Friday, June 29, 2007

Adam Kokesh (and my rambles)

Anonymous said...

You asked. IMO you should not be able to have it both ways. It's wrong to except benefits when you don't follow the rules. I'm a tax payer. I don't feel you should be given the benefits. Both of my sons are defending our freedoms. We're not free to break rules and disobey laws. Further, I feel your premise is based in selfish lies. Mostly, your words and action show disregard to those still deployed. I take this personal so I'll keep an eye on this to see what happens. It's made very clear that you are not allowed to use the uniform in this way. You decided to anyway. You owe me, my sons, and this country an apology.

President Bush owes your sons an apology. The moneyed interests and liars that are keeping us in Iraq owe this country an apology. Everyone who has remained silent and allowed this country to slide into its current state owes this country an apology. I have the utmost regard for those still deployed who do so with honorable intentions. I think the best way to support the troops is to bring them home now.

Cheryl Suellen Smith said...

I find your comment "It occurred to me how lucky America is to have not had to experience modern warfare on our own soil." shocking and frankly, incredibly naive. What is terrorism if not modern warfare?
Also, your butchering of the English language and your pedestrian writing "style" (I use the term loosely) serve as clear evidence to me that higher education is wasted on the likes of you. I would surmise that with you as their very vocal representative, you do IVAR far more harm than good.

Terrorism is terrorism. Modern warfare would be the thousands of tons of depleted uranium bombs that we have dropped in Iraq. The closest we have come is Pearl Harbor, which might fall into that category, but it was a one-day strike, and the only one the Japanese managed on our soil. Hardly would that one incident constitute a war by itself.

The above is from Adam Kokesh replying to comments at his site. I like his don't f-with me attidue. And I meant to highlight that yesterday when C.I. linked to it. And now I see something but I'll let C.I. grab that. Martha called me earlier and asked me to pass onto C.I. "Check the e-mails, you'll probably want to do an evening post." (C.I. and the gang were flying back home and should be back here -- I'm at C.I.'s -- shortly.)

But I will note that Adam's got a wonderful post about the bus tour that they are on. This is only 1 of many incidents (some great, some -- like below -- crazy) so make a point to read about it if you visit sites/use links:

For dinner we went to a Golden Corral where we had to park the bus in the Wal-Mart parking lot next door. As we were finishing up, Nate went outside to get some flyers off the bus and ran into a young former Marine who was screaming at the bus. It seemed like a PTSD moment, but this guy was seriously angry. Nate did his best to talk to him and his posse, who were lingering in the shadows a ways away. He went back into the restaurant to get everyone, and as we got back to the bus, the small crowd was still there. Jim noticed that the electrical panel on the side of the bus was cracked open, and we noticed that a few wires had been snipped. While Jim got the bus ready to roll and did a complete function check, Liam and I engaged this former Marine and got a bit of his story. He had been in Iraq and seen a number of his friends die. This was actually a bragging point for him. When he asked why we were doing this, Mike said, “So I don’t lose another friend like I did in February.” “You lost a friend? That’s great. Well I lost three!” “We don’t want to see that happen again.” He also had a leg full of shrapnel and a medical discharge. He had tried to reenlist but was denied. The bus was ready and pulled out while a few of us watched from the Bronco as the former Marine continued to cuss at it and his friends flipped it off. That night we pulled fire watch on our campsite, just to be safe.

Betty's going to try to go to the thing in her area tomorrow (Atlanta) but she wondered why they didn't go through the south. (Atlanta's really the only south part of this leg of the tour.) I'm wondering if it was incidents like above? If so, after our week in Texas in March, I'd say there are a lot of people there who would welcome them warmly and Fort Hood is in Texas. By the way, Betty's hoping to post tonight but said to go ahead and blog because she doesn't want anyone waiting for her "if it's like last weekend when it took forever for me to pull it together."

Back to Adam. If you're against the illegal war, like approximately 70% of the country is, you may hear about Adam, Liam, Cloy, Kathy, etc. and think, "Well it's good that they're speaking out and I'm proud of them for it." You may not grasp that speaking out has a way of attracting the ones who refuse to see the illegal war is wrong. Some of them are still holding onto the lie that Iraq was responsible for 9-11. Some of them believe wrongly that Iraq had WMD. Some of them just can't face the fact that the Bully Boy lied to them. C.I. tells a very funny story about how Bully Boy was giving a press conference, the day or 2 after the illegal war began, and this idiot woman was practically having an orgasm as she watched. When people turned to look at her, she started shouting, "I just love him! I just love George Bush!" I never experienced anything like that. (I believe C.I. was on the road. I know when the illegal war started -- and C.I. should tell this story online because it's an important one -- C.I. had to face two groups of college kids the night after and there was so much disappointment because they'd taken part in the big demonstration and they'd been hyped like crazy. "Go to this rally and there will be no war!" C.I. says those two groups were the hardest because the kids had been hyped and knew it, knew they were lied to, and they had little hope or faith at that moment. It was really uncomfortable so, after about a minute of it, C.I. made a joke and that lightened the mood and got everyone focused. If my memory was any better than it is, I'd repeat the joke but I'll screw it up.)

Don't you love my long winded parenthetical asides!

So that woman, that crazy woman, cheering her Bully Boy as he'd started the 'cakewalk' war that's still going all this time later, wasn't an exception. Her orgasm over seeing her Bully Boy hopefully wasn't too common. But Bully Boy was riding high. Natalie Maines, remember, got trashed during this period. Seemed like half the country loved them some Bully Boy and a large portion of the other half was scared or beaten into silence.

These days, the truth has been told. My grandmother used to always say that. (The one that lived with us after my grandfather's health problems.) She'd say, "Kaitlin, the truth will tell out." It could be on something as minor as which one of us kids swiped her candy and on something as major as racism. (As I noted in a CD review, my grandmother took racism very personally. I have no idea if she was as discriminated against when she came to this country from Ireland as she felt she was but she was 100% for civil rights and then some. It took her awhile to speak out against the illegal war but she wouldn't tolerate racism. And if some adult told a 'joke,' she would tear into them. Not take them aside. She would just call them out. I was always proud of her for that. Still am proud of her. A lot of adults would say something if a kid did it but if it was another adult, they'd usually act like they didn't hear it. She made sure everyone knew if someone thought racism was funny. And if they challenged her, she'd go off on how the same people "holding back Black people are the same ones who spat on me." She really took it personally. Good for her.)

But her point was always that we could get fooled, any of us, for a minute or two, but in the big picture, in the long view, the truth came out.

And that's what's happened with Iraq. If Bully Boy had done like his father and pulled out of Iraq after sending troops into Baghdad, there would probably be people saying it was no big deal. (The way they do about his father's war or the illegal bombings between the two wars.)

Some people point to Hurricane Katrina as an awakening but that's not reality. The American people were waking up a few months before that. It's why Camp Casey took off from the start. Iraq's the thing that has stuck to him. It's the lie, the big lie, that he can't escape. Too many people have died and along with those who knew he was lying before the illegal war began, you've got others who believed and now see the lie. Not the 30 or so percent. But you've got a lot of others who have woken up.

Adam encounters some who haven't woken up and they probably won't. At this late date, if you can't grasp that the illegal war is wrong it's because you don't want to grasp it. The truth came out. It's out there. And you have to stick your head in the sand to avoid it.

Which is probably why the kooks have the reaction to the bus tour that they do. It's not the TV that they can flip off or the newspaper they can toss in the trash. It's right there, the bus, in front of them, with "Iraq Veterans Against the War" on it. The reality they run from is staring them in the face and in their own home towns. Adam writes about honks and thumbs up too and you better believe that for people seeing it that are giving the warm response, it really means something.

I realized that in Texas that week in March when people would talk about how great it was that someone would come and talk about Iraq (and let them talk). That's why Dona went almost insane reworking the schedule after we arrived to give more time to East Texas. We probably could have spent an entire week just there. And one of the funniest/happiest things was one woman out by Big Sandy who said she honestly thought she was the only one in her area who was against the illegal war until she saw so many people there. So when that bus passes through, even if it's not stopping, you better believe that people appreciate it.

They've got their web address (Iraq Veterans Against the War) on the side of the bus and hopefully that's helping get the word out as well.

We were in another state speaking not all that long ago. We'd stopped to have lunch and were all talking about how the first thing went and what, from comments made, we needed to add to it? So we were talking at our table about Iraq and this idiot at the next table pipes up, one of the loons who love Bully Boy. Jim was there and Jim loves to argue. (He'll admit to that.) The loon was loud to begin with but he just got louder. C.I.'s got the laptop out and is trying to put in the links and also on the cell phones hunting stuff down. C.I. finally says something like, "Excuse me, we're here to have lunch. If you want to have a discussion, you're welcome to but you are not going to yell at this table." C.I. had that, I hestiate to use the word, imperial gaze that always causes people to back down. Funny story, I know I'm just running off at the mouth here, in Conn. on another trip, this White woman in her late fifties stops Jess at the airport and she's got one bag. "Young man, young man!" she hollers. She wants Jess to help her. He's not going to take a flight, we just arrived and are leaving. Two young women, African-American step up, C.I.'s on the phone talking and, I'm thinking, missing all of this, and the woman waives the two women away, dismisses them and won't even look at them. She's insisting and Jess is trying to be nice and figure out if there's time? C.I. gets off the phone and says, "There's no time for that." The woman takes an attiude and C.I. basically says (in nicer language), "You pompous fool. If you can't carry it, you shouldn't have brought it in on your own. You could have tipped anyone and they would have helped you but you were too damn cheap. Two people did offer to help you but, due to their skin color, you wrinkled your nose and didn't even say 'No, thank you.' This is your life, deal with it."

Okay, I've babbled enough for one night. Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, June 29, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Liam Madden gets some news, tensions continue between Turkey and northern Iraq, Bully Boy's lips are flapping so you know what that means and more.

Starting with
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden. Madden and two other members of IVAW, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to silence and cow them. They have been threatened with the loss of benefits (Cloy Richards is classified as 80% disabled), loss of their honorable discharges and more. Kokesh participated in street theater in DC and then found himself facing the theatrics of a kangaroo court -- proving there is no bigger drama queensthan those commanders in the marines. Kokesh recevied a general discharge from the IRR -- meaning he's twice discharged: honorably from the marines, general from the IRR -- and Richards reached an agreement where he would not wear any part of his fatigues in public (his mother, Tina Richards, now usually wears his Marine Corp boonie cover at rallies and marches). Madden was being tarred with the usual trumped up charge that fatigues are the equivalent of dress uniforms and the added bonus that his speech was "disloyal" (which may echo the questioning in Kokesh's kangaroo hearing where he was asked if he was "a card carrying member of Iraq Veterans Against the War"). Now comes the news via the AP's own Ethel Mertz (Heather Hollingsworth) that although "[a]n investigating officer had recommended in May that Liam Madden, 22, of Boston receive an other-than-honorable discharge, the worst discharge possible under non-court martial conditions" the Marines issued a press release stating "that they were dropping the case because they had 'received sufficient indictation' from Madden . . ." of something. Of what? Madden has been very clear that he'll come to terms with them provided they put in writing that he made no disloyal statements about the US. He tells Hollingsworth that he's received nothing in writing but, "I think it's a total victory. The country is on our side and it really puts the Marine Corps in a bad light if they try to intimdate".

Madden and other members of
Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently conducting a summer base tour that takes them next to the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm.

And in news of resistance within the military (IRR is a way station -- Richard, Madden and Kokesh were all discharged and the brass had no reason to screw with them), we'll turn to Eli Israel. Eleonai "Eli" Israel is stationed and Iraq and has announced he can no longer take part in the illegal war. He is also a supporter of
2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel having noted, "I am taken away by the truth and clarity that is spoken by Sen. Gravel. He has my vote. The National Initiative that he proposes is what this country needs." And: "My paychecks currently comes from the Army. I have worked with and trained with Blackwater in the past, among others. I have seen this war (and it's orchestrators) from the inside out, and I'm telling anyone who has 'ears to hear', that Mike Gravel is the only voice of reason that is speaking." Those were both noted in May. In April, he posted, "My name is Eli Israel, and yes, you probably guessed it, I'm very much Jewish. I'm also a soldier in Iraq, and I'm also a HARD CORE Mike Gravel supporter." In an update at Iraq Veterans Against the War, Eli notes, "I have been in Iraq for over a year. I have served in combat. I have been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, for my actions in Combat. I have been recommended for other medals, that I will now probably never see (nor do I want) . .. It would have been a lot 'easier' for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more week, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience". Courage to Resist has more information here.

Eli Israel is part of a movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In Iraq, where all business seems to stop anytime Moqtada al-Sadr deliberates . . .
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) report that Nouri al-Maliki is all but on his hands and knees regarding a planned al-Sadr march for next week (July 5th). Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) judged that "the march poses a test of his [al-Sadr's] popularity. A peaceful demonstration could arm him with broad political clout, which has eluded other Iraqi leaders so far, including Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. A low turnout could underscore the limites of Sadr's ability to marshal ordinary citizens." AP reported this morning that al-Sadr had called off the march and cited Sheik Asad al-Nassiri's statement: "Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to postpone the march to Samarra for several reasons, including the government's inablity to secure the route and many officials' appeals for a postponement."

When not begging al-Sadr,
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports, the puppet was attempting to sideline him via an attempted partnership with alleged moderate bloc in Parliament who would make it their business to take up the "oil revenue-sharing law". However Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' With Iraq's Culture Minister out and about, better hide those copies of Ram in the Thicket. Worse for al-Maliki, as he's attempting to realign himself, BBC reports that the Iraqi Accord Front and its six minister "will boycott government meetings because of legal steps being taken against one of its ministers." That would be al-Hashimi who, this week, suddenly became the main suspect in a 2005 assassination (he is now said to be in Jordan). Waleed Ibrahim and Alister Bull (Reuters) observe "the move is a blow to Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at a time when he is under U.S. pressure to push through laws" and that this is the second time the bloc has gone on strike this month -- last week they objected to the removal of Mahmoud al-Mashhadani who held the post of Speaker in the Parliament. In terms al-Hashimi, they further note that "there has been some confusion about the warrant. Police and court officials have not been able to confirm such a warrant has been issued for Hashemi."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 mortar attacks in Baghdad. CBS and AP report that "the British military issued a statement saying all of its bases came under attack from mortars or rockets in the past 24 hours". Reuters notes a Tikrit roadside bombing that left three wounded and a Kut roadside bombing that left a woman wounded. CBS and AP report a bombing on an oil pipeline in Haswa "spilling crude oil and sparking a huge fire".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 women ("one of them pregnant") and 1 man were shot dead in Baghdad, two police officers were wounded in Kirkuk and "A U.S. military convoy killed an Iraqi man in Al Rashad neighborhood, Iraq police said."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses were discoved in Baghdad today. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Balad and the corpse "of a university lecturer" found in Kut.

US military announced today, "Five Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a combat patrol in a southern section of Baghdad June 28. Small arms and rocket-propelled attacks followed shortly after the blast. Seven other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." The deaths bring to 3577 the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and to 100 fatalties for the month of June. June is the third deadliest month for US service members so far this year. June 2007 is also the deadliest June for service members stationed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The attack was one of the combination attacks that isn't new and has been going on for over a year. BBC notes their "Baghdad correspondent Andrew North says that incidents like Thursday's, in which insurgents first use roadside bombs to attack US troops, then exploit the confusion afterwards to fire on them, have become more common. . . . Our correspondent says this is a sign yet again of how the conflict here keeps changing, with insurgents often one step ahead."

Turning to world leaders do the craziest things . . .

As an election looms in Australia and (Australia's)
ABC News reports Labour's Kevin Rudd has declared John Howard (prime minister) will reduce the number of Australians stationed in Iraq "as an election ploy, but his overall strategy is to keep them there indefinitely." Last week, Bill Taylor's remarks, such as "The majority of Australians across the country would very much like to see us come out of that mess as soon as possible," caused a stirbecause it was seen as coming from within Howard's own party (Liberal). Ed Johnson (Bloomberg News) reports today that Alexander Downer, the country's Foreign Minister, has announced, "I made it clear that Australian troops would stay" in Iraq and dismissing Rudd's observations that any of the country's approximately 1,500 troops would be leaving Iraq.
That would be the same Alexander Downer who was in Iraq yesterday meeting with Iraq's Foreign Minister to discuss trade.
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which must be the country's equivalent of Liz Smith, announces, "Mr. Downer thanked Mister Zebari for the briefing he gave concerning the latest developments, and assured his country's obligations in supporting the new Iraq, and to develop relations between Canberra and Baghdad."

Moving from the satellite of Howard to the Bully of them all, Bully Boy gave more of the same yesterday at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.
Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) report: "Mr. Bush in effect pleaded for more time on Thursday, saying that the deployments in Iraq he ordered in his so-called troop surge have only recently been completed and were already producing positive results. . . .Even at this pre-screened location, Mr. Bush faced some skepticism from questioners in the audience, including a woman who asked him pointedly if he was indeed listening to the advice of his commanders (yes, he said) and a professor who asked if the Iraq campaign was stretching United States forces too think to cope with other challenges elsewhere (no, he said)." Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) noted that Bully Boy wants the US to support death globally and focus locally as evidenced by Bully Boy's claim that "citizens are forming neighborhood watch groups" in Baghdad is a sign of encouragement. Ricks notes, "It is not clear what the difference is between those groups and armed militias, which U.S. officials have said in the past must be disbanded or incorporated into Iraqi security forces."
Flashback to almost exactly this time last year (July 2006) when al-Maliki was claiming his 'plan' would create just that -- only, they were all created. Bully Boy's seeing 'progress' in a questionable development and one that existed before the June 2006 'crackdown' began on Baghdad.
Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) points out that Bully Boy did his usual stunt: "Facing eroding support for his Iraq policy, even among Republicans, President Bush on Thursday called al Qaida 'the main enemy' in Iraq, an assertion rejected by his administration's senior intelligence analaysts. The reference, in a major speech at the Naval War College that referred to al Qaida at least 27 times, seemed calculated to use lingering outrage over the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to bolster support for the current buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq, despite evidence that sending more troops hasn't reduced the violence or sped Iraqi government action on key issues." And despite the fact that Iraq had no connection to 9-11. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observed, "The President went on to say he views Israel as a model for what Iraq should become. Bush says Israel is able to carry out its democratic functions despite the constant threat of attacks." Along with the massive insult such statements are to the region (maybe Bully Boy feels at this late date, there are no hearts and minds left to win?), it's also true that the Israeli government is in the news today for actions/behaviors that hardly deserve copying. Donald Macintyre (Independent of London) reports how Moshe Katsav (Israel's president) "yesterday escaped jail by agreeing a plea bargain under which rape charges against him will be dropped. In return he is admitting charges of lesser sexual offences against former employees."

And turning to England, we find Blair-lite.
Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown (Independent of London) observe, "Yesterday should have been a day of political triumph for Gordon Brown. Instead events in Basra provided a brutal and intimate reminder of the scale of the challenge he faces in Iraq." Scott Kennedy, James "Jamie" Kerr and Paul Joszko, three British soldiers, were all announced dead. Andrew Pierce and David Blair (Telegraph of London) note that Jamie Kerr was "from Mr Brown's Cowdenbeath constituency" and that "Mr Brown, as a local MP, will now face the dilemma of whether to be present when the body of his constituent is flown home." Richard Beeston, Michael Evans and Melanie Reid (Times of London) quote John Paul Ward, Jamie Kerr's step-father, on the soldier's last phone call to his mother, "Jamie said being out there was not what he thought it would be. He didn't want to be there. He was more scared than anything else. He said he wanted to come home and I think being out there was a reality check for him."

For those who have forgotten, the 156 British troops who have died and the 3577 US troops who have died, the nearly one million Iraqis who have died, and others, all died because Tony Blair and Bully Boy insisted that Iraq had WMD and that we couldn't wait for a "mushroom cloud."
CBS and AP report: "The Security Council voted Friday to immediately shut down the U.N. bodies key to monitoring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs under Saddam Hussein, a decision an Iraqi diplomat said would close 'an appalling chapter' in his country's history."

Meanwhile, tensions between Turkey and the northern section of Iraq continue with
Reuters reporting that Masoud Barzani ("head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq") has declared there will be a "catastrophe" should Turkey enter into the region.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chris Bambery, Mary Jordan, Rob Scheffield

Rob Sheffield writes for Rolling Stone. In his early days, I read along laughing, thinking he was a put on, a send up. As the years passed, I realized he was not mocking disposable pop with his shrill remarks, he actually did have the mentality of a 12-year-old (and the tastes as well). If you ever need to know who your young niece (or gay nephew) is crushing on, you only have to turn to Rob's latest writing because he's crushing on him too.

He has brought a straightforward 16 touch to rock journal and, since it's not intended to be a joke, I find myself laughing at him more and more, instead of with him. I say all that to note that on page 70 of the latest Rolling Stone (June 28, 2007). Rob's trying to review the Beastie Boys' new CD The Mix-Up. Only Rob, clip-whore that he is, could compare Beastie Boys and U2 and only Rob could make the statement: "But now, with U2 bigger than ever and vaugh anthems all the rage, the Beasties can be forgiven for sounding confused themselves." A) It's an instrumental album the Beasties have released. B) Vauge anthems the rage? What Fergie song would that be? There are no anthems today burning raging. It's all disposable crap. C) U2 bigger than ever? They are in the studio right now, back with Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno because their 'sound' isn't their own, it's that of a producer. And they haven't burned up the singles charts in years. If peaking at 87 on the pop charts ("Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own") now qualifies as the "rage" . . . If they're lucky, they will have reduced three albums this century. If they're lucky. Three bad albums, but three none the less. They are the definition of the oldies circuit, touring to promote their latest album that most of the public avoids while playing all the old hits. Rob, my eleven-year-old niece called, she wants her sensibilities back. She said, however, you can keep her Justin Timberlake poster.

Tony Blair, another twit, is no longer prime minister of the United Kingdom. Mary Jordan (Washington Post via San Francisco Chronicle) notes this:

Blair spent much of his last address as prime minister defending the war in Iraq and began his remarks by saluting three British soldiers who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I know some may think that they face these dangers in vain; I don't and I never will. I believe they are fighting for the security of this country and the wider world against people who would destroy our way of life," he said.

Of course he doesn't think "they" were left to "face these dangers in vain" -- he wasn't with them. No one in his family was with them. When it's someone else or someone else's children you're sending off to war, it's just "they" and never "us."

And his replacement (cooked up in a deal with Tony Blair years ago) is no better. This is Chris Bambery's "New Labour leader Gordon Brown spurns calls to move leftwards" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

Millions of people in Britain will have been pleased to see the back of Tony Blair as prime minister. Many will have greeted Gordon Brown's start as premier as an opportunity to put an end to the failed New Labour policies of war and privatisation.
Those who have despaired of the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may hope that Brown will have confidence to stand up to George Bush and bring the troops home.
Many will be hopeful that the new cabinet will act on the funding crisis in the NHS, which has led to the sacking of staff and the closure of hospitals and wards across the country, while private companies get rich by leeching off the health service.
Hundreds of thousands of people who are living in overcrowded, substandard and overpriced accommodation will expect policies to deal with the housing crisis.
Yet in accepting the leadership, Brown made clear his devotion to Blair's policies -- in particular to the "strong relationship" with the US, and to Britain continuing to play a central role in the global "war on terror".
The closest he came to acknowledging the failure of the war was when he said that Iraq had "been a divisive issue for our party and our country" and that his government would "learn lessons that need to be learned".
But he then concluded that the war had been "necessary".
Further evidence of Brown’s commitment to militarism came last week as he stood in the pulpit of a Kirkcaldy church to announce his support for replacing Trident nuclear submarines as a defence against "terrorism".
Failed approaches
But it is not just on the issue of the war that Brown is proving that he is unable and unwiling to break from Blairism.
Anyone who thought that the influence of the super-rich on the government might end is also going to be disappointed.
Brown has signalled that he has no intention of closing a tax loophole that allows some of the richest people in Britain to avoid paying tax.
This ensures that key rich list Labour donors -- including steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, venture capitalist Sir Ronald Cohen, and multi-millionaires Lord Paul and Sir Gulam Noon -- had something to celebrate.
In a sign that previous hints of policy change on the privatisation of housing and health would not amount to anything, the new prime minister also made clear his disapproval of some of the more left wing statements made by the contenders for the deputy leadership.
He promised that there will be no return to the "failed approaches of the left".
The Blair government spent much of the extra funding it allocated for the NHS on a variety of privatisations and maintaining the increasingly costly internal market in health.
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is tying health authorities into expensive long term arrangements that benefit corporations rather than patients.
No wonder an anxious John Cridland, deputy director of the bosses' CBI organisation, told Brown that "to spurn the PFI now would be a huge step backwards for this country", and urged him to "continue to resist populist calls for the PFI's abolition and instead champion it".
Consensus pollitics
Commentators regard driving Labour into the centre ground of politics as Blair's great achievement. His hallmark was junking policies that aimed at a fairer distribution of wealth or limiting the power of the large corporations.
The revelation that Brown has approached the Liberal Democrats about joining his new government, by offering former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown a job as secretary of state for Northern Ireland, is an extension of Blair's political philosophy.
This doctrine seeks to replace the divisions of "left" and "right" with consensus politics, in which neoliberal economics is king and the only thing that separates the main parties is their style and spin.
As if to show the world just how New Labour Brown is, he has declared that the political influence of the unions in the Labour Party is a major obstacle to creating the new political alignment he seeks.
The unions that nominated Brown for leadership -- including Amicus, CWU, GMB, T&G and Unison -- now find that he will not be returning the favour.
Instead he plans to limit their influence at the party's conference, which will see "divisive" votes replaced by "consensus" decision making.
The gap between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is already looking awfully thin.
Harriet Harman: 'I'm sorry, don't apologise'
The utter humiliation of the arch Blairite Hazel Blears, who came bottom of the poll for the deputy leadership, is a good indicator of how even many Party members feel.
But the pressure on Harriet Harman, the newly elected deputy leader, to "toe the line" has already started.
Millions of viewers heard her saying, "I agree" when rival candidate Jon Cruddas told a BBC Newsnight hustings that the government should "say sorry" for the Iraq war.
Yet after the election Harman says that, "I've never said the government should apologise."
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As you'll find out in a minute (if you don't already know), 3 British soldiers died in Iraq. Their government announced that today. Gordon Brown isn't planning on changing a damn thing. That's not me gloating or taking joy in the fact that another government's screwed up. There's a lesson here, and all the gas baggers making 2007 all about the 2008 elections, pay attention. (Yes, that includes the staff of The Nation.) Leadership changed (in name, if nothing else), the illegal war stayed on the table. Something to remember when you're looking at a candidate who won't address Iraq seriously. Something to remember when they go for soundbytes. Something to remember when you examine their statements to see if you find a respect for self-rule or just a desire to blame a people for a government the US installed.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which has the details on the 3 dead British soldiers and more:

Thursday, June 28, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, AP runs a he-said-and-then-he-said article on self-checkouts, the British and US military announce more deaths, 20 headless corpses either were or were not discovered today, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Estes Thompson (AP) gets tasked with filing the featue based on AP's 'study.' AP's studying data on self-check outs from the US military -- data compiled by the branches and "each branch of the military keeps statistics in different ways". Of course, as NPR demonstrated last month, that 'tracking' of figures is often fudged. But working from the data, Thompson wants to tell you that "the US military does almost nothing to find those who flee" and buying that really requires ignoring the realities of Kyle Snyder's story. Snyder self-checked out after serving in Iraq (something the military tells Thompson really doesn't happen -- these self-checkouts, according to the military are people who haven't served anywhere yet) and went to Canada only to return to the US in October of 2006 after his attorney and the military had reached an agreement. Upon turning himself in, Snyder found out that the military which lied to him repeatedly was still lying. He was not being discharged. Snyder self-checked out again and began a speaking tour across the country (also worked on reconstruction in New Orleans) and what happened then?

What happened then was that Snyder, who truly did not believe the US military was interested in what he was doing and was quite public about where he would be speaking, suddenly found the police showing up at every scheduled stop. And the instructions to the police were reportedly coming from Fort Knox in Kentucky. That's before Snyder returned to Canada. Once he returned to Canada, as he was about to get married, Canadian police show up at his door to arrest him, carrying him out in his boxers, and doing so on orders from the US military. We could also go into the two US military officers that accompanied a Canadian police officer to Winnie Ng's home, her Canadian home, in search of was resister Joshua Key and the fact that the two US military officers posed as Canadian police -- an offense several times over in both countries. It's an article meant to lull everyone to sleep and, for peace resisters, that will probably be the case. For those who've paid any attention at all, prepare to laugh repeatedly. In fact,
let's note this: "In recent years, the military has lowered its standards to fill its ranks, letting in more recruits with criminal records or low aptitude scores. But officials said that does not appear to be a factor in the rising desertion rate either. In fact, Edgecombe said, recruits who got into trouble before they enlisted tend to shape up under the influence of the military's code of honor and discispline."

Peace resisters will probably nod along. Those who have given a damn about the illegal war will immediately think of three words: Steven Dale Green. Steven D. Green belonged to which branch? The Army. And Green made his decision to sign up when? After he got busted (again -- this time for possession of alcohol). Moral character waiver took care of that, just wiped it away. Soon enough, Green was in Iraq.

And what happened then? Small media ran from it in the summer of 2006. So let's go to CNN for the words of Captain Alex Pickands, summarizing as military prosecutor, exactly what Green and others did: "
They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."

Abeer, the story small media ran from as if their life depended upon it. (Exceptions have been noted before.) Green, who will be tried in a civilian court and maintains his innocence, and others watched Abeer, leered at her. Green ran his finger down the 14 year-old's face. He freaked her out. Abeer told her parents who made plans for her to stay elsewhere. The day before that could happen, the plan Pickands noted would be implemented. March 12, 2006, Paul Cortez, James P. Baker, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and Steven D. Green began the criminal actions. (Howard was reportedly the lookout. Barker and Cortez have confessed in court to their actions and those of the others involved.) Green, Barker and Cortez entered the home of 14 year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. While Cortez and Barker began gang raping the 14 year-old girl, Green took Abeer's parents and her five-year-old sister into a bedroom and shot them dead. While she was being gang-raped, Abeer could hear the gunshots. Barker and Cortez made room for Green who then joined the gang-rape. After the gang-rape, Green shot Abeer. They then attempted to set her corpse on fire.

Now that doesn't fit with the sunny annecdotal 'evidence' that gets quoted by the AP; however, that is reality. Green, the high school drop out, let into the Army on a moral waiver shortly after being busted by the cops (again), has been described as the "ring leader" from the start. (Again, Green maintains he is innocent.)

Edgecombe is Major Anne Edgecombe, a military flack whose job it is to spin. She does that repeatedly with sunny anecdotes -- as opposed to facts and figures -- and the AP runs with them -- as opposed to reality. 11,020 is the US Army's official count on check outs since the start of the illegal war. Thompson's article is a test book case of weakening journalistic standard. The article takes official data and official statements. This isn't even the he-said-she-said (the 12 lines about Ricky Clousing -- the closest to an independent source in the entire article -- is not 'balance' in a 114 line article).
On March 19, 2007, Nancy Mullane broke the story of the US Army's undercounting on NPR. The AP article gives no indication that Thompson is familiar with it. In that report, Mullane explained how the 2006 figures for the Army were said to have dropped. That was wrong. The number given before NPR caught them was 2334. Mullane reported: "Instead of 3100 deserters [for 2006], the real number may be closer to 5,000. That's according to analysts within the Army's personnel division at the Pentagon and at the Fort Knox desertion information center.
Both reached that 5,000 figure by adding on soldiers who deserted and then were discharged from the Army throughout the year." Search Thompson's article in vain for any mention of that. There is none. Thompson merely repeats the figure 3,301 for 2006, never notes the military's 'problem' with numbers and uses a military flack to offer anecdotal evidence and 'conclusions' throughout the article.

Despite that nonsense, the movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In other resistance news,
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden "may not have to get ANY discharge" from the IRR, the AP (Heather Hollingsworth) reports citing Col. Pat McCarthy as the source of that quote. He shouldn't need one. He's already been discharged from active duty and the IRR doesn't usually do discharges. The AP notes that Madden wants, in writing, the US military to admit "that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate." Along with Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, Madden has been targeted by the US military brass for speaking out against the war and sharing what they observed first hand in Iraq. Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently conducting a summer base tour that takes them to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina tonight at 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. Madden, writing at Iraq Veterans Against the War, notes of the kick off Saturday (Green Belt Park) in DC: had an early visitor, a police officer who apparently does double duty as a 'journalist': "This confirmed to all of us that he was indeed, not a journalist and in fact, a cop with a bad attitude who wanted to leave before he was subject to any more inquiry. Then, to top it off he drove by with a bright, fluorescent orange vest in his passenger seat. You know, the kind cops wear when they need a bright fluorescent vest. We carried on with the BBQ and 7 active duty military personnel joined us along with at least a dozen IVAW members and another 15 civilian supporters. We declared the first cook-out a success as we recruited 4 new members, raised over $200 and did what we set out to do, have meaningful conversations and meet good people. We later got a phone call from the news station asking why we sent their reporter away. Ooops."

At his website,
Adam Kokesh responds to comments that have been left, pro and con.

In Iraq, the escalation, like the year long and counting crackdown, has achieved little as evidenced by the continuing daily violence.


Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the Baghdad car bombing that claimed the lives of 25 people and "struck during the rush hour in Baghdad's Bayaa neighborhood as many of the victimes were lining up to catch rides to work. About 40 minibuses were incinerated, police reported." John Ward Anderson and Naseer Nouri (Washington Post) count this bombing as "at least the third time that the site has been targeted".
Molly Hennesy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) counts 50 wounded, along with the 25 dead, and quotes Ahmad Kamil, "I felt the huge blast and I was pushed away violently. I didn't realize what had happened at that moment. I almost fainted. I felt that people came to me and carried me away amid cries and shouting for help and voices of people in pain." Dean Yates (Reuters) notes that the explosion "dug a huge crater where the minibuses parked. Residents could be seen searching the burned out minibuses for bodies. Corpses, some charred beyond recognition, lay twisted on the ground." CBS and AP report, "Bystanders, some weeping, gingerly loaded human remains into ambulances." AFP rightly notes the obvious regarding the beefed up US presence in Baghdad: "The increased presence has failed to prevent continued communal bloodletting including car bombings." Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) observes that car bombings are once again on the rise in Baghdad after a drop off earlier in the month.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that left 12 injured, a Baghdad car bombing "near Al Mansour fuel station" that claimed 4 lives (10 injured), 6 other Baghdad mortar attacks that left 6 people dead and eight wounded, a Baghdad bombing "near Al Tobchi not far from Ibn Haian bridge" that left two people wounded, two other Baghdad bombings that left 5 wounded and "Police sources in Basra city said that 5 civilians were killed yesterday evening when a British helicopter bombed their vehicle in Al Hussein neighborhood" to the west of Basra.

On the topic of civilians killed by the US military,
yesterday we noted Mohammed al Dulaimy's report that the people of Khalis maintained those killed (and wounded) on June 22nd by a US helicopter attack were not 'terrorists.' The BBC reports today, "Relatives of 11 Iraqis killed by US troops in the village of Khalis last week have demanded compensation, and have called for the Americans to withdraw claims the men were from al-Qaeda."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports one shooting death in Baghdad.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in the capital. NPR reports that 30 corpses ("hands and legs bound") were found "on the banks of the Tigris River southeast of Baghdad . . . The male bodies -- all aged 20 to 40 years old -- were bound at the hands and legs and some of the heads were found next to the bodies, two officers said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information." Almost immediately, Iraqi's Interior Ministry began casting doubts. Dean Yates (Reuters) reports an official with the ministry asserts those who have gone to the site have found no corpses.

Today the
UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two soldiers from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and one soldier from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales) in Basra, southern Iraq this morning, Thursday 28 June 2007." The deaths bring to 156 the number of British soldiers killed in the illegal war since it started in March 2003. Sophie Borland (Telegraph of London) reports that the soldiers had been on "a supply run to a base in Basra Palace" while the BBC reports plans for British troops in Basra to begin moving "from Basra city to the airport" and that this is part of a "military plan over the next 12 months . . . to reduce the numbef of British troops from 5,500 to just 1,500, although he cautioned that this coud be changed by surprise political announcements." Ed Johnson and Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) remind that the British have already turned over three out of four provinces to Iraqis and that the "U.K. is scaling back the number of troops it has there and plans to hand control of Basra Palace, the last remaining British base in the city, to Iraqi forces next month." On the de-escalation, Reuters observes that the UK has cut the number of troops from "7,000 to about 5,500." China's Xinhua notes that the appoximately 5,500 troops have been "based mainly" in Basra. Sam Marsden (Independent of London) quotes Major David Gell on a fourth soldier, one injured in the bombing, "He is now receiving the best possible medical care" while "being treated at the field hospital at the the British base at the airport."

The three deaths come one day after the Bully Boy's poodle, Tony Blair, steps down as prime minister of England. Yesterday,
Military Families Against the War were present to bid Blair farewell with banners, portraits, etc. For video of the protests, click here (ITV). Rose Gentle notes that, "For the past 3 years I have asked Mr. Blair to see Military Families, but he has refused to meet us. This the man that sent our loved ones to war, so to me this man will leave as a coward. I have now asked Gordon Brown to meet with us, as we all need answer. Lets hope Gordon Brown will not step into Blair's shoes and look at the families of our brave troops as if we should just shut up and go away. Let's hope Mr. Brown's reputation is not the reputation of Mr. Blair. But this is just to let Mr. Brown know that Military Families will always be here, we will be here longer than any prime minister will be."
The three deaths come after, as
Sophie Borland (Telegraph of London) observes, one day after John Rigby's corpse was returned to England from Iraq. As Alan Hamilton (Times of London) reported earlier this week, John Rigby was wounded from a roadside bomb and taken to a field hospital in Iraq where he died from the wounds. This is London notes that his twin brother Will was at his side when he died (they both were serving in Iraq), that the roadside bombing took place on their 24th birthday and quotes their father Doug Rigby stating, "The Army has been enormously supportive to us but as to what they are doing over there and the cause which they are fighting for and the politicians that have caused that to happen, the boys were less than impressed, especially Will. He could see through the whole thing and I don't think that he liked it." A family statement is quoted by BBC, stating John Rigby was "a cherished and devoted son and brother; a talented hardworking and successful soldier, popular with his peers and across all ranks alike."

Today, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed when a combat patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital June 28." The announcement brought the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war since March 2003 to 3570 and to 93 for the month thus far.

Julian Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that US commanders in Iraq are preparing for Congress to impose some sort of redeployment/drawdown by the end of summer. This is in anticipation of the report that Congress will receive as to the 'progress' in Iraq resulting from Bully Boy's escalation. However, CBS and AP report that Daniel Speckhard ("second-ranking U.S. diplomat in Iraq) told reporters on Wednesday "predicted progress by fall" and that chiefly appears to be based on Speckhard's hopes of strong arming the Iraqi Parliament to pass legislation guaranteeing the theft of Iraqi oil. The two reports aren't necessarily in conflict. Once that so-called 'benchmark' has been achieved, there is little need to occupy the country. The oil fields? That's another issue.

But . . . Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' Iraq's Culture minister has an arrest warrant on him for alleged activities in a 2005 assassination attempt.
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported today that Alaa Makki (who is handling the negotiations between al-Hashimi and the Iraq authorities) stated, "The minister is ready to face justice, but we believe that the investigation was weak and it was faked. We are negotiating with the prime minister on this matter, and we have three demands to which we would like a response: the release of all his guards, restoration of the minister's good name and a new, independent investigation committee."

Finally, in the US,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted: "The nation's body of city mayors has called on the Bush administration to begin planning for a quick withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. In a measure passed this week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors says; '[the Iraq war] is reducing federal funds . . . for needed domestic investments in education, health care, public safety, homeland security and more.' The resolution was passed by a vote of fifthy-one to forty-seven."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Guns and Butter

Okay, last week I didn't note Guns and Butter and some people were happy and some people were mad. I didn't note it because I wasn't home. I was on the road. So I really didn't have time to listen. Those who were upset, I'm not an online listener. Those who were glad, I will keep noting it. Bonnie Faulkner does great work.

I grasp why some have soured on KPFA, believe me, I grasp that and then some. I'm also aware of the idiotic thing KPFA did yesterday. I'm not writing about that because Ruth's covering it this weekend in her latest report. If you're outraged (and she's got e-mails from visitors and from members who are outraged), Ruth will tackle it this weekend and I'm not going to poach her territory.

Bonnie's guest was Webster Tarpley this week and they were discussing why he's staging the Philadelphia Emergency Anti-War Convention on July 4th.

It's an interesting interview. And Zbigniew Brzezinski was brought up (from the Carter administration). He apparently (I hadn't heard this before) told Congress (I believe in February) that the administration might explode a nuclear device in the US, blame it on Iran and use that as a pretext for war?

Does anyone know anything about that?

I'd not heard of it. He said that Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer should have immediately asked him what he was basing on that on and if he refused to answer, they should have subpoened him. If that happened, I agree with him.

I know of no time that Tarpley's lied before (I don't know his entire history, admittedly) but this is rather huge. That said, Bonnie's show is often the only place to hear something. She mentioned the National Security directive that Bully Boy had issued that would place alter the chain of command in a national emergency and, of course, give himself more powers. Matthew Rothschild wrote about that, so I was aware of it. Tarpley's reply was basically that people do this count down until Bully Boy's out of office but something like that, resulting in martial law, would allow him to stay on past January 2009. It was pretty frightening.

So, July 4th, he's got the conference and it's about the need for a new political party pulling strands from all over: peace movement, 9-11 truth, disenchanted voters, etc. I wish him luck with that.

If that seems like a kiss off, it's not intended as such. I just listened to his breakdown of the 7 potential parties in this country and questioned whether he was informed about politics (Democratic Party) or just hesitant to call out reality. He brought up Hillary Clinton many times. I didn't disagree with his remarks necessarily but he tossed out Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden and where was Obama?

Obama's not taken nukes off the table with Iran. Obama's ready to go to war with Iran. Obama and Hillary are not 2 different candidates to me. Their problems are the same.

So the fact that he name checked a lot of politicians, especially those running for president, in the hour long broadcast (including also Ron Paul, Mike Bloomberg, Rudy, Mitt Romney, etc.) and never mentioned Barack Obama concerned me.

Maybe Obama's off limits? Maybe he is unaware of Obama's many statements? That doesn't seem likely since he seemed very up to date on the other candidates.

So that just left me wondering.

It's an hour long interview and covers many topics. KPFA should have the broadcast up in the archives now. I'm not linking. It's on the side and after yesterday . . . It will be up at Guns and Butter's website within a day or two so you can also hear it that way.

Yesterday, I wrote about Laura Flanders and Stanley Aronowitz being on this week's Law and Disorder. Mike's written a very strong post where he comments on what he saw. Please read his "Laura Flanders & Stanley Aronowitz (Law and Disorder)." He called before starting it and called after he was done and about to post, offering to read it to me. We have two different takes on it. That's fine. I love Mike. When I first got to know him, he really was more like a kid to me. A mature kid, but a kid. He's become a young man and a really great one. I've known him three years now. That's amazing to me. That so much time has passed. But I told him when he called before writing, I wasn't going to be upset that he saw something differently. When he called after writing, I told him, I'll be reading it as soon as it goes up. Which I did and enjoyed it. I think some of what he sees were things I should have caught and there are points we disagree on. But we're both the Irish Catholic bloggers of the community, and that's only one of the bonds between us, and I think he was worried about our disagreeing publicly. There's no need to. "Laura Flanders & Stanley Aronowitz (Law and Disorder)" is an amazing post. I was happy to read it and proud of him when I read it.

Shortly after the news came out that Mike and Elaine were involved (I believe their anniversary -- one year -- is approaching), Maggie asked me if I ever wondered about that? No. They are perfect for each other. I wonder, now, why it took them so long to see that and I also wonder why I didn't notice what was happening when it was going down? Elaine's "Spying, Marjorie Cohn" is a must read and it's epic for her. She hates blogging. I don't necessarily hate it, I just always have other things I could be doing. (So does Elaine but she's not someone who wants to write and write. She'd prefer to just have a paragraph or two. In conversation she's very to the point -- very nice about it and very well mannered -- but she's someone who uses her words sparingly and is very happy to toss to someone else at any minute. She wrote about the torture and the use of psychologists in that -- long ago -- and that and tonight's post may be among the longest things she's written. ) It's an amazing post. I'm reading over this and want to be sure that I'm not leaving the impression that she's stand offish. You always know where you stand with Elaine and she's not at all judgemental. She's very supportive. It's just rare to read her go into some in depth (or hear it) with the exception of music or literature (she can go on and on about all the books we are supposed to have read -- many of which I skipped). Her work suits her because she really is the type who is most interested in what you think.

By the way, Mike says I spelled Heidi's last name correctly yesterday (I'm not pushing my luck! I'm tired and will end up screwing it up). Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Turkey makes noises about an armed mission into northern Iraq, the US military announces another death, Falluja remains under siege, a paper editorializes in favor of Adam Kokesh, Gordon Brown is a 'new man' acting just like the last one, and more.

Starting with war resistance,
Ehren Watada has provided a spark fueling actions in Washington. Watada is the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006) and the first to be court-martialed for it (a kangaroo hearing that ended in a mistrial back in February). Linda Averill (ZNet) observes that Watada's "defiance, amplified by an effective defense effort, inspired many anti-war activists, including Gibbs" referring to Molly Gibbs who attempted to get Congressional attention for Watada but only "got the runaround" from Senator Patty Murray and decided, "I'm done dealing with my congressional representatives. It is in our hands. We have to do something." Which for Gibbs including counter-recruitment at high schools and joining with others in SDS, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace and United for Peace of Pierce County in actions like shutting down ports which, Averill observes, take those participating "from demonstrators and lobbyists into direct actors against the war masters, blocking streets and facing arrest as needed." And, in Hawaii, Watada is hailed as a hero at a "War and Peace Art Exhibit." Gary T. Kubota (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports the Maui event brought over "100 artists and writers" to 1134 Makawao Ave (exhibit closes Saturday -- may move to "galleries in California, Oregon and Arizona") and included a piece by Tom Seweel involved the "scanned . . . faces of more than 3,00 American soldiers who have died in Iraq into the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag." Along with adult artists, the exhibit in Maui (closes Saturday, repeating) also included artwork done by children. Watada inspires as do others standing up.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Iraq Veterans Against the War have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to force them to stop speaking out. The three targeted are Liam Madden, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh. Bob Audette (Brattleboro Reformer) speaks with Madden who explains he will not enter agree to any deals to end the matter -- deals offered by the military brass -- until the note in writing "that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate." Madden also discussed the strong reception to Iraq Veterans Against the War's summer base tour which goes to Camp Lejune in Jacksonville, NC tonight at 7:00 pm and follows with: Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina on June 18th 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. And Kokesh is the subject of an editorial from the Charleston Gazette which basically states that the brass needs to back off and cites
VFW head Gary Kupius' statements echoing that ("These Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles. I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it.") before concluding: "Kokesh and Kurpius both merit praise for defending free speech as guaranteed in America's Bill of Rights."

In Iraq,
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Governmental and political parties' sources in Khalis disputed a U.S. military statement that was issued a few days ago; the statement said that a U.S. helicopter killed 17 terrorists but these sources say these men were protecting their own town from terrorist attacks. They said that Abbas Muthafar Hashim, Shakir Adnan, Ali Jawad, Jassim Jaleel, Abbas Jaleel, Kamal Hadi, Jamal Hassan and Mohammed Abdul Kareem were killed and 8 others were injured. They noted that the killed were members of what is called the popular committees that protect the area from the terrorists attacks, as they said." The US military press release on that incident was issued Friday, June 22nd and noted that those killed were "17 al-Qaeda gunmen" and that they US forces "observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village. The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using." Obviously the people of town differ with the US military on the dead and, since they knew the dead and didn't just observe them from the air, one would assume a follow up by the military is in order. Those very likely wrongful deaths make the news as Molly Hennesy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports this from today, "Witnesses said U.S. troops opened fire on civilians in the sprawling Sadr City neighborhood of the capital after a passerby fired a revolver into the air to settle a family dispute. The ensuing gunfire left two men dead and three injured, witnesses said. A spokesman for the U.S. said he had not received reports of soldiers firing at civilians."

Meanwhile the tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq continue.
Al Jazeera reports that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit declared today, "I have said [in April] that we need a cross-border operation and that this would bring benefits. I repeat this view now." "BBC correspondents say attacks in Turkey by rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have increased recently, sometimes carried out by rebels based across the border in northern Iraq," notes the BBC as well as the fact that Buyukanit's statements may also have Parliamentary intent (attempting to prove the controlling party -- AK party -- is "weak on terrorism") right before the elections scheduled for the fourth week next month. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports that Turkey is shelling villages in Iraq currently as "part of an effort by Turkey to create a de facto 10-mile buffer zone inside Iraq and stop terrorists of the Kurdish independence movement, PKK, infiltrating its borders from their mountain training camps. Turkey has mobilised more than 20,000 of its soldiers in an operation to stop the PKK using Iraq as a staging post for a new campaign of violence. Yesterday Turkish newspapers sounded an alarm over the terrorist group after it staged an Iraqi-style suicide truck bomb attack on Turkish troops for the first time." Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which generally announces every visit in Iraq or abroad with a dignitary, carries no annoucement of this meeting. The alleged statements come at a time when the US is not seen positively around the world. Alan Fram (AP) reports that an international poll ("46 nations plus the Palestinian territories") found that "wide-ranging majorities think the U.S. does not consider their intersts when formulating policy; worry that U.S. customs are hurting their countries; and think the U.S. contributes to the gap between rich and poor nations", that even the 'coalition' partner England has gone from "75 percent favorable" opinion "in 2002 to 51 percent now".

In news of other neighboring countries,
Al Jazeera reports that during a visit to Iran by Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared, "The main elements of insecurity in Iraq which are behind the current atrocities are the US and the Zionist regime intelligence services and some accompanying nations."

Meanwhile in the US,
Bill Schneider (CNN) reports on CNN's latest polling which has found
54% "of Americans do not believe U.S. action is morally justified," support for the illegal war has now fallen to an "all-time low of 30 percent," 69% "of Americans believe the war is going badly" and that Republicans are among those (obviously, when approximately 70% of Americans are against the illegal war) and 42% of them "support some form of troop withdrawal."
CBS, MTV News and the New York Times did a joint poll of young adults (17 y.o. to 29 y.o.) on their attitudes today. In the Times write up, Adam Nagourney was doing his usual spin but the real news (unreported by the Times) was that 58% of young people say that the US should have "stayed out" of Iraq and 72% say that the illegal war is going badly (34% "somewhat badly" plus 38% "very badly").

In Iraq, Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' al-Hashimi is Iraq's Culture Minister.
Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) notes the arrest warrant issued yesterday for al-Hashimi resulted in a raid on the minister's home and that some Sunnis are seeing the efforts against al-Hashimi as "a trumped-up attempt to discredit a Sunni leader." John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) reports, "A statement by Hashimi's party, the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni bloc in parliament, said two gunment involved in the attack had been tortured into falsely implicating Hashimi. The minister, in a telephone interview with the al-Jazeera satellite television network, said the case was 'fabricated' to damage his party and 'to run us out of the country'." AP notes the incident in question took place Feburary 8, 2005 and was an "ambush against then-parliamentary candidate Mithal al-Alusi, according to governmental spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. Al-Alusi escaped unharmed but two of his sons were killed." Al Jazeera quotes Mithal Allusi stating, "He is on the run now and hiding in one of the houses of an Iraqi official in the Green Zone." Ned Parker and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) observe that Mithal al-Alusi is yet another exile who came back to Iraq after the US invaded -- could we poll on how many holding powerful positions in the puppet government actually never went into exile -- and "Returning to Baghdad from exile in Germany he headed a committee that purged thousands of Iraqis from government jobs because of their membership in Iraq's ousted ruling party. He allied himself with Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, the kingmakers in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed the lives of 3 people and left ten more wounded, a Baghdad car bombing "targeting an Iraqi police checkpoint on the western side of Al Jadiriyah Bridge" which left 1 police officer dead and 3 more wounded as well as 3 civilians wounded, a Diyala attack using gunfire and a mortars with the mortar attack resulting in 5 deaths and fifteen being wounded. Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports a Samarra roadside bombing that killed "four Iraqi police commandos" and wounded three more. Reuters reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 7 lives.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the combined mortar and gunfire attack in the Diyala province resulted in 14 Iraqis being shot dead (thirteen more wounded), an attack on a Kirkuk police station that left 4 police officers dead, an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in the Salaheddin province, two men were shot dead in Basra, a police officer was shot dead in Al Zubair and "Men in Iraq Ministry of Interior commandos uniforms executed a 60 year-old-man in front of his grocery shop in Mariam makret in central Samara this afternoon." Reuters notes that "two members of the Assyrian's Beth-Nahrain Association Union" were shot dead in Mosul.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 21corpses discovered in the capital today, while in Tikrit the detached head of someone "wearing an Iraqi military hat" was discovered in a bus station, and 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk.

Today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed June 26 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war to 3568 since the start of the illegal war (ICCC). The monthly total thus far is 91 which puts June (so far) behind May (126) and April (104) but ahead of March, February and Januray. The total thus far also makes June 2006 the most deadly June for US service members since the war began. In June of 2003, 30 US service members were announced dead, in June of 2004 42 were announced, in June of 2005 78 were announced dead, and in June of 2006 61 were announced dead (ICCC).

Yesterday, Ellen Massey (IPS) article on Iraqi women was noted but the link was included.
Click here to read Massey's article. Today Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports on the two month seige of Falluja (attacked in April of 2004 and destroyed in November of 2004) noting that "Cars have not been permitted to move on the streets of Fallujah for nearly a month now. A ban was also enforced on bicycles, but residents were later granted permission to use them" which prompts a school teacher named Ala to say (this is sarcasm for any who miss it), "Thank God and President Bush for this great favour. We are the only city in the liberated world with the blessing now of having bicycles moving freely in the streets." al-Fadhily notes that aid is being prevented (by the US military) from reaching the city and that "[m]edical services are inaccessible".

Finally, the poodle is no longer prime minister.
In England, Gordon Brown has succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister. As Chris Bambery (Socialist Worker) observes, don't throw the confetti just yet: "Yet in accepting the leadership, Brown made clear his devotion to Blair's policies -- in particular to the 'strong relationship' with the US, and to Britain continuing to play a central role in the global 'war on terror'. The closest he came to acknowledging the failure of the war was when he said that Iraq had 'been a divisive issue for our party and our country' and that his government would 'learn lessons that needed to be learned'. But he then concluded that the war had been 'necessary'." For corporate economic enrichment?