place. This war was based on lies. As I like to say, you can't win a crime, you can only stop it.

Someone explain it to the US Congress (the Bully Boy isn't listening and won't): YOU CAN'T WIN A CRIME, YOU CAN ONLY STOP IT.

Until you do, the chaos and violence drags on.
Reuters reported this morning that, on Tuesday, a truck bombing -- using chlorine gas -- killed 45 people (60 wounded) in Abu Sayda. Today?


The Telegraph of London reports a mortar attack on the Green Zone for the second day in a row. AP reports that the nine mortar rounds killed 2 and left 10 wounded ("No American casualities were reported"). Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the Green Zone victims were "eight Iraqis and two non-American foreigners," and notes: a roadside bombing in Baghdad that claimed 1 life and left 3 wounded, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life and left 1 person injured, a mortar attack in south Baghdad that left one person wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack the injured one person, a Diyala car bombing that killed an Iraqi soldier, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that killed Riyadh's deputy mayor and a city board member, a Hawija roadside bombing that wounded a police officer ;


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the Diyala shooting death of a member of the Kurdstand Democracy Party, the Baghdad shooting death of a police colonel, an attack on a Diyala police house that left 3 guards dead and 2 more injured, and, in Basra, "a child was killed and two civilians injured when policemen shot" into a crowd of "people who were furious as they have no power suppy since yesterday".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses discovered in Baghdad, the head of a police officer in the Diyala province and 5 in Basra.

Remember that no "American casulities were reported" in today's attack on the heavily fortified Green Zone?
Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) notes "the unease is growing among career State Department employees in Baghdad over what many fear is inadequate security in the Green Zone, a 4-square-mile sector in downtown Baghdad where acess is strictly limited and that until recently had a reputation for being relatively secure." And life just outside the Green Zone? Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) speaks with serial liar and war starter Ahmed Chalabi and Cockburn notes: "Mr Chalabi's own justification for encouraging the US to invade is simple. He says he favoured the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the US but not the subsequent occupation of Iraq to which he attributes all the disasters that followed. It is not an argument that goes down well in Washington or London." Chalabi also brags of "the US and Britain . . . having unwittingly committed a revolutionary act in the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein. 'The US found that it had dismantled the cornerstorne of the Arab security order'."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ron Jacobs

First off, to stop the e-mails, yes, I do plan to review Tori Amos' CD this Saturday. Everyone's been very nice in their e-mails, they ask about my knee, they wish me the best and then they get to the point: Will Tori be reviewed this Saturday? Yes. It may be brief if I'm not better (I'm feeling great today) but it will be done. It'll go up late Saturday night -- regardless of when I finish because that way there's something for those who only check in the day to find if C.I.'s running late due to The Third Estate Sunday Review. (And C.I.'s always running late. I don't know how. Before it's time for "A Note to Our Readers," I'm falling over and C.I.'s still got the morning entry at The Common Ills to do.) And, thank you, to everyone for their kind wishes on my knee. Like I said, it feels a lot better today and that's supposed to be the case if I do the excercise. A friend of C.I.'s was suggesting to me tonight that I do it from now on period. She's a doctor of some kind and she said that it would be good to just make a plan to do it at least 4 times each week after I was better. That won't be difficult. You lay on your back with your feet leaned up against something so that your legs are straight and you just bend your knees slightly. It's nothing you'll break a sweat over and I cannot believe that something so easy is making me feel so much better.

I'm doing it several times a day currently.

Hope that brings you up to date. If you missed it the Modern Day Carrie Nations are on the march again. Keith Harmon Snow still can't get invited on the program but today we were supposed to be . . . Stupid. I think we were supposed to be stupid.

"The place is evil! Hideous! Non-stop violence! I was lucky to get out! So after, I went back over and over taking reporters in." What nonsense.

Instead of taking reporters in, he should have worked on getting his friends and family out. He's a supporting player in the movie of his own life. "I will take White men to Africa!"

Chris Tucker can play him in the movie and the lead will be played Michael Douglas.

This is from Ron Jacobs' "Cheney Threatens More War" (CounterPunch):

Anyhow, back to arms-for-hostages deal. It was but one of many and was but a small part of the much greater Iran-Contra scandal. However, the important bits of this escapade is the presence of a number of individuals previously or currently employed by the Bush administration and its departments. A short list includes Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, Otto Reich, John Poindexter, and, most importantly, George Allen (Head of the Department of Homeland Security), and Robert Gates. Now, only some of these men are involved in policy that involves Iran, but one has to wonder what their work in relation to he Iran Contra affair plays in the Bush administration's approach to Iran. Indeed, Gates co-authored a report in 2004 for the Council on Foreign Relations that encouraged a combination of incentives and punitive measures. The report did not call for a settlement of all of the issues between the two countries, stating that such a "grand bargain" is not in Washington's interest. About the only thing that can be ascertained is that there seems to be a disagreement within the administration as to whether or not Iran's current government can help resolve Washington's situation in Iran. If there is any reason why those in the Bush White House intent on changing the regime in Tehran have not succeeded in getting their way, it is because the war on Iraq has failed so miserably in its stated goals. This fact has given the advocates of realpolitik in the Empire's drive for hegemony a chance to push their strategy--a strategy that relies on more than war.
Not that any of this really matters. After all, the Democrats are almost completely on board when it comes to preventing Iran from dominating its region of the world. To prove their commitment, they recently struck language that would have required the White House to get permission via a Congressional vote before it attacked Iran. Furthermore, their counterpart to the Project for a New American Century--the Center for American Progress, agrees in its policy statement that there should be no "grand bargain" with Tehran. Instead, both elements of Washington's policy elite prefer the current instability. Why? Probably because such a scenario allows Washington to change its mind at any time and attack. Not that a "grand bargain" would necessarily prevent US forces from attacking anyhow, yet it would at least acknowledge that the government there officially exists. That is something that Washington has refused to do, from Carter to Bush the Younger. Apparently, it's current status as part of the "axis of evil" is preferable to one that would require Washington's acceptance of its defeat in 1979. Instead, the world is subject to the constant threat of a greater war and the instability such war would certainly bring.

I love that. Betty's filling in for Rebecca tonight and she's highlighting too. I wish we had more truth tellers like this. Instead we get a lot of people getting in bed with the Council of Foreign Relations and the Center for American Progress and still wanting to be considered left. Hasn't that been one of the many things that has killed The Nation? That's going to be it for me.

Not because I'm in pain, but because I'm not. I think I'm becoming o.c. about these excercises.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, 3 US soldiers remain missing, war resistance gets active (within the military and outside of it), and Bully Boy finds his soul mate (maybe hooked them up?).

Starting with war resistance. Today is International C.O. Day.
Susan Galleymore (Raising Sand, KZSU) interviewed two war resisters of the current illegal war, Camilo Mejia, Agustin Aguayo, as well as David Harris (Vietnam) and Aimee Allison (Gulf War). Both Mejia and Aguayo spoke of the promise of advancement outside the military -- of joining because of promised college benefits and the chance to advance for themselves and their family (Aguayo has two twin daughters, Camilo has one daughter). Late yesterday, Paul McNulty, Deputy AG, stated he would be stepping down and cited "financial realities" resulting from "college-age children" -- well, gee, McNulty, get your kids to sign up. No, that's not why McNulty stepped down but it's a good cover because college costs a lot of money (a great deal more since the Bully Boy began occupying the White House). It's not only dishonest it's insulting at a time when we have a poverty draft (for more on that see Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq).

In fact, we need to stop there and really absorb that. At a time when the poor, working poor and economically struggling enlist to have a shot at college it is appalling that the comfortable McNulty wants to slink off, he uses that excuse.

Mejia spoke with Galleymore about the difference in economic status that resulted from his moving from Latin American (Costa Rica) to the United States. Mejia tells his story in
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia. In the book, he covers his return to the United States (as a small child, his mother brought Camilo and his brother to the US before deciding to move to Costa Rica) (pp. 14 -15):

Furthermore, the staff did not understand that even though I was in eleventh grade in Costa Rica, I was a senior. They insisted that I take two more years in order to graduate, and I ended up having to attend night school in an attempt to do two years in one. A good portion of the students in the night classes were troublemakers who had been kicked out of day school for disciplinary reasons.
I also had to work for a living for the first time in my life. My mother had rented out our apartment in Nicaragua, and my father was still sending some child support money, but even with this extra income my mother's salary as a supermarket cashier wasn't enough to pay the rent and put food on the table. So I got a job at a fast-food restaurant, where I swept the parking lot, put the chairs down from the tables, and cleaned the bathrooms every single morning before moving to the kitchen to flip burgers for six hours. After work I had a two-hour break before going to night school, so my days started at five-thirty in the morning and didn't end until I returned home from school at ten at night.
Graduation was also very different from what I'd imagined. There was no prom night for me, nor did I have any friends with whom to celebrate. I just walked into the school principal's office and he handed me my diploma. I think he said "Congratulations and good luck, son." I went to the local supermarket and sat outside on a bench, staring at m diploma and wondering if this was all that happened when you graduated.
The following year, after I attended a community college for two semesters, the government terminated my federal student financial aid, claiming I made enough money at my dead-end job to pay my own tuition. I found myself without any real prospects for the future. It seemed as though I was working my butt off for a life that offered nothing at all.
It was these circumstances that led me to join the U.S. Army in Miami at age 19. The recruiter didn't really have to work hard to get me to sign the treacherous contract. The army offered financial stability and tuition, the military held out the promise of helping me claim my place in the world.

Joshua Key, Ryan Johnson and many other war resisters can tell that story. Many within the military today can tell that story. It's why Casey Sheehan joined up. So for McNulty to hide behind "college-age children" as he abandons the sinking ship isn't just laughable it's insulting.

Donna Jones (Santa Cruz Sentinel) notes that Mejia and Aguayo are on a speaking tour with war resisters Robert Zabala and Pablo Paredes and reports: "Paredes, a former Navy petty officer, disputed the Army's figures on resisters, saying the counseling hot line he staffs has received 40,000 calls. Many apply for CO status, but get discouraged in the face of delays and intimidation, Paredes said, adding the military definition is very low." Aguayo noted, on Raising Sand Radio, that his struggle to be granted CO status continues (the DC Court of Appeals turned down the motion on Feb. 16th). Jones provides the Army's released figures relating to CO's (an undercount, to be sure): 2001 - 18 approved and 5 denied; 2002 - 17 approved and 6 denied; 2003 - 31 approved and 20 denied; 2004 - 30 approved and 30 denied; 2005 - 23 approved and 38 denied; 2006 (first 9 months only) - 33 approved and 9 denied.

Tonight and through Friday,
the speaking out tour continues:

Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837

Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197

Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

Friday May 18 - Berkeley7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty 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.

And speaking out goes on around the country on campuses, on streets . . . At the GI coffeehouse
Different Drummer Cafe, Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adrienne Kinne, Matt Howard, Drew Cameron and Matt Hrutkay used their voices. Eric Ruder (ISR) captures the discussion and we'll note Drew Cameron (and try to note each of the four this week): "The thing that is most important for us who have been there, for us who are affected by this, for us who know what's going on -- it's just like Matt was saying -- we've got to be honest, we've got to be truthful about what we did, what we're doing, and how we're being treated. . . . So when we get back and we have problems and we need educational opportunities and we need health care, what happens? They are creating veterans every single day who are pissed off and think: I'm done with this. I've got the VA, I can rely on that a little bit, that'll be alright. But instead, we get a cold shoulder. They say, we'll see you in three months or six months. They are creating veterans every single day who come back from combat and there's no suport structure. There's no reaching out. A lot of people have to wait until it gets really bad. When I got back from active duty I moved up to Vermont from Oklahoma and no one told me this is where the VA is, this is what you have to do, this is how you get your benefits, this is what you're eligible for. Nobody told me any of that, I had to find out on my own. I had to go to the clinics and ask do I get this or that. Where's the outreach and support? What happened to all the stuff we were promised? All the stuff that we deserve, where is it? They don't care. That's the biggest realization that I've come to. They do not care. They. Do. Not. Care."

And they don't. If they did, if the administration did, if the Congress did, they'd be addressing the PTSD epidemic. Instead they ignore it.
Military Families Speak Out notes: "Servicemen and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to their combat experiences are routinely re-deployed to comabt, and/or kept in combat, according to Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), a nationwide organization of 3,500 military families who have been speaking out in opposition to the war in Iraq." Aaron Glantz (IPS): "At the beginning of May, Corporal Cloy Richards tried to kill himself. 'He punched out all his windows and cut major arteries,' his mother Tina Richards told IPS. 'he had to go to the hopsital because he almost bled to death.' Cloy Richards, who lives in rural Salem, Missouri, has served two deployments in the Marine Corps in Iraq. The military lists him as 80-percent combat disabled. His mother says he has knee and arm injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and currently has a claim pending with the Army for a traumatic brain injury. 'It's something that affects us every single day,' Tina said, 'when he's 23 years old and he can't even climb the stairs. He has bad nightmares where he thinks he's back in Iraq." And that's why Tina Richards speaks out and calls for action. US House Rep David Obey can scream his head off at her in his public tantrum (and have the usual Party Hacks defend him) but get a damn grip, his life, as 'tough' as it ever may be, is nothing compared to the Richards family live with every day and live with as a result of an illegal war that Congress shows no will to end.

Monday, as
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) reports, Tina Richards joined Cindy Sheehan and over 250 others to march "through Washington, DC to Capitol Hill. When they reached the Cannon House Office Building they formed two circles blocking the street to traffice. The demonstration was the 'Mother of a March spearheaded by Cindy Sheehan whose son died in Iraq. The march kicked off a 'Summer of Action' where anti-war demonstrators will SWARM on Congress from today until June 31 advocating an end to the war." CODEPINK notes that over 30 were arrested in the action including Cindy Sheehan and Tina Richards (link has several photos as well as text and click here for audio & video). Have you been to jail for justice?

Turning to Iraq, the 3 US soldiers who have been missing since a Saturday attack outside Mahmudiya (that left 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator dead) remain missing.
CNN notes that the attack took place at a "staionary observation post" and that there is confusion as to who is missing: "Four other soliders -- three missing and one of the dead -- remain listead as 'duty status whereabouts unkown.' The military can't yet sort out precisely who was kidnapped because one of the four bodies is so badly burned that it can't be immediately identified." CBS' Mark Strassman "reports all the soldiers involved in the ambus were from Fort Drum, in upstate New York." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) notes of the ongoing search: "Helicopters had logged more than 255 hours and other US security agencies had deployed their assets in the race to locate the soldiers, whom the military still assumed were alive, [Lt. Col. Christopher] Garver said. Other aircraft and jets zoomed overhead, and satellite technology had been tapped, as soldiers scoured the hostile area."


CBS and AP report: "At least one mortar or rocket slammed into the U.S.-controlled Green Zone on Tuesday, wounding five American Embassy contractors, a spokesman said." Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that left 5 dead and 15 wounded, aan Abu Saida bombing that left 12 dead and 22 wounded. Baghdad mortar attack that left 4 dead and 4 wounded, and a mini-bus bombing that left 1 dead and 4 injured. Reuters reports 2 dead and 4 injured in a Mahmudiya roadside bombing and 1 dead, 4 Iraqi soldiers injured in Mosul from a bombing, and 2 wounded from a Hawija roadside bombing.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Colonel Raed Mohamed Shihab shot dead in front of his house and 2 people shot dead in Al Khalis. Reuters notes a Tikrit shooting that left two dead and one wounded.


Mohmmaed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In Iraqi legislation news,
Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports 'progress' on Iraq's constitution plan which translates as the proposed changes (including the privatization of the oil) is being sent to the parliament for a vote. Sunday, Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reported on the troubles some aspects face if put to a floor vote. The laws aren't any closer to being passed. Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) notes last week's stand by the Iraqi parliament "against the US occupation and for a rapid withdrawal of American troops. This is the perfect opportunity for a face-saving and orderly US withdrawal based on the request of a soverign government. To reject the offer would paint the US as a naked imperialist without a fig leaf of legitimacy."

on tonight's broadcast of The Bachelor: White House Bully Boy hands a rose to Army Lt. Gen Douglas Lute and says, "You defeat me. Be my war czar." Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) first reported on the search April 11, 2007. 34 days later -- can you say "shotgun wedding"? -- Bully Boy has his man.