Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kyle Snyder

The illustration is from The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: The lack of passion in independent media (print division)" and I was in Ireland when Kyle Snyder came back to the United States, from Canada, and turned himself in. I was in Ireland when the military screwed him over and he self-checked out again.

Kyle's underground now. He surfaces to give speeches and to do things like, last week, help with the repairing of New Orleans.

Who needs to be behind bars? Kyle who had the smarts and guts to say no to the illegal war or Bully Boy who lied us into it? Kyle who goes to New Orleans to help out or Bully Boy who should have ensured that the damage was fixed a long time ago?

I think Kyle's a hero.

I don't know what was going through his head on October 31st when he turned himself in and was waiting for the paper work to be done. But I think I'd be shocked to realize I was being burned again. I think I'd probably wonder what to do? Go through with it? Self-check out?

I think he's a hero.

I think there are a lot of useless. Who are the cowards? The people who try to look the other way. One group of useless that hid behind generals is now hiding behind a major.

I think they need to lose their elitist attitude before they expect their pieces on economic justice to be greeted with more than a giggle.

I'm sick of the useless.

Once again, I'm seeing students and, guess what, they give a damn about this war. Don't blame the students, don't tsk-tsk "Kids today." The failures are the adults running magazines who waste everyone's time with crap instead of actually addressing the war.

"The major"? I heard about it. I heard about how "The Elector" magazine still can't cover war resisters. I heard angry young people trash the magazine. People who should be their natural audience. But they feel hyped and manipulated. They feel that the magazine doesn't give a damn about the war.

This was a very informed, very political group and they were all Democrats (most aren't too happy with the party).

The way it works is C.I. talks a little about Iraq and then who ever else is along (me this time) speaks a little and then it's bring the issues up that you don't feel are getting attention and what's allowing the war to continue.

There were four groups I spoke with (I was too tired for the fifth, sorry, C.I.'s solo on that) and this was . . .

I don't know what to say, they could outline everything (and we may be addressing one point raised repeatedly this weekend at The Third Estate Sunday Review). They were mad, they were angry. This went beyond disappointment.

And I started thinking during this, I wasn't wading into it (I also didn't think the examples they were giving were wrong), how awful it would be to be in charge of a magazine that became the one with the highest circulation on the left and to still be in charge if it then nose dived?

C.I. can work a crowd. I never fail to be impressed with that. And C.I. likes "The Elector". (I like it less and less and may not be renewing my subscription.) So I was interested in where this was headed. C.I. asked, after everyone had a chance to voice their opinion, what sort of commentary they were looking for. There were a few suggestions and C.I. said, "Sounds a lot like Alexander Cockburn, doesn't it?"

Which did get some agreement. And lowered the anger in the room. Then C.I. turned it into, "When the media fails, when even the independent media fails, what do you do to make a difference?"

Which led to a really informed discussion.

I've heard complaints about "The Elector" before, about how the war coverage isn't cutting it. But it was never like this. One woman even spoke of the fact that The New Republic (or, as she called, "The Fucking New Republic!") had a war issue and "The Elector" gives little indication that they're even aware of the war except as an issue to that impacted the election. (The woman said, "If the issue influenced the election, don't they think people want to read about the issue?)

So that's it for me. Check out the Iraq Study Group's recommendations. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

November 30, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Baker-Hamiliton Love-Fest sucks up more headlines than the addled-brain panel deserves, shifts on the political ground occur but the media's too busy being whimpering little dogs chasing after their master to note reality, and peace organizations call for a show of support for war resisters and for some action.

Starting with yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News where Sandra Lupien spoke with Global Exchange's Raed Jarrar who explained that some members of Iraq's parliament were under the impression that they would be discussing the possibility of renewing the UN mandate for US forces next week and were unaware that the puppet of the occupation had already 'addressed' that (on Tuesday). Jarrar discussed how what support there was for the puppet had faded as it had been apparent how ineffectual Nouri al-Maliki was, how he's now seen as a failure and how hope is pretty much destroyed.

Raed Jarrar: Let me add one thing, during the last three days some major developments are happening. Yesterday one of the secular groups pulled out of the government -- a group called Reconciliation and Liberation Front, they pulled out from the government. And today a southern group pulled out from the government. And tommorow it's a big possiblity that a number of secular and Sunni and Shia are planning to pull out from the government as well and form this newly, form a front under the name Iraq Salvation Government or the National Iraqi Salvation Front or something.

So all of these things are happening now, at the same time that Maliki is meeting with Bush, so it seems the Iraqi political map is going to change radically within the next few days or

Staying with that topic (the one the New York Times may trip over and discover tomorrow),
CNN reports that Muqtada al-Sadr announced a possible new political alliance with Sunnis and Christians. Calling the group" you know this is coming "'a national front,' the head of al-Sadr's bloc in Parliament -- Falah Hassan Shanshel -- said the groups would target the U.N. Security Council's decision to extend the mandate of 160,000 multinational force in Iraq for another year."

Meanwhile, the
Iraq Study Group has issued their findings: (1) All US troops should be brought home immediately; (2) Reparations shall be paid by the US government to Iraq through the United Nations; (3) The US Congress should immediately begin impeachments hearings; (4) A War Crimes Tribunal should hear testimony into the destruction of Falluja; (5) Dexter Filkins shall be charged with crimes against humanity for his 'reporting' on Falluja and, in fact, all of his reporting on or from Iraq.

The findings were published today by the original Iraq Study Group, not the lame Lee Hamilton-James Baker Circle Jerk. The findings are signed by the original chairs: Nina, Tony and
Mike. And if the findings seem more democratic than those of the James Baker Circle Jerk, well one was of the people, the other was created to provide cover for the US administration.

Turning to news of the James Baker Circle Jerk. They did not recommend withdrawal.
David E. Sanger and David S. Cloud (New York Times) reported in this morning's paper that the James Baker Circle Jerk would recommend that 15 combat brigades be stationed at bases in Iraq or neighboring countries and the James Baker Circle Jerk would not endorse withdrawal of US troops. The James Baker Circle Jerk hopefully checked with "neighboring countries" because, as many will remember, Turkey got aid from the US while hemming and hawwing and, woops, what do you know, their air space would not be used for Bully Boy's illegal war. The James Baker Circle Jerk was a way for him to tap into the Saudi monies he's always tapped into and greed merchants like Lee Hamilton got to go along for the ride. At 75-years-old, there may be nothing left for him to do but stand around open mouthed. But then the James Baker Circle Jerk was never about the "best and brightest." It was, instead, the tired, the corrupt and the cronies.

The Davids are back with their update to say, "Our sources were right." Yes, in what passes for bravery at the Times, all that sucking up allows them their exclusives about reports that will be released. So they've twice wasted everyone's time stroking their sources off on in print while real issues went uncovered and critical abilities (which are supposed to be in a journalist's bag of tricks) again get shoved to the curb. They've chased after Bully Boy, they've chased after the James Baker Circle Jerk.

They just can't find Iraq with a seeing eye dog and an escort. (Should that read a heavily armed escorts? It should.) As
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) noted Tuesday, on potential findings of the cover group, "It only postpones the inevitable, the need to exit Iraq before the blood of war sills over into the national presidential election."

Let's leave the James Baker Circle Jerk to the boys (and Sandy Day O'Connor) and instead focus on reality. The
BBC reports that two Iraqi women were killed in Baquba on Wednesday by US forces which follows by one day the killing of "five girls . . . by US tank fire in Ramadi." This comes at a time when the ICRC issues a statement ending with: "The ICRC calls again upon all parties to the conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and to spare civilians and civilian property. In addition, it urges all those who can make use of their moral and political influence on the ground to call for respect of human life and dignity." "All parties." Yes, the Red Cross/Red Crescent would be referring to "all parties" which does include foreign fighters such as the US.

Al Jazeera reports Bully Boy has stated no troops are leaving, that they'll remain till his "job is complete" which apparently means his Blood Lust has yet to be satisfied, after three years, and more will need to die as a result.

A lot is being made of the brief meeting (Brief Encounter?) between Bully Boy and Nouri al-Maliki that finally took place on Thursday.
'A 'speedy handover' (of Iraq forces) to the puppet!' pants CBS and AP. Did no one read the memo yesterday? The memo was published (online) by the New York Times. Did anyone bother to read it? What did Stephen Hadley write about ways that the puppet could look strong? Handing him "additional control over Iraq forces, although we must recognize that in the immediate time frame, we would likely be able to give him more authority over existing forces, not more forces."

Apparently there was no point in the Times publishing that memo, even those who read it appear to act as though they hadn't.

AFP notes Bully Boy wanted to put an end to the "speculation" that the US might attempt "some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq." No word on whether Bully Boy belched after that remark but the lack of grace hardly needs underscoring after three years of an illegal war.

While Bully Boy demonstrates his lack of grace, common sense, et al,
AFP reports that South Korea is pulling their 2,300 troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007. KUNA reports that: "The government also accepted the ruling party's proposal to draw up an action plan for the all-out withdrwal by June 2007, according to Yonhap News Agency." The so-called 'coalition' gets increasingly smaller. Meanwhile, Nouri al-Maliki announces, according to Reuters, that Iraqi troops can take over control in June 2007. Predictions from the Puppet who couldn't meet the Constitutionally mandated deadline for selecting his cabinet? The man who went on to miss the 'bonus' time he gave himself to select the cabinet?

As the press rushes to cover the circle jerk or the Bully Boy,
Dave Clark (AFP) reports: "Baghdad's overlowing morgues have welcomed another grim daily harvest of bullet-riddled coprses".


DPA reports three Iraq police officers were killed by a roadside bomb in al-Mosayyab and three more were left wounded. Dave Clark (AFP) reports that mortar attacks wounded 13 in Samawa.


Thomas Wagner and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) report that, in Basra, Nasir Gatami ("deputy of the local chapter of a group called Sunni Endowment) and three of his bodyguards were shot dead. The BBC raises the number of bodyguards killed to six. Dave Clark (AFP) reports six shot dead in sectarian conflict in Baquba while a police officer was shot dead in Falluja.


BBC reports that "At least 80 bodies" were discovered in Iraq "in the past 24 hours." The Daily Telegraph notes that 58 of those corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

That's the reality of Iraq -- some of it. What managed to get reported by the ones not confusing the James Baker Circle Jerk or the Bully Boy's travel itineray with the Beatles landing at JFK. Worshipful fans don't generally make for solid reporters and, for those noticing how Iraq has been sidelined by "Follow The Officials!", that's tragically clear.

Not tomorrow, but the Friday after next, December 8th,
Courage to Resist will beging three days of public action:

Military resisters, their families, veterans and concerned community members call for public action Dec. 8-10th!
It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women GI's who have in many different ways followed the their conscience, upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and stood up for their rights. Widespread public support and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights. We call for the following:1) Support for War Objectors 2) Protect the Right to Conscientious Objection 3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of GI's 4) Sanctuary for War Objectors. We urge you to join us December 8-10th for a weekend of action in supportof GI Resistance and GI Rights!
Participating Groups and Individuals
Downloadable Organizing Kit

United for Peace and Justice notes:

It takes courage to say that you will not fight -- especially if you are a soldier. As more members of the U.S. military step forward for peace, the peace movement must step forward to support them.
Large numbers are now refusing to serve: The Department of Defense estimates that there are about 8,000 AWOL service members. The
GI Rights Hotline (800-394-9544) is currently receiving about 3,000 calls a month.
Most importantly, a growing number of soldiers are speaking out, against the illegality and immorality of the Iraq war and the orders they are being told to carry out. These brave men and women are risking jail time and their futures to stand up against the war.
Click here to find out how you can support them.

On Monday,
WBAI's Law and Disorder interviewed Jonathan Hutto with Appeal for Redress which is gathering signatures calling for Congress to bring the troops. Signatures of those currently serving in the military. Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian, Dalia Hashad and Michael Smith spoke about the historical importance of this and how the rights for those serving were won, not given and Hutto stated that currently they have "a little over 1200" signatures.

War resisters also include Kyle Snyder,
Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Joshua Casteel, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Patrick Hart, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are only some of the names of those resisting who have gone public.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Soldier Say No!, the War Resisters Support Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.