Friday, April 17, 2009

How I've grown to HATE Naomi Klein

"And that pretty much says it all. Hope was a fine slogan when rooting for a long-shot presidential candidate. But as a posture toward the president of the most powerful nation on earth, it is dangerously deferential. The task as we move forward (as Obama likes to say) is not to abandon hope but to find more appropriate homes for it--in the factories, neighborhoods and schools where tactics like sit-ins, squats and occupations are seeing a resurgence."

That's Naomi Klein blathering on in her useless way. I once gave a damn what she said and thought she had something worth saying. She doesn't.

1) "Hope was a fine slogan when rooting for a long-shot presidential candidate."

A) Long-shot presidential candidate? Naomi proves why foreigners who don't live in the US shouldn't prattle on about our elections. Shove it up your Canadian ass, you air headed mall rat.

B) A slogan is all Barack offered but that didn't stop little Coward Nomie from WHORING her ass for Barry. That didn't stop her from using the publishers to whore for Barry.

Naomi's a whore. She wants to play independent but she can't. A friend of C.I.'s told a hilarious story that C.I. and Ava have three times included in a commentary and three times pulled it. I'll note it tonight. The economy was melting bad the day of one of Naomi's interviews to promote her soft cover edition. The reporter had to wait for Naomi to make a call before Naomi could answer the question. She had to call her husband first and ask, "What's our position?"

When you don't know your position, you're not very smart.

And since I've had the time to see the early drafts of Naomi's book -- remember, C.I. read the thing back when it was in draft form and back when the publisher thought some nice photos of Naomi would be used for the cover (Naomi decided they were cheesecake photos) -- and I see now why C.I. comments on how all she really did was a wrap around.

Her embarrassing crap with Matthew Rothschild where Naomi's acting so much more mature (she wishes!) than her "anarchists" friends and how she let them know she was going to enjoy this inauguration so they better back off.

Hey, Naomi, you live in Canada. I applaud your American father for deserting the military during Vietnam but you're not really an American. I bet you voted though, I bet you made sure to pretend you were American in order to vote for Barry.

But you grew up in Canada and you live there. That's your home.

Last time I checked, Stephen Harper was a neocon. Why don't you try fixing your own country and butting the hell out of ours.

Fences make good neighbors, Naomi, and so do borders. Stay on your side with your pathetic mall rat musings.

You whored yourself our for Barry and anyone who heard the recordings of the little 'stand up' you did in Chicago on Sarah Palin? They know you're not a feminist, they know you're not a comedian and they know you're not an intelligent woman.

"The task as we move forward"

We? You're Canadian. Get your ass back to your country, butt the hell out of the United States.
You dropped Iraq like a hot potato because another topic came along for you to WHORE on. As I remember, you were bothered about tar pits or some other thing. Go write about that. Write about the way the indigenous people of Canada were AND are screwed over.

But quit boring us with how you see the US from up in the Great White North.

You need to grow the hell up and you need to shut the hell up. You're like two remarks away from having C.I. rip you apart publicly and when that happens, you won't be able to put the stuffing back in your teddy bear. When you finally push C.I. far enough, you better believe you're going to be exposed for all your factual problems and for all your lies. I know because I'm on campuses when students complain about you -- the real activists complain about you and your nonsense. And C.I. will pull an example out to explain why you're not all of that. Always just one. But there are about sixty different ones C.I.'s used now. My personal favorite involves the way you misportrayed a wounded journalist.

So keep pushing it, Naomi, but understand reality will slap you in the face. Safer for you to return to your Barbi collection.

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

Friday, April 17, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, the US State Dept fudges in a new report, Matthis Chiroux prepares for a court date, and more.

Starting with war resistance,
Matthis Chiroux was supposed to stand before a military body last month but that changed. He explained to Digital Journal's Stephen Dohnberg why the date was changed to April 21st, "My former JAG attorney volunteered for Iraq service and was deployed a number of weeks ago. Thus, I had to get a new lawyer and a new court date. I think the Army may have been hoping I'd already bought tickets for people to be in attendance and it would have wiped out my finances. Lucky for me, I'm a last minute kinda guy. My replacement is a JAG attorney. Thomas M. Roughneen." This is "Resistance to an Abhorrent Occupation: Press Release of Matthis Chiroux" (World Can't Wait):(ST. LOUIS, MO) The U.S. Army will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist who last summer publicly refused activation and deployment orders to Iraq, on April 21 at 1 Reserve Way in Overland, St. Louis, MO, at 9 a.m. Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, refused to participate in what he described as "an illegal and immoral occupation" May 15th, 2008, in Washington D.C., after nine other veterans testified to Members of the U.S. Congress about atrocities they experienced during deployments to Iraq. Chiroux also vowed to remain public in the U.S. to defend himself from any charges brought against him by the military. (see for a record of that speech and others by Chiroux) "My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year," said Chiroux, adding, "Soldiers have a duty to adhere to the international laws of war described as supreme in Art. 6 Para. 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which we swear to abide by before the orders of any superior, including our former or current president." Following Chiroux's refusal to deploy, the military did not contact him until after he and 10 other IVAW members marched on the final presidential debate Oct. 15, 2008, in Hempstead, N.Y. demanding to question then Senators Obama and McCain regarding their war policies and plans to care for returning veterans. After the veterans were brutalized and arrested by police, (one suffered a fractured skull and is currently suing the police for damages) the Army charged Chiroux with "misconduct" for refusing to deploy, announcing their intentions to discharge him from the reserves as a result. "I go now to St. Louis to honor my promises and convictions," said Chiroux. "Obama or No-Bama, the military must cease prosecuting Soldiers of conscience, and we will demonstrate to them why." Following the hearing, Chiroux and other IVAW members will testify about their military experiences which led them all to resist in different capacities the U.S.'s Overseas Contingency Operation (formerly the Global War on Terror). For more information, see and

Betty covered Mathis last night in "
April 21st, St Louis, Matthis needs your support." June 15, 2008, Matthis explained his reasoning which includes:

I believe that this nation and this military may come to know the same truth: That the rule of law has been forsaken and we must return to it or be doomed to continue disaster. I believe in the goodness of the American people and I believe that justice is not dead because we as a people believe that it is our responsibility to resist the injustices done by our government in our names. We know this truth to be self-evident that our nation can unite to oppose an illegal occupation which is killing and scarring and shattering the lives of our youth and the Iraqi people. On this Fathers Day, know, America, that your children need you. We need you to care for us and to care for our country which we will inherit when you are finished with her. We need you to end this occupation of Iraq which has destroyed a country and scattered its people to the wind like ashes in the tempest -- a tempest that has engulfed the nation of Iraq and scrubbed any sign of peace and prosperity from the surface of a civilization older than even history itself. Fathers, we need you to care for your children and the children of Iraq for they know not why you fight and carry no fault in the conflict. Fathers, your sons and daughters need you now to embrace peace for though we were attacked, we have dealt in retaliation that same suffering one-thousand times over to a people who never wronged us. The nation will know little healing until first we stem off the flow of blood and human life for justice and healing will never be done by a blade or a bullet or a bomb or a torture cell. By continuing to participate in the unjust occupation of Iraq, we, as service members, are contributing to that flow of human life and we cannot now -- nor could we ever -- call the Iraqi people an enemy in the fight against the use of terror. But terror is all we now know. We are terrified of the prospect that we have been lied to. We are terrified by the idea that we have killed for nothing. We are terrified to break the silence. We are terrified to do what we know is right. But never again will I allow terror to silence me. Nor will I allow it to govern my actions. I refuse terror as a tactic for uniting a people around an unjust cause. I refuse to allow terror to motivate me to do violence on my fellow man especially those who never wronged me in the first place. I refuse to be terrified to stand in defense of my Constitution. And I refuse to be terrified of doing so in great adversity. As a resister to the Iraq Occupation, I refuse to be terrified by what may come for I know those who stand against me are in terror of the truth. But I will speak my truth, and I will stand by it firmly and forever will my soul know peace. Thank you.

Matthis Chiroux's entire speech is in the
June 16, 2008 snapshot. Iraq Veterans Against the War notes:

On Tuesday April 21st an Army administrative discharge board will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist (IRR) who last summer publicly refused activation orders in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The board will convene at 9am at the Army Human Resources Command, 1 Reserve Way in Overland, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis. IVAW members and supporters will rally outside the hearing starting at 8:30am.
Although Chiroux is voluntary attending this hearing, all other IRR members who have refused activation have not had any disciplinary actions taken against them by the military other then receiving a General or Other Than Honorable discharge from the IRR. This discharge has no effect on benefits like the GI Bill that IRR members earned through their service while on active duty. Service members who have questions about the IRR can
click here or contact the GI Rights Hotline at 877-447-4487.

So that's this coming Tuesday. Wednesday the 15th, the latest 'progress' report on Iraq was released. The US State Dept report is entitled [PDF format warning] "
Iraq Status Report." Page 3 offers an overview of the report entitled "Highlights" which includes:

* Amnesty International Calls on PM Maliki to Protect Homosexuals in Iraq (POLITICAL, page 4).

* Iraqi Vice President to Meet with Executives from Total (ECONOMIC, page 10).

* Prime Minister Maliki Visits Moscow for High-Level Talks (DIPLOMATIC, page 20).

* High-Profile Attacks Fail to Re-Ignite Sectarian Violence (SECURITY, page 22).

We'll dive into security and move to page 23 where the following appears -- see if you can catch the distortion:

MNF-I COMMANDER Says U.S. on Track to Meet Withdrawal Deadlines:
* General Odierno said he believes the United States is on track to withdraw from major Iraqi cities by the end of June and all combat troops to depart Iraq by the end of 2011. Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," General Odierno said "We continue to work with the Government of Iraq so they can meet that timeline so that they are able to maintain stability after we leave. . . I still believe we're on track with that."

It continues but that quote had NOTHING to do with the June deadline. John King never combined the two -- the June deadline and end of 2011 one -- into one question asking
Gen Ray Odierno's thoughts. Here's the section they've pulled the quote from and the quoted section above will be in italics:

KING: Let me -- let me ask you -- let me move back to a more serious question, and the idea that, in the previous administration and in your service prior to this administration, you were very clear that you thought these decisions should not be based on political timelines; they should be based on conditions on the ground. I understand you're executing the orders of the commander in chief. I just want to get a sense of, are you concerned at all that the bad guys, the enemy, knows the timeline, too, and they are simply going into hiding, hoarding their resources, gathering their weapons and waiting for you to leave? ODIERNO: There is always that potential. But, again, let me remind everyone what change was in December when the United States and the government of Iraq signed an agreement, a bilateral agreement that put the timeline in place, that said we would withdraw all our forces by 31 December, 2011. In my mind, that was historic. It allowed Iraq to prove that it has its own sovereignty. It allows them, now, to move forward and take control, which was always -- it's always been our goal, is that they can control the stability in their country. So I think I feel comfortable with that timeline. I did back in December. I do now. We continue to work with the government of Iraq so they can meet that timeline, so that they are able to maintain stability once we leave. I still believe we're on track with that, as we talk about this today.

First note that the State Dept did not even get the words correct ("once we leave," not "after we leave" -- and, yes, in a government report, quotes should be correct). Second, notice that entire quote is to King's question about 2011.
Click here for full transcript and here for report and video option (all links are CNN). In that interview, Odierno was not stating that the June deadline was on track. He has, publicly, with other outlets, raised the possibility of remaining in Iraqi cities past June 30th and did in that interview. The paragraph as written is a deliberate distortion and including his qualifiers somewhat (as the report finally does) comes after the report has already established a contrary message and it distorts what Odierno said. That's unacceptable. It is not accurate to take comments Odierno makes about a 2011 deadline and pass them off as remarks regarding a June 30, 2009 deadline. It's also bad p.r. because the rumors already that Gen Ray Odierno is being "censored" and that he was balled out for some of his public statements two days before that CNN interview. The State Dept misrepresenting Odierno's words only appears to confirm those rumors since they indicate an urge to put words into the general's mouth. Moving on, page 7 is "Key Legislative Issues" and we'll note that in full.

* Hydrocarbons Package: The Framework Law was resubmitted to the Oil and Gas Committee on October 26 and then returned to the Council of Ministers. There has been no progress on the other three laws in the package.

* Budget: The Council of Representatives (COR) passed a budget on March 5. The Presidency Council approved the 2009 budget on April 2.

* COR Speaker: The COR has yet to reach a consensus on appointing a new Speaker since Mahmoud Mashadani was ousted on December 23, 2008. The COR concluded spring recess and resumed on April 14.

Credit to whomever wrote the report for at least getting it correct that
the Speaker was ousted. Very few press reports -- including the New York Times -- get that correct. We'll note the LGBT section in full:

Amnesty International issued a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki urging the Iraqi government to take "urgent and concerted action" against the recent rise in violence against the gay community in Iraq, including by condemning the killing of six men found dead in Sadr City in past weeks, and bringing the murderers to justice. Congressman Jared Polis also brought the issue to the attention of Iraqi officials during his delegation's recent visit to Iraq.

We noted the letter earlier this week. Amnesty International has not posted it online but they have posted this:

Amnesty International has written to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressing grave concern about a reported spate of killing of young men solely because of their sexual orientation and calling for urgent and concerted action by the government to bring those responsible to justice and to afford effective protection to the gay community in Iraq.
Over the last few weeks at least 25 boys and men are reported to have been killed in Baghdad because theyw ere, or were pereceived to be, gay. The killings are said to have been carried out by armed Shi'a militamen as well as by members of the tribes and families of the victims. Certain religious leaders, especially in al-Sadr City neighbourhood, are also reported in recent weeks to have urged their followers to take action to eradicate homosexuality in Iraqi society, in terms which appear effectively to constitute at least an implicit, if not explicit, incitement to violence against members of the gay community. Three corpses of gay men are reported to have been found in al-Sadr City on 2 and 3 April 2009; two of the bodies are said to have had pieces of paper bearing the word "pervert" attached to them, suggetsting that the victims had been murdered on account of their sexual identitiy.
In the letter sent to the Prime Minister Amnesty International expressed concern at the government's failure to publicly condemn the killings and ensure that they are promptly and effective investigated, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. The letter also drew attention to reported statements by one senior police officer that appear to condone or even encourage the targeting of members of the gay community in Baghdad, in gross breach of the law and international human rights standards.
Amnesty International reminded the Iraqi government that it is a fundamental principle of international human rights law, including international treaties that have been ratified by and are binding on Iraq, that "All human beings are equal in dignity and rights" and are entitled to all rights and freedom set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind, such as on grounds of race, sex, religion, political, or other status, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The organization called on Prime Minister al-Maliki [to] take immediate and concrete steps to address this sitatuion, including to publicly condemn, unreservedly and in the strongest terms, all attacks on members of the gay community or others on account of their sexual, gender, ethnic or other identity, and to commit to ensuring that those responsible for such abuses are identified and brought to justice. Further, police officers or other officials who encourage, condone or acquiesce in such attacks must also be held to account and either prosecuted or disciplined and removed from office.

This morning
AFP is reported that signs are going up around the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad threatening to kill a list of people alleged to be gay. The posters are put out by the Brigades of the Righteous and AFP translates the posters as stating, "We will punish you, perverts" and "We will get you, puppies" has been scrawled on some posters -- "puppies" being slang for gay males in Iraq. The Australian carries the AFP report here. Liz Sly and Caesar Ahmed (LAT's Babylon & Beyond) report the message on the posters included, "If you don't cease your perverted acts, you will get your fair punishment." The reporters also noted that a Sadr City resident saw a poster with approximately 15 names (of people who would be killed) written on it. These posters are going up around Sadr City. Where is the United Nations condemnation? Where is the White House, where is the US State Dept? Chris Johnson (Washington Blade) notes the only member of the US Congress to condemn the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community, US House Rep Jared Polis and reports:

Noel Clay, a State Department spokesperson, said U.S. officials "condemn the persecution of LGBTs in Iraq," but he couldn't confirm whether the violence they're facing in Iraq is because of their sexual orientation. Clay noted that while homosexuality is against the law in Iraq, the death penalty is not the punishment for homosexual acts.

And yet at the start of this month the State Dept's Iraqi Desk
John Fleming was telling Kilian Melloy (The Edge) that, "Homosexuality not a crime in Iraq." He was also stating that same-sex relations were of no conern to Iraqis ("immaterial"). That is laughable. Noel Clay has stated that same-sex relations have been criminalized in Iraq so unless or until the State Dept issues a public clarification, we will operate under the belief that Clay is correct. Attempts by the press to figure this out has been stonewalled.

Stonewalling? That brings us to yesterday's attack in Anbar Province on the Tamouz Air Base. How many died? No one can find out.
Liz Sly and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) explain, "It is common in Iraq to receive contradictory information about casualties in the initial hours after an attack, though such a major discrepancy is unusual. A spokesman for U.S. Marines in Anbar declined to comment." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) quotes Iraqi Maj Yassen al-Dulaimi stating, "We are shocked by the fact that a suicide bomber was able to infiltrate the guarded camp and passed through the gate to carry out this terrible attack." "Confusion often clouds accounts of attacks here, but rarely have senior officials offered such divergent reports about a death toll," observes Steven Lee Myers in this morning's New York Times. But the key note by Myers is this one: "Journalists were prohibited from entering the base and the hospital, which Iraqi and American officers visited after the wounded arrived." That's what this is, an attack on a free press. A bombing took place. A death toll is known and should not be in dispute. The puppet government (and possibly the US as well) is worried about 'embarrassment' and that apparently trumps facts and the right-to-know. This is appalling and would be similar to the US hiding an attack (example, 9-11) and barring the press from the area and from hospitals. It is an attack on the press and it is an attack on the historical record. Staying with attacks on the press, Wednesday Marc Lynch (Foreign Policy) weighed in on the efforts of the Iraqi military to close the newspaper Al-Hayat: "That's not a good sign. Reminds me of the bad old days of 2004-2005 when the Iraqi government and MNF-I were routinely attacking the Arab media for fueling the insurgency and the offices of al-Jazeera and other satellite television stations were shuttered. You would think that they would have learned form the experience of banning al-Jazeera, which didn't prevent it from covering Iraq politics but did reduce the access that officials had to its airtime."

Iraq got some airtime on the second hour of
The Diane Rehm Show today when guest host Susan Page (USA Today) spoke with Barbara Slavin (Washington Times), Warren Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) and Kevin Whitelaw (US News & World Reports).

Susan Page: Barbara, we saw some bombings -- some uptake in violence there.

Barbara Slavin: Yeah, there've been a number of bombings there in Baghdad, in Kirkuk, in Mosul. There was a suicide bomber who went into an Iraqi army installation which was supposed to be secure in western Iraq so this is worrisome. The US is beginning to draw down, it's moving its soldiers out of the cities and the question is: Can Iraqis cope? We had a guest yesterday, we had an advisor to the president of the Kurdish Region of Iraq who said he was, frankly, very, very worried that if Iraqis could not make some important decisions in terms of political reconciliation -- I mean they still don't have an oil law, they still haven't figured out what to do about the status of Kirkuk which is a city claimed by many, you know there are still problems between Sunni and Shia -- that if they couldn't have these political reconciliations within the next years, this Kurdish leader said he didn't want the Americans to withdraw. Now I don't think there's much of a stomach frankly to stay but it is worrisome in terms of the continued violence in their country.

Susan Page: Could it complicate the timetable that President Obama laid out for pulling out US troops?

Warren Strobel: I think it absolutely could. You know I think there's a minset, Susan, in this country that, certainly, the American people and officialdom that "Iraq is over, it's getting better, we're getting out, problem done, let's move on to Afghanistan, Pakistan." But that's not necessarily so. And I think what you're seeing in Kirkuk and elsewhere is various ethnic groups, they're positioning themselves for post-US Iraq. And that's uh -- it could complicate Obama's withdrawal timeline.

Slavin was referring to tensions between the Kurds and the central government.
Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that "some Iraqi and U.S. officials believe [tension over Kirkuk] could escalate into armed conflict" and that this has "prompted the U.S. military in January to increase its troop level in Kirkuk from a battalion, roughly 900 troops, to a combat brigade of about 3,200 soldiers."

Today the
US military announced: "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq - A Multi National Force -West Marine died as the result of a non-combat related incident here April 16. The Marine's name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." This brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4274. In other violence,
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) notes a Baghdad mortar attack which left 4 dead and either more injured.

Meanwhile in the US,
Jo Freeman examines the state of the peace movement at Senior Women Web and notes the March 21st march on the Pentagon staged by A.N.S.W.E.R. and others turned out "[b]etween one and two thousand people" (it was at least 10,000) while UPFJ saw "a few hundred" on April 4th (that tally is correct). Freeman's biggest contribution is in explaining that the Friday April 3rd action (which had a few thousand) was by the Bail Out the People Movement. Freeman also provides the background on several organization but is sketchy on UPFJ. Jo is incorrect that the Iraq War is ending and, for the record, during Nixon's time she was far less likely to present an assertion as a fact. But in good news for the peace movement, some realities about Barack are beginning to stick. The issue of torture was covered last night by Mike ("Barack's latest disgrace"), Marcia ("Ray McGovern"), Ruth ("Ray McGovern"), Kat ("It's called 'justice,' Barack") and Cedric ("Barack needs a Constitutional tutor") and Wally ("THIS JUST IN! HE DOESN'T KNOW JUSTICE!"). Amnesty International notes:

US President Barack Obama has been accused of "condoning torture" following his announcement that CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects will not be prosecuted. Amnesty International has called on the US administration to initiate criminal investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for carrying out acts of torture, including waterboarding, in its "war on terror". "President Obama's statements in the last days have been very disappointing. In saying that no one will be held to account for committing acts of torture, the US administration is in effect condoning torture," said Daniel Gorevan, of Amnesty International's Counter Terror with Justice campaign. "It's saying that US personnel can commit acts of torture and the authorities will not take any action against them. Memos were released this week detailing the range of techniques the CIA was allowed to use during the Bush administration, including sleep deprivation and simulated drowning (otherwise known as waterboarding). "The memos, in effect, justified torture techniques," said Daniel Gorevan. "We want to see prompt movement on behalf of the US administration on this to prosecute those responsible for the acts of torture, as well as those who authorised and justified these acts."

National Lawyers Guild member and GI Rights attorney James Branum observes, "President Obama and AG Holder are in my opinion now complicit in these crimes. Their argument that the CIA agents were relying on legal advice is a crock of ****. I'm sure Nazi lawyers said the holocaust was 'legal' too." Chris Floyd (Empire Burlesque) explains, "Barack Obama is being given great credit for releasing the memos, although as the president himself points out in his statement, their release was actually required by law. I suppose it's true that the United States government has become so degraded that we must be surprised and glad when a president actually obeys the law when it suits him, but I must say that I can't find any great cause for rejoicing -- especially as Obama's statement immediately and definitely ruled out prosecuting any of the direct perpetrators of these criminal actions." At Just Left, Michael Ratner (Center for Constituational Rights president) explains, "In making the decision not to prosecute, President Obama is acting as jury, judge and prosecutor. It is not his decision to make. Whether or not to prosecute law breakers is not a political decision. Laws were broken and crimes were committed. If we are truly a nation of laws as he is fond of saying, a prosecutor needs to be appointed and the decisions regarding the guilt of those involved in the torture program should be decided in a court of law." With Dalia Hashad, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith, Michael Ratner also co-hosts WBAI's Law and Disorder. The American Civil Liberties Union encourages people to "demand accountability for torture" and makes it simple to send a message to the US Attorney General's office with a form at the previous link. World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet states it clearly, "And, given that Obama is releasing these memos AT THE SAME TIME as he is officially announcing he won't prosecute those who carried all of this out means --in my view - - that nobody familiar with the release of these memos can any longer claim honest confusion about whether or not Obama represents 'change'." World Can't Wait is staging a forum on torture tomorrow in Orange, California (near Santa Ana and Anaheim):

Bush's Department of Justice legalized torture. Now Obama's Department of Justice won't prosecute and will even provide free legal representation to torturers. Your government refuses to bring war criminals and torturers to account. Will you remain silent or get informed, take a stand and build a movement to stop torture and demand accountability for war crimes?
WHAT: Forum on National Security, Rule of Law & Torture: The Torture Memos of John Yoo
WHEN: Saturday, April 18th, 2009 10 AM - 2 PM
WHERE: Chapman University Law School, Kennedy Hall, Rms. 237 A&B, 370 N. Glassell (at Sycamore), Orange, CA 92866
WHY: John Yoo, while working for the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel, drafted legal memos which, some say, influenced the U.S.'s decision to legalize torture. John Yoo is currently a visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law, where the controversy continues.

"John Yoo's complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the US War Crimes Act". Cited from testimony provided to U.S. Congress on May 6, 2008 by Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild President.
WHO: Concerned residents and students from the Chapman community and surrounding area came together and formed Stop Torture Coalition to voice opposition to legalization of torture, inform people about torture, and call on people to stand against this assault on human rights and civil liberties. This forum is hosted by the National Lawyers Guild, Chapman Student Chapter.CONTENT: A public forum with Question and Answer session to examine• Whether Yoo is complicit in the commission of war crimes.• Whether torture is necessary for national security.• What is the impact on our basic human and civil rights.
M. Katherine B. Darmer, Professor of Law, Chapman University Law School
Larry Everest, author of "Oil, Power & Empire", writer for Revolution newspaper
Ann Fagan Ginger, President of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute
Tim Goodrich, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ameena Qazi, staff attorney for Council on American-Islamic Relations
Moderated by Michael Slate, host of KPFK's Tuesday edition of Beneath the Surface
ENDORSED BY: Answer-LA, California Teachers for Academic Excellence; Code Pink- OC; David Swanson /; Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute; Military Families Speak Out- OC; National Lawyers Guild Chapman Students Chapter; National Lawyers Guild –LA; Orange County Peace Coalition; Patrick Henry Democratic Club; Peace and Freedom – OC; Progressive Democrats of America; Scientists Without Borders; Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Anaheim; US Federation of Scholars and Scientists; Westside Progressives; Women For: Orange County; and World Can't Wait.

TV notes.
NOW on PBS begins airing Fridays on most PBS stations (check local listings) and this week:Americans are addicted to coal--it powers half of all our electricity, and is both plentiful and cheap. In fact, some call America the "Saudi Arabia of Coal." But are we paying too high an environmental price for all this cheap energy?With carbon emissions caps high on the Obama Administration's agenda, coal is in the crosshairs of the energy debate. This week, NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels to Wyoming to take a hard look at the coal industry there and its case that it can produce "clean coal"--coal that can be burned without releasing carbon into the atmosphere. President Obama has been outspoken in his support for "clean coal" technology, but some say the whole concept is more of a public relations campaign than an energy solution.As part of the report, Hinojosa talks with Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and Jeff Goodell, the author of "Big Coal," who says that carbon dioxide emissions generated from coal contribute to global warming.Our investigation is part of a PBS-wide series on the country's infrastructure called "Blueprint America."Washington Week also begins airing tonight on most PBS stations and sitting down with Gwen this week are Tom Gjelten (NPR), Spencer Hsu (Washington Post), Eamon Javers (publication which shall not be named) and Martha Raddatz (ABC News). Also on PBS (and begins airing tonight, check local listings) Bonnie Erbe sits down with Eleanor Holmes Norton, Genevieve Wood, Linda Chavez and Melinda Henneberger to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:401K RecessionNever created to be a mainstay of workers' retirement funds, 401ks became just that to millions of Americans who are now facing uncertain futures because of the devastating losses in the stock market. Steve Kroft reports.
Cold Fusion Is Hot AgainPresented in 1989 as a revolutionary new source of energy, cold fusion was quickly dismissed as junk science. But today, the buzz among scientists is that these experiments produce a real physical effect that could lead to monumental breakthroughs in energy production. Scott Pelley reports. Watch Video
Blood BrothersMatador Cayetano Ordonez nearly dies during this segment when he's battered by a bull in a Bob Simon report about him and his brother Francisco – Spain's remarkable bullfighting family – who these days are creating just as much drama outside the ring as in it. Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, April 19, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

iraq veterans against the war
matthis chiroux
the los angeles timesliz slyusama redhathe new york timessteven lee myers
chris johnsonthe washington bladekilian melloydoug irelandernesto londonothe washington post
nprthe diane rehm show
jo freeman
60 minutescbs newsnow on pbspbsto the contrarybonnie erbe
law and disordermichael ratnermichael smithdalia hashadheidi boghosian
debra sweet
cnnjohn king
mcclatchy newspapershussein kadhim

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's called 'justice,' Barack

I did not expect that Obama upon becoming president would actually usher in the state of change that he so famously promised.
His actions as a Senator and Nancy Pelosi’s endorsement of him, the same woman who shielded – and continues to shield - the Bush White House from any prosecutions for its manifest and multitudinous crimes, as well as the powerful backing given him by major political and economic players, demonstrated that Obama would not and did not represent any major departure from the Bush years.
If you examined closely his arguments and speeches – as I did in a number of articles, such as this
one – what stood out was Obama’s strategic agreement and tactical disagreement with the Bush Doctrine.

That is from Dennis Loo's "The Unexpected" (World Can't Wait) and if you missed the news, "CIA Off The Hook For Past Waterboarding." No, Barack's not planning to hold anyone accountable for the torture that took place in the previous administration -- the torture that will, no doubt, continue under his reign. This is from Warren Richey's "Terror memos authorized harsh interrogation techniques" (Christian Science Monitor):

The Obama administration will not prosecute US intelligence officials involved in harsh interrogations of terror suspects, the president pledged on Thursday.
The assurance came as the Justice Department released four secret memos used during the Bush presidency offering legal justification for interrogation techniques that human rights experts classify as torture, such as waterboarding.
The action comes after weeks of heated debate within the administration over whether to release the memos. Some officials were concerned that public disclosure might help Al Qaeda and build momentum for investigation of alleged acts of torture by US intelligence officials.

Little Barry wants the world to know that this is not the time for "retribution." Really? Retribution? Holding people accountable for breaking the law is "retribution"? Well then let's open the doors to all the prisons in the country and release everyone.

Those people were judged to have broken the law and no one saw them being prosecuted and sentenced as "retribution," they saw it as "justice."

What Barack's refusing to do is give Americans justice.

Justice isn't important to Barry Obama. Justice doesn't matter.

And he will LIE and he will DISTORT and he will do anything possible to make sure that he covers for his fellow criminal George W. Bush.

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

Thursday, April 16, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq tries to firm up a deal with Total oil, the LGBT community remains targeted, New York Times runs state propaganda passed off as 'reporting,' Deborah Haynes exposes state propaganda (demonstrating what actual reporting is), and much more.

Today a bombing attack on a US and Iraqi military base in Al Anbar Province took place and the results are in disputes.
BBC maintains that there were no deaths but twenty-six people were wounded. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explains Iraqi Maj Gen Mrdhi Mishhen Al Mahalawi and others are insisting that no one died. Aseel Kami (Reuters) states 16 are dead with at least fifty injured, that a suicide bomber in Iraqi military garb took his own life and the lives of others by detonating "at the base's cafeteria". At the New York Times website, Steven Lee Myers reports the confusion, offers reports of "at least 15 Iraqi soldiers" dead and identifies the location as Tamouz Air Base while noting that all journalists have been banned from the base and from the hospital where the wounded and/or dead were taken. As stated several times already this month, Nouri al-Maliki has no respect for the press, has no interest in a free press and the idea that 'democracy' will ever come to Iraq while US puppet Nouri sits in the catbird seat is laughable. AP spoke to two Iraqi officers and allowed them to remain nameless, one confirmed deaths but would not give a number, the other told AP 16 Iraqi soldiers had died. Iran's Press TV also states 16 killed and says fifty were wounded.

While the puppet government attempts to control the reporting on today's bombing,
Kim Sengupta (Indpendent of London) reports on a new study by Iraqi Body Count which finds that "[a]ir strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead." The report, entitled "The Weapons That Kill Civilians -- Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq, 2003-2008," is co-authored by Iraqi Body Count and King's College London and Royal Holloway, University of London in the UK and it is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. IBC notes:

For Iraqi females, and children, events involving air attacks and mortar fire were the most dangerous. In air attacks causing civilian deaths, 46% of victims of known gender were female, and 39% of victims of known age were children. Mortar attacks claimed similarly high proportions of victims in these two demographic groups (44% and 42%). By comparison, 11% of victims across all weapons types were Iraqi females, and 9% were children. The authors argue that their findings showing that air attacks (whether involving bombs or missiles) and mortars killed relatively high proportions of females and children is further evidence that these weapons should not be directed at civilian areas by parties to conflict because of their indiscriminate nature. As co-author Professor John Sloboda of Royal Holloway, University of London, who is also a co-founder of IBC, notes, "Our weapon-specific findings have implications for a wide range of conflicts, because the patterns found in this study are likely to be replicated for these weapons whenever they are used."

Alsumaria notes the report finds that for all Iraqis, "abudctions of people who are later executed" results in the bulk of deaths. "Relatives of the dead, most of them women and some quietly wiping away tears, sit in a room trying to spot the missing among the photos of men and boys, many mutilated or severely decayed, cycled on a bank of screens," reports Mohammed Abbas (Reuters) on the unclaimed and unidentied corpses that continue, year after year, at Baghdad's central morgue.

Martin Chulov (Guardian of Manchester) plays 'ignore the violence there, look over here!' Chulov is all giddy about a reconstructed shrine in Samarra which will allegedly soon re-open. It's more garbage from a piece of trash outlet and if you're wondering where little Chulov got his 'idea,' Dallas Morning News religious reporter Bruce Tomaso noted Monday an article in the Smithosian (by Joshua Hammer with photos by Max Becherer) which explores the rebuilding of the shrine. Chulov buries the lede which is that Sunnis and Shi'ites were working on the rebuilding together -- the only point of interest to the story that took beyond the Smithsonian for most people. Chulov 'forgets' to mention the brief by Tomaso or the article in the Smithsonian and wants you to believe he's reporting on something he witnessed (he's reporting from Baghdad, he didn't go to Samarra) -- that actually is funny. But the Guardian's nothing but a laugh these days anyway as it attempts to battle Google and whine about profits -- for those not in the know, the Guardian is set up in the non-profit mode. In reality, it's nothing but a party organ (and therefore apologist) for the neo-liberal New Labour Party. Any article not pushing/pimping/excusing neo-liberal policies exists in the hope that it will attract readers it might otherwise miss and hopefully bring them over to neo-liberalism during their stop-over. Joshua Hammer opens his article with:

I'm standing on a street corner in the center of Samarra--a strife-scarred Sunni city of 120,000 people on the Tigris River in Iraq--surrounded by a squad of American troops. The crackle of two-way radios and boots crunching shards of glass are the only sounds in this deserted neighborhood, once the center of public life, now a rubble-filled wasteland. I pass the ruins of police headquarters, blown up by an Al Qaeda in Iraq suicide truck bomber in May 2007, and enter a corridor lined by eight-foot-high slabs of concrete--"Texas barriers" or "T-walls," in U.S. military parlance. A heavily guarded checkpoint controls access to the most sensitive edifice in the country: the Askariya Shrine, or Mosque of the Golden Dome, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam.
Here, in February 2006, Al Qaeda militants blew up the delicate gold-tile dome atop the thousand-year-old Shiite shrine, igniting a spasm of sectarian killing that brought the country to the edge of civil war. For the past year and a half, a committee led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been working with United Nations consultants to clear debris from the site and to begin rebuilding the Golden Dome--a $16 million project that aims to restore the shrine sufficiently to receive Shiite pilgrims by this summer.
I've been trying for three days to get close to the shrine, stymied by an order from al-Maliki's office barring journalists from the site--an indication of how sensitive the bombing remains in this country. U.S. military officers in Samarra have pulled strings on my behalf with the mayor, Iraqi police officials and the Ministry of Planning in Baghdad. This time, after I reach the checkpoint, a friendly commander of the Askariya Brigade, a predominantly Shiite police force dispatched from Baghdad last year to guard the site, makes a call to his superiors in the Iraqi capital, then escorts me through.

Joshua Hammer wrote a very good article, we don't, however, buy into the belief that it was the moment that changed everything. The bombing provided photos and the press ran with those. The bombing was only one of a long series of incidents that cemented the sectarian conflict.

On the political front, Iraq remains in disarray. Yesterday Corinne Reilly and Ali Abbas offer "
Kurdish-Arab tensions continue to grow in northern Iraq" (McClatchy Newspapers) and Liz Sly and Caesar Ahmed's "Establishment of Iraq provincial councils drags" (Los Angeles Times) documented many of the problems and today Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports:

Two and a half months after the elections, the 14 provinces that voted have only now begun forming provincial councils, the equivalent of state legislatures in the United States. Five provinces, including Babil, Najaf and Basra, still have no functioning governments, despite a deadline that passed last week, as party leaders squabble over the selection of governors, council chairmen and their deputies. Elections that were supposed to strengthen Iraq's democracy, unite its ethnic and sectarian factions, and begin to improve sorely needed basic services -- water, electricity, roads -- have instead exposed the fault lines that still threaten the country's stability.

In an update,
Alsumaria reports a president and a vice president for Najaf's provincial council has been elected today. Myers refers to the economic 'problems' of Iraq -- other countries have economic problems, the puppet government in Baghdad is rolling in the cash. Provincial governments should not be effected by the decrease in price per barrel of oil unless there has been major theft within a province. The reason for that is none of them spent all their previous yearly budgets. They stockpiled that money. So were their budgets slashed, they'd still have the excess from previous years which they didn't spend. If they don't have that money, it's because someone or somones stole it. We'll return to the issue of the money 'troubles' shortly.

This morning the Daily Coverup (aka New York Times), found
Alissa J. Rubin joining with Rod Nordland for more please-love-us-and-don't-kick-us-out-of-the-country efforts. This follows yesterday's garbage (Rubin's "Iraq Tries to Prove Autonomy, and Makes Inroads") made it into print for anyone who didn't grasp what was what yesterday. Today's article never goes deeper than the headline ("U.S. Military Expresses Concern About Perception of an Iraqi Crackdown on Sunnis"). It's not an article, it's a damn press release and your first clue is the fact that the headline expresses a point of view which Rubin and Nordland carry through in their article. Reporters do not do that. If one person has a point of view and they present that point of view in their article, they also present other points of view. So X is saying there is no problem. A reporter then goes to Z, goes to Y, etc. to find out whether or not the claim is true. Various points of view are presented -- especially when a claim cannot be independently verified.Rubin and Nordland don't do that. They're not interested in evaluating the claim, they're only interested in making sure they were good little stenographers who dotted every "i" and crossed every "t" in what the US military told them to write down. It's shameful and it's embarrassing. The New York Times is never supposed to be part of the US military's counter-insurgency operations but that's what they do this morning and it's shameful and it needs to be called out. There is no excuse for it at all.For the record, the press didn't create the tensions between Sahwa and Nouri. Those tensions were always present and you can go back to 2007 reports and find that. In terms of the Baghdad armed conflict which took place last month, BBC and Reuters were the only ones filing early reports (when the conflict had just started) and those were innocuous reports nothing like what would come out by the end of the day about US forces joining with Iraqi forces to battle Sahwa in the Fadhil section of Baghdad. The press didn't create that armed struggle, didn't encourage it and, honestly, was caught by surprise when those tensions flared up so dramatically. Yesterday Rubin served up propaganda that rivaled the garbage Eason Jordan attoned for in a Times' column (he admitted CNN regularly covered up stories of abuse in Iraq to curry favor with Saddam Hussein). Today, Rubin and Nordland enlist in the US military in order to pull a fast one on the public in the US and in Iraq. Today they set journalism aside because they've been told they need to serve a 'higher purpose.' Any journalist who has so little pride in their field that they'd do this sort of stenography needs to take a good hard look at themselves and whether they belong in journalism.What Rubin and Nordland have written is an embarrassment and it's an embarrassment for their paper which indicates just how awful their article is. Check "Rudith Miller" for how the paper works. It always cowtows to what the US government wants. But even Judith, even Judith Miller, knew you just bury the contrary opinions when presenting government assertions as fact. Rubin and Nordland present US government assertions as fact but they're worse than Judith Miller. Take a moment to grasp that. While Miller would wait until paragraph 13 to briefly note a voice that called into question a government claim, Rubin and Nordland just eliminate those voices, they refuse to cover them, they refuse to include them. The US military is doing cartwheels this morning because they dictated an article to the Times and the Times ran it without any efforts to verify it and without any efforts to include any other opinions. This is propaganda pure and simple and, no, that is not how an allegedly free press works. And for those who wish to play as dumb as Rubin and Nordland, among the people real reporters could have interviewed to round out and evaluate a claim were: Iraqi police officers, Sahwa, academics who follow the situation (especially academics in Baghdad and Dubai) and NGOs. By refusing to do so, by printing 18 paragraphs that's nothing but an attempt at perception management on the part of the US military, the reporters disgrace themselves and their profession.
And we return to the money issue by noting one of the most laughable US military assertions that made it into print this morning, that Sahwa's not being paid due to money shortages. Nouri's got money problems because of falling oil prices, the US military insists and Rubin and Nordland spit back at American readers without question. From
yesterday's snapshot, "AFP reports reality, 'Iraq has signed a contract with British engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler to build the country's largest-ever oil refinery, an Iraqi official said on Wednesday'." The cost of the plant? $128,000,000. That deal was announced yesterday. And Rubin and Nordland want to repeat (without question) US military tales of Nouri having to count and watch his pennies. Remember Nouri always says "only boys who save their pennies make my rainy day." Alsumaria reports Iraq's Shi'ite vice president Adel Abdul Mehdi met with French president Nicolas Sarkozy today and delcared that oil conglomerate Total was very likely to win a contract in Iraq -- that would mean, pay attention, more money forked over to Iraq. Meanwhile Simon Webb and Amena Bakr (Reuters) interview Iraqi MP Jabir Khalifa who states that the Parliament is seeking to revoke the contract Royal Dutch Shell made with the country's Oil Ministry because it is "unconstitutional and detrimental to Iraq's economic interests".

While Rubin and Nordland serve up propaganda, independent journalist
Dahr Jamail offers some reality at ZNet:

While the US military maintains 138,000 soldiers in Iraq, and there are over 200,000 private contractors enabling the occupation, and the president intends on keeping at least 50,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely, Obama managed to keep a straight face whilst pressuring the Iraqi government to "take responsibility for their country" and adding that the United States has "no claim on Iraqi territory and resources." All of this nice talk from President Obama, which he articulated just hours after a spate of bombings across Baghdad killed 15 Iraqis and wounded 27, was complimented by his and Bush's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who claimed that al-Qaeda in Iraq appeared to be making a "last gasp" attempt to foment sectarian violence in Baghdad. Those who have been following the news about the US occupation of Iraq closely over the last six years know all too well how many "last gasps" and "turning the corners" there have been - of which there are too many to count. This one is no different, and the fallacy of the statement was punctuated on April 10 in Mosul, when a suicide car bomb attack killed five US soldiers, along with two Iraqi troops. Taking another page out of the Bush playbook for the occupation of Iraq, while speaking at Baghdad's airport, Obama also said the next 18 months are "going to be a critical period." Again, there have been more "critical periods" in Iraq throughout the occupation than I care to remember. Two days after Obama's visit to Baghdad's airport, Gen. Ray Odierno told The Times that US combat troops may remain in Iraq's cities beyond the June 30 deadline mandated by the Status of Forces Agreement. Of course, throughout all of this rhetoric, the glaring omission is any discussion about the massive "enduring" US military bases in Iraq and the US "embassy" that is the size of the Vatican City. Meanwhile, the bloodletting and destruction of Iraq continues.

Surprisingly, Dahr Jamail isn't the only one taking on propaganda.
Peter Baker (New York Times) observes, "For all the perception of a major course correction, Mr. Obama so far appears to be presiding over a foreign policy that may seem more different than it really is. As Mr. Obama heads to Mexico on Thursday for his second foreign trip of the month, he is bringing with him many of the same American interests as his predecessor, even if they are wrapped in a different package." On Iraq, Baker explains, "Mr. Obama's decision to withdraw from Iraq is not as sharp a change as it once seemed during the presidential campaign. Mr. Obama deferred to military commanders in agreeing to leave the vast bulk of American forces in place until next year, when a phased pullout would begin, leaving 50,000 troops in place after August 2010." The third term of George W. Bush is more than underway as is obvious by this headline at CBS News "CIA Off The Hook For Past Waterboarding"-- no punishment for those crimes against humanity. Barack prefers to instead just walk on by, don't stop, just walk on by. How very Bully Boy Bush of him. The policies of the previous administration also continue when it comes to the silence on the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community as Doug Ireland reports at GayCityNews noting State Dept staffer Felming (who spent a year in Iraq under Bully Boy Bush) dismissing concerns for LGBT Iraqis recently. Ireland reports:

Hili told this reporter, "There is an intensive media campaign against homosexuals in Iraq at this time which we believe is inspired by the Ministry of the Interior, both in the daily newspapers and on nearly all the television stations. Their reports brand all gays as 'perverts' and try to portray us as terrorists who are undermining the moral fiber of Iraqi youth." Hili said the current homo-hating media campaign appears to have been sparked as an unfortunate reaction to an April 4 Reuters dispatch that reported: "Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, a local official said, and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality... The police source said the bodies of four gay men were unearthed in Sadr City on March 25, each bearing a sign reading 'pervert' in Arabic on their chests."
Amnesty International has called out the targeting -- publicly called out the targeting which puts them way ahead of the United Nations, the US White House and the US State Department. We'll note this section of Ireland's report:

Dalia Hashad of Amnesty International told Gay City News, "Amnesty has been unable to get from the Iraqi government any confirmation that the men are in custody or that they are facing execution, but from what we have heard from individuals in Iraq, they were sentenced to die for belonging to a 'banned group.' We are protesting to the Iraqi government and are continuing to try to investigate, but it is very difficult to get any information about such prisoners in Iraq."

Dalia Hashad is an attorney and, along with Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith, she co-hosts
WBAI's Law and Disorder. Rex Wockner (PrideSource) adds that there is a lack of clarity over whether or not Iraq re-instated (in 2003) a law making same-sex relations illegal. He quotes Iraqi LGBT's Ali Hili explaining, "That's what they have been told by a judge in a brief court hearing. I don't think this is in the Iraqi constitution as a death penalty (crime). The court is ... kangaroo-style. It was brief and people weren't able to present legal representation or defend themselves in that kind of court. Our information is that these five members have been convicted to death for running activities of a forbidden organization on Iraqi soil."
In the most shocking refusal to report propaganda,
Deborah Haynes (Times of London) takes a train ride in Baghdad and quickly grasps that it is proganada and -- pay attention Alissa J. Rubin and Rod Nordland -- reports examples of that. An alleged commuter train, supposedly to transport workers, "leaves at 8am -- rather late in the morning for Baghdad's only commuter service" and that's far from the only puzzling moment. She asks a 'commuter' where he is going and he gets the destination wrong. And then there is this:

The picture-perfect scene looks too good to be true. There is also the mystery of why commuters are so eagerly commuting in reverse, from the centre of the city to the outskirts. Further fuelling our suspicion, a local television crew is conveniently on hand to film the hustle and bustle. A press officer at the station tells us upon arrival that the train has been laid on especially for the media. He then changes his story, after seeing our crestfallen expressions, to explain it is a later service that sometimes follows the earlier train at 6.30am.
This is really an
amazing report and praise for Deborah Haynes for reporting it.
Alsumaria reports, "Iraq Army units supported by US air forces launched a wide scale operation in southern Kirkuk after a suicide bombing killed 10 policemen and wounded around 20 others. Second Brigade Commander Abdul Amir Al Zaidi affirmed that two senior officials of Ansar Al Sunna were killed and two others were wounded in the operation after Iraq Army received intelligence about their involvement in yesterday's bombing." They report it and only they report it, why is that? A major operation, an assault, and where is the press coverage from US outlets?

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul grenade attack which left three injured, a Mosul car bombing which injured three prison guards and a Baquba sticky bombing which claimed the life of 1 Sahwa leader.


Laith Hammoudi and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul and another injured. KUNA reports a border clash between the Turkish military and the PKK resulted in 1 Turkish soldier being killed.

Yesteday's snapshot noted the conviction of US Master Sgt John E. Hatley in Germany. In today's New York Times, Paul von Zielbauer quotes James D. Culp ("former Army trial defense lawyer"), "When the first sergeant of a company snaps, taking a sergeant first class and a senior medic with him, it's a sign that they've just had too much." AP reminds, "Military cases go through an automatic appeal process, and his sentence also could be reduced in a clemency proceeding."

iraqthe new york timessteven lee myers
alissa j. rubinrod nordlandmcclatchy newspaperscorinne reillyali abbasthe los angeles timescaesar ahmedliz sly
aseel kamipaul von zielbauer
kim sengupta
laith hammoudimcclatchy newspapers
leila fadel
hussein kadhim
peter baker
mohammed abbas
dahr jamail
doug ireland
law and disordermichael ratnermichael smithdalia hashadheidi boghosian
deborah haynes

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peace, internet access, etc.

A grievous, shameful and dangerous state of affairs permeates the movements of opposition in the U.S. Their outlook and politics have collapsed into passive acquiescence and even overt criminal complicity with the policies and actions of the ruling class, and are doing so by promoting the deadly illusion that the election of Barack Obama is bringing progressive change.
This is bullshit, it’s knowable, and it must change.
Some basic reality of Obama’s first 80 days:
Obama has escalated the illegal war in Afghanistan with an additional 21,000 troops.
Obama has expanded the war into Pakistan areas, using troops and unmanned drones.
Obama has extended the deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq to 2010—and even that date may be extended by the Pentagon.
Obama said he plans to leave 35,000-50,000 troops plus 50,000-100,000 mercenaries in Iraq after that, effectively continuing the illegal occupation.
Obama said he would close Guantanamo within 1 year, yet prisoners there are still being force fed with tubes shoved down their throats.
Obama approved $60 million to double the size of Bagram prison in Afghanistan.
Obama’s Justice Department has defended the Bush policy of illegal warrantless wiretapping and asserted far broader claims of executive branch immunity than even the Bush regime.
This is not all, and it is not without lived impact. There are over a million dead in Iraq, 4 million refugees, civilians being slaughtered daily in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet, from within the United States mass protest, mass resistance, mass statements of condemnation are at an appallingly low level.
An anti-war movement has not only been demobilized, but delivered into the war criminal enterprise of working to make Obama live up to his promise—a promise that Obama has always been clear about, that is nothing less than rescuing the U.S. from its multi-faceted crises.
In an act which concentrates the treachery of this collapse, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the largest anti-war coalition, at their national meeting in December 2008, voted to oppose organizing demonstrations on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War on March 19 and 21, 2009.
In opposition to mounting a determined struggle to end the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and instead of calling people into the streets to stand with the people of the world, they decided “to mobilize a new base of people who have been inspired by Obama” in a four month campaign in commemoration of Martin Luther King titled, “Beyond War, A New Economy Is Possible: Yes We Can!”
The practical results: first, the protests that were actually held by others to coincide with the Iraq War’s Anniversary on March 19 and 21 were not as large as they needed to be—which mattered. Then, on Saturday April 4, UFPJ led a dull routine walk through the deserted financial district of NYC with a couple of thousand people revealing their capacity for sapping the life and spirit out of a movement—egregious, but not the heart of the matter.

That's from World Can't Wait's "The Collapse of “The Movement”; the Resistance and the Revolutionary Movement We Need." You have to wonder at what point the country intends to wake up? I don't see it waking up anytime soon but maybe I'm too pessimistic. It amazes me that after 8 years of 1 Bully Boy we don't all grasp the need to speak out and to speak out strongly. In terms of UFPJ, they didn't have "a couple of thousand" on Saturday. They had it on the third. That's what the press was reporting on, the April 3rd NYC event. By the time Saturday rolled over, they didn't even have a thousand.

And it should never be forgotten that UPFJ actively worked to undermine A.N.S.W.E.R., IVAW and the others marching on the Pentagon. They didn't just refuse to promote it (although they refused), they called for local actions weeks prior to the march on the same day in an effort to dilute the turnout and they also bad mouthed it to the press.

They did everything they could to rip apart the march. UPFJ is not about peace. It's about covering for Barack. And people are realizing that and leving UPFJ in droves. Thank goodness.

This is from "Wired Less: Disconnected in Urban America" (Black Agenda Report): is working to shed light on the millions of Americans who live without regular Internet access or lack the training or equipment to get online. A small reporting team is traveling to communities across the country to tell people's stories. Free Press' Megan Tady interviewed residents of Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C. On this site, you can follow our trek and get an up-close view of America’s urban digital divide
Wired Less: Disconnected in Urban America
A report on life without the Internet in urban Americ. Five stories, each with video. »
Story One: Offline in L.A.
Story Two: A Connection Changes Family’s World
Story Three: In Desperate Need of the Net in El Monte
Story Four: D.C. Kids Want Internet
Story Five: Left Out in the Cold in D.C.
The web site of Internet For Everyone contains much more information, and is a frequently updated source of information on the campaign to bring high speed broadband to all our communities. Do check it out. If you have a web site or blog, link to it at

I treated the above as a PSA and posted it all above. This is an important issue and the above seems to be a resource so I thought it was okay.

Cedric's Big Mix
Covering up for sexaul assailants
9 hours ago

The Daily Jot
9 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
Adelaide Crapsey
9 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
Philip Dacey
9 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
egalia's a tennessee bimbo zombie
9 hours ago

Jane Cooper
9 hours ago

Ruth's Report
On The Snake
9 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Martha Collins
9 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Ogden Nash, Larry Jones
9 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Sylvia Plath
9 hours ago

Be sure to check out the poetry theme posts (above) from last night. Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday April 15, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US taxpayer foots the bill for what exactly, provincial councils in disarray, and more.

Starting with costs, last week Barack asked for more money from Congress. On Saturday,
Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) revealed that Barack's request "would mean the Iraq war will have cost taxpayers a total of about $694 billion. By comparison, the Vietnam War cost $686 billion in inflated-adjusted dollars and World War II cost $4.1 trillion, according to a Congressional Research Service study completed last year." Last night, Mike noted Kenneth Theisen (World Can't Wait) on how Barack's claiming that "Nearly 95 percent of these funds will be used to support our men and women in uniform as they help the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own future". Citing AP, Philip Sherwell (Telegraph of London) offered the following breakdown of Barack's $83.4 billion request: "The request would fund an average force level in Iraq of 140,000 US troops, finance Mr Obama's initiatve to boost troop levels in Afghanistan to more than 60,000 from the current 39,000 and provide $2.2 billion to accelerate the Pentagon's plans to increase the overall size of the US military . . . Mr Obama also requested $350 million in new funding to upgrade security along the US-Mexico border and to combat narcoterrorists, along with another $400 million in counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan." Julian E. Barnes broke it down as inclduing "$75.8 billion for military operations. An additional $7.1 billion will go to diplomatic efforts and foreign aid, including $1.6 billion for Afghanistan, $1.4 billion for Pakistan and $700 million for Iraq." Mary Beth Sheridan and Scott Wilson (Washington Post) offer a breakdown here. Deidre Walsh (CNN) observes, "About $75 billion of the latest request would pay for military operations, including $9.8 billion for body armor and protective vehicles and $11.6 billion to replace worn-out equipment. The rest would go to diplomatic programs and development aid -- including $1.6 billion for Afghanistan, $1.4 billion for Pakistan and $700 million for Iraq." Walsh lists $800 million going "to support U.N. peacekeeping missions in Africa" and another $800 million to the Palestinian Authority. And, by the way, Walsh cites 142,000 US service members on the ground in Iraq. "By the way" because so many outlets have been following the request of the White House -- but not the Defense Dept -- when first rule of a free press is that you don't take orders from any governmental body. But a free press doesn't reprint "nearly 95%" without pointing out that either Barack needs a math tutor or he's lying yet again.

A lot of money's being given away by the US to other countries and, thank goodness, the US economic crisis is over. Oh, it's not? No, it isn't.
Carolyn Lochhead (San Francisco Chronicle) quoted US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating, "In the coming weeks, Congress will carefully review the president's request and will engage in a dialogue with the Administration on appropriate benchmarks to measure the success of our investments."
Lochhead quoted US House Rep Lynn Woolsey explaining, "As proposed, this funding will do two things -- it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011 and it will deepend and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely. I cannot support either of these scenarios. Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts." Woolsey is correct. And the Congress can refuse to fund the illegal war at any moment. If they did, the troops would have to come home. That's not, "The troops would have to come home after Congress funded the departure." The money is already there at the Pentagon to cover the costs of withdrawing all US forces out of Iraq. But Barack's Big Giveaway (which will work for him about like it did for Oprah in prime time, translation, no one wants to see it) is also highly revealing.

Yes, he's a War Hawk. Anyone paying attention during the Democratic Party primaries should have known that. Well, not "anyone." Professional idiots like Tom Hayden, Crazed Johnny Nichols (remember how he just knew that Barack lying on NAFTA was a 'Hillary plot' and he went to Canada to prove that and bragged on air to Amy Goodman that he'd be writing about that . . . but never did because his crackpot theories didn't pan out even though he allowed them to poison the dialogue), Laura Flanders and all the beggar trash that can't get real jobs were fooled because they wanted to be. But in the real world, most of us could figure it out. For example, today
Kenneth J. Moynihan (Worcester Telegram) reminds why US House Rep Jim McGovern supported Hillary Clinton: "During the 2008 presidential election campaign it came as no surprise to observers of the Worcester political scene that U.S. Rep James P. McGovern should declare his support for Sen. Hillary Clinton. The congressman is a friend of Hillary and Bill, and he supported Sen. Clinton for many reasons. However, when asked about his choice, he usually began with the same words, 'She will end the war.' . . . The congressman never flinched from the position that people wanting to vote against the war should vote for Clinton." And they damn well should have if they were voting in the Democratic Party primary because she would have. I believe that, I know Hillary and have known her since 1992. But those saying "your opinion" are right except for one thing: The 'anti-war' movement would never have laid down for Hillary. Also true, as we pointed out repeatedly at Third beginning in 2007, Hillary couldn't give the imperialists and industrialists in this country the wars they wanted in Africa. Barack was required for that. So voting for Barack was always voting for war and for more war. And it's become obvious that Bully Boy Bush was replaced by Bully Boy Barack and that Obama will provide the third Bush term.

But still there's this idiotic notion that Barack's 'smarter'. Who knows what that's based on because it's certainly not based on academic proof -- he refused to release his college transcripts. It's not based on his alleged speaking abilities -- he stumbles and stammers and uh-uh-uh-uh his way through everything sounding like a buffoon. But he demonstrates that he is as stupid -- if not more -- than George W. Bush with his plans of how to spend the tax payers' monies. Like Bush, he's not really able to conceptualize.

Iraq is sending ambassadors around the world. Find the women. You won't. Pelosi says we need to measure the success. Let's measure it. Women are worse off and gays and lesbians are under constant assault. And yet Iraq needs the US -- or rather, the puppet government the US installed needs the US in order to stay in control. And Nouri does not want to touch the money he's stockpiled. That is why the Iraqi people suffer economically. This isn't Bangladesh or any other country dubbed "third world." Iraq has huge oil reserves. There's no reason in the world any Iraqi should ever go hungry. But they do because puppet Nouri really doesn't give a damn about them. Yesterday,
NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (All Things Considered) reported, "Iraq is now cash-strapped due to the recent downturn in oil prices. As a result of the drop in revenue, a government hiring freeze has been put in place, including with the country's largest employer: the Ministry of Interior. The agency has recruited hundreds of thousands of police officers in recent years to help restore a measure of stability to the war-torn country. As long as the price of oil stays low, the Interior Ministry simply cannot afford to hire more people." Garcia-Navarro notes that unemployment is said to be at 18% according to the United Nations. [50% to 70% according to Dahr Jamail.] She also reported, "Despite America's own economic troubles, the US is spending $1.2 billion this year to supplement the Iraqi Interior Ministry budget." $1.2 billion?

You can buy a lot of things with $1.2 billion and when your a country giving that amount to another country, you can buy a lot of freedoms. The Iraq War has pushed Iraq closer to Iran and, no, that was never one of the anticipated 'wins' of the illegal war. The two countries were pushed together in part because the US installed Shi'ite fundamentalist thugs so it's no surprise that they would be close with their counterparts in Iran. (al-Maliki, of course, fled Iraq -- the US only installs exiled cowards -- and took up residence in Iran for many of his cowering years before the US invasion allowed him to return to Iraq.) They have many, many things in common and they will strengthen their ties as al-Maliki and his thug underlings remake Iraq into the fundamentalist state they desire. The US could have stopped that at any time as the occupying power. They could have made it clear that human rights abuses will not take place by rounding up the killers of Iraqi gays and lesbians. But that would have gone counter to the get-it-done-quick motives that led the US to install a strong-man as prime minister.

Maybe Lynn Woolsey will find other brave members of Congress to stand with her and reject even more money for illegal war. But barring that, Pelosi needs to live up to what she most recently stated. She needs to ensure that the Congress evaluate what is going on in Iraq and any more money given the puppet government for 'humanitarian' reasons needs to have real benchmarks such as, "X number of women will be ambassadors." Not in a year, not in two years. Nothing like Bush's benchmarks that were never reached. Immediate results. No results, the 'humanitarian' money is immediately cut off. As US House Rep
Jared Polis stated, "The United States should not tolerate human rights violations of any kind, especially by a government that Americans spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year supporting." Why is the US funding the Ministry of the Interior -- a thug department -- which hires homophobes who go out and express their homophobia when they're supposed to be protecting ALL Iraqis? That's not what 'humanitarian' money does. Allegedly, the money is spent to improve lives. So let's see some real effort by the Congress to ensure that this indeed happens. Iraq was not Iran before the US invasion. Bully Boy's actions pushed Iraq closer to Iran and, for all his alleged 'smartness,' there's no indication that Barack knows any better.

Iraq is a disaster, it is a US-made disaster. No more money should be thrown to the puppet government but those foolish enough to continue tossing it should be ensuring that every dollar spent pulls Iraq away from the fundamentalist nation that al-Maliki's attempted to build. At Foreign Policy,
Marc Lynch noted, "The crackdown on the Awakenings has regional implications as well, particularly with the ever-skeptical Saudis who have generally supported the Awakenings movements. The Arab press has taken careful note of their reversal of fortunes, which Adel al-Bayati in al-Quds al-Arabi calls Maliki's coup against the Awakenings. Tareq al-Homayed, editor of the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat (which usually reflects official Saudi thinking), complains bitterly today that recent events have made his warnings from last August about the coming betrayal of the Awakenings come true. The Awakenings were not bearing arms against the Iraqi state, argues Homayed, but rather were protecting the Iraqi state against al-Qaeda and assisting its stabilization ahead of the American withdrawal. But, he warns, narrow, sectarian perspectives in Baghdad are winning out over the Iraqi national interest with potentially devastating consequences." Marc Lynch shouldn't be alone in pointing that out, the White House should have already figured that out. (Figured it out? They should have anticipated it.) There's nothing to indicate that they have or that they've made adjustments. Or demands and, again, when you're the country handing over $1.2 billion, you can make a lot of demands. While the puppet government attempts to appear cash-strapped, AFP reports reality, "Iraq has signed a contract with British engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler to build the country's largest-ever oil refinery, an Iraqi official said on Wednesday." Meanwhile Pakistan's Daily Times reports "Iraqi authorities are currently holding about 26,200 people in detention, including 782 minors and 422 women, Human Rights Minister Wejdan Mikhail said on Wednesday." The paper notes US forces are currently holding 12,800 Iraqi prisoners.

Returning to the topic of Sahwa (also known as "Awakening" Councils and "Sons of Iraq"),
Geoff Ziezulewicz (Stars and Strips) files a report today indicating the US is still paying some and focuses on Fadhil. That's the neighborhood of Baghdad where Nouri's crackdown on Sahwa led to a stand off between Sahwa members on one side and Iraqi and US forces on the other. Ziezulewicz reports, "The fact that Fadhil remains up for grabs makes continued support of the Iraqi government's efforts that much more critical, said Lt. Col. David Buckingham, commander of the cavalry regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne." The fact that Nouri al-Maliki has not put more on the payroll, found jobs for more Sahwa goes to the fact that he's taking US dollars from US tax payers and getting to do with it whatever the heck he wants. It's past time for real Congressional oversight. Elsewhere in the article, Ziezulewicz also notes, "While the U.S. military has trumpeted Iraqi forces taking the lead since the U.S.-Iraq security agreement went into effect Jan. 1, Iraqi troops were largely absent or showed up late to some missions last week." Meanwhile Nouri's mouthpiece on the presidency council, Shi'ite vice president Adel Abdul Mehdi was in Paris today. Alsumaria reports he insisted that Sahwas were "secretly plotting . . . terrorists attacks in Iraq."

Nouri's attacking the press. The New York Times always knows how to kiss butt (what, you thought CNN was the only one just because Eason Jordan confessed to it?). Which explains
Alissa J. Rubin's report today which takes the work of the Foreign Ministry and attempts to call the puppet government a success as a result. While the Foreign Ministry does deserve praise for some of their abilities to function, they are not representative of the puppet government nor of Iraq's population. Rubin may note 40 other countries have ambassadors from Baghdad but she forgets to note how none are women. This is just a kiss-their-ass piece to ensure that the Times remains on good terms with the puppet government. (Nouri is highly upset with reports about his attacks on Sahwa.)

There is no functioning government. For example, who is heading Iraq's Parliament? Answer: No one. They still have no speaker. So this is really an insult to the readers, this attempt to play, "Look at this functioning government!"
As noted in the January 12th snapshot:Willam Brockman Bankhead was the Speaker of the US House of Representatives for over four years. He died unexpectably of a heart attack on September 15, 1940. (For those unfamiliar with Bankhead, he was the father of Tallulah Bankhead.) The following day, Sam Rayburn became Speaker of the House. The following day. December 23rd, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was forced out of the Speakership of the Iraqi Parliament. The week prior he had stated he was resigning. He attempted to take that back but a large number wanted him gone as Speaker and had wanted him gone for some time with repeated public efforts to oust him. It is now January 12th and they have still not appointed a new Speaker. And they still have no speaker. It's April 15th. William Bankhead dies in office and he's replaced the next day. Iraq's Parliament runs off Mahmoud al-Mashhadani December 23rd and they still have no replacement, all this time later. Or as Alsumaria noted Saturday, "Parliament Speaker issue awaits solution." Further indications of the dysfunction and disarray comes from Liz Sly and Caesar Ahmed (Los Angeles Times) who report that the provincial councils still aren't moving along. Januray 31st 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces held provincial elections. The results were finally certified and officially announced in March. And yet . . . Sly and Ahmed explain there have been "walkouts, boycoots and street protests, highlighting continued sectarian divisions and the frictions that prevail even between those factions that are reconciled to the political process. On Tuesday, all factions in Shiite Muslim-majority Wasit province boycotted the latest meeting called to choose a governor after street protests were held the previous day against the leading contender." Corinee Reilly and Ali Abbas (McClatchy Newspapers) report that a boycott is taking place in Nineveh Province as well where "Kurds vowed not to return until the Arabs hand over two of the council's top three leadership positions." Alsumaria explains that the Yazidi majority from the Sinjar District of Nineveh are calling for their district to become "an independent governorate that is part of Kurdistan, in protest to the fact that a Sunni list took all main administrative positions in the provincial council."

Caroline Alexander and Ryan Finn (Bloomberg News) report that a Kirkuk car bombing resulted in 10 dead and twenty-two wounded and that "[m]any of the casualties were police protecting an oil installation, President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said on its Arabic-language Web site." BBC notes 11 dead and that the death toll is expected to rise. Mustapha Mahmoud and Sherko Raouf (Reuters) add, "The casualties were piled into a police truck, and police travelling with the dead and wounded fired into the air to clear traffic on the road ahead, a Reuters witness said." And they quote
eye witness Othman Sharif asking, "What did I do to deserve this? I was going home from work in a taxi . . . there was a huge blast and I fell unconscious. I didn't wake up until I was in hospital covered in bandages." In other violence,
Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report a Baghdad sticky bombing left two people injured and a Baghdad roadside bombing left two people injured.

Yesterdy at Foreign Policy,
Thomas E. Ricks noted one-time CIA asset Ahmed Chalabi has ben making the press rounds and is stating that George W. Bush is "[a] man with very little skill and knowledge" (the better to manipulate him, Wolf Chalabi?) and is claiming that Iran and the US had a deal to topple Iraq. (In the interview he also cites "Israelis," use the link.) Thomas E. Ricks is the author of the bestseller The Gamble.

Turning to Germany.
BBC reports that US Master Sgt John Hatley was found guilty today by a military jury ("eight officers and NCOs) in the murder of four Iraqi prisoners and BBC adds of Hatley and other US service members, "When they found four Iraqi men not far from a cache of weapons, including sniper rifles, just a week after one of their own sergeants had been shot and killed, they took the law into their own hands, says the BBC's Kevin Connolly in Washington. With no real evidence against them the detainees should have been released, our correspondent says. Instead they were bound, blindfolded and summarily killed. It is thought their bodies were dumped in a canal but they have never been found." Seth Robson (Stars and Stripes) explains, "Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Mayo, 27, was sentenced to 35 years' confinement after he admitted in court last month to shooting one of the detainees. At a court-martial in February, Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr., 28, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for shooting two of the detainees. Both Mayo and Leahy told the court this week that Hatley also shot detainees."

In other legal news,
Robert Wilonsky (Dallas Observer) explains, "On September 14, 26-year-old Army Sgt. Wesley Durbin of Hurst was killed at a small patrol base south of Baghdad when he and another soldier, 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Darris Dawson of Florida, were gunned down by a fellow soldier. As The Dallas Morning News noted in September, Durbin was a former Marine who enlisted after graduating Dallas Lutheran School and fought in Iraq, only to enlist in the Army later -- because, said his wife, 'He was a soldier from the time he woke up to the time he went to bed'." Wilonsky noted that US Army Sgt Joseph Bozicevich is accused of murdering Wesley Durbin and Darris Dawson. UPI notes that "Durbin and Dawson allegedly were shot while counseling Bozicevich for what the squad leaders considered was his poor performance". Frenchi Jones (Coastal Courier) reports that the court-martial heard more testimony today and that none of the witnesses had testimony similar to Staff Sgt John Dresel's Tuesday:

Bozicevich: Mother [expletive], I am going to kill you.

Darris Dawson: Why? Stop. Please don't shoot.

Jones adds, "According to Dresel, the person on the ground lay three or four feet from the figure. At first, he said, he didn't know if the two figures were enemies or allied troops. Suddenly, there was more fire. The man with the gun discharged two shots into the body, the muzzle flash from the weapon lit up the night, revealing the shooter's identity." Dresel.

In non-Iraq news,
Women's Voices, Women's Votes announces:

Together with the other groups - in what WVWV has identified as the Rising American Electorate - African-Americans, Hispanics, non-whites, and young people (52% of the population)- unmarried women dramatically increased their voter participation and changed America's leadership and direction. Now,
recently released statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau further explain why unmarried women are the decisive demographic in this country and the cutting-edge of the Rising American Electorate. Unmarried women are the largest fastest growing demographic group. At a time when voter participation slightly declined among all adult Americans, unmarried women registered and voted in significantly greater numbers than ever before. In fact, unmarried women's growing participation was essential to the increase in voting by young people, non-whites, African-Americans and Hispanics. They are the consistent outperformers of the 2008 turnout. Much remains to be done before unmarried women participate in our democracy in proportion to their growing numbers, and advance the issues that address their needs, including employment, fair pay, universal health coverage, and increased investments in child care, public education, college opportunity, and career training. But, together we have made great progress. These facts from the Census Population Survey analysis of the voting-eligible population show how much we have achieved - and how far we still have to go. (The Census Bureau statistics represent "real numbers" and are more accurate than last year's exit polls, which understated the voter participation of unmarried women.)

Finally, independent journalist
David Bacon, whose latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press), covers the Employee Free Choice Act in "Why workers need the Employee Free Choice Act" (San Francisco Chronicle):Unions are good for workers. Today, median weekly pay for union members is $886, compared to $691 for nonunion workers. Moving cargo on the Oakland waterfront pays three times what stocking shelves does at Wal-Mart because longshore workers have had a union contract since 1934.In 1936, Congress recognized the value of unions and passed the National Labor Relations Act, setting up a legal system in which private sector, nonfarm workers could join unions and bargain. The preamble declares the law's purpose: "encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and ... protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing."Today, however, the law is virtually unable to fulfill its intended function. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has proposed commonsense measures to restore its effectiveness in the Employee Free Choice Act. Employers are mounting a hysterical campaign against it, even calling it "bolshevism," and claiming to be protectors of their workers' rights. We need a reality check about what really happens when workers try to organize.

the los angeles timesjulian e. barnes
deidra walshcarolyn lochheadthe san francisco chronicle
nprall things consideredlourdes garcia-navarro
thomas e. ricks
mcclatchy newspaperscorinne reillyali abbasthe los angeles timescaesar ahmedliz sly
the new york timesalissa j. rubin
david bacon