Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bonnie interviewed Sanders Hicks Wednesday

Wednesday on KPFA's Guns and Butter, Bonnie Faulkner interviewed Sander Hicks. Hicks was a little too "on" for my tastes. (Such as telling Bonnie to play the audio clip. In it, he's interviewing a man who says the State Dept. told him before 9-11 that airplanes would attack the World Trade Towers. Even there, I had a problem with Hicks. The man's telling a story and Hicks, from his remarks to Bonnie, believed the guy. So why does he say something, when the interview should continue, like "Gotta go, talk to you later" and end the interview with the man?)

I think that's just his style: hyper. That's fine but with concerns about Rebecca this week, I was exhausted by Wednesday. (She's fine.) He was just a little too hyper for my tastes. Ruth and I have talked about one guest who has been way to hyper (on two other shows) recently and how, when you're like that, you tend to turn off the audience. Twice, this guest has basically sneered at the interviewer (two different ones). We both like the guest but wish someone would lay off the coffee or go to a quiet place before the interviews. You're not helping your case or issue when you're trying to lead the interview.

Sander Hicks probably knows a great deal but it would have been nice if he could have tried to be less in control of the interview. Bonnie started out like Bonnie. Then, and this may have been only my judgement, she got a little slower as if she was trying to provide the calm that would influence Hicks. It didn't happen.

He jumped from topic to topic within answers and Bonnie would have to do the "set up" all over about which book they were speaking of at that moment. I could follow the interview thanks to her work but she was like an interpreter and I'd hear Hicks giving an answer and have to throw in the towel on what he was talking about until she gave the interpretation.

If you missed it, it is worth listening to. But I'm warning you right now, if you get lost in the middle of his answers, just accept that. Wait for Bonnie to point out which of the books they're speaking of. His own book, Big Wedding, I think, is a very brief book. I read it a few months ago in the bookstore. Just sitting on the floor in front of the bookcase. I felt if there was anything in there that really grabbed me, I'd buy it. I read until the last page and didn't feel the need to purchase it. He thinks, from his comments, that he's got new information but I didn't really see that developed a great deal. If you're new, he has new information. If you've followed the various questions and theories, I think you may feel you read a lot of the book already in Vanity Fair. By another writer. That's not saying he's copying anyone just that it was new to me. The audio clip he wanted Bonnie to play, if he'd continued that interview, he might have had something.

If a State Department official, being warned by an informant about an attack, responded, "Yeah, we know about the plan to use planes," that would be worthy of an entire book. Maybe the problem is he was trying to cover so much and did so in so little space?

They discussed the 60 Minutes interview (done by Lesley Stahl) that attacked the late James Hatfield as opposed to exploring the issues Hatfield raised in his book about Bully Boy. Maybe he was afraid something similar would happen with Bonnie?

I have a hard time buying that because a) it's not her style and b) there are so few who cover this topic that he should have known her reputation. If he'd calmed down, even a little, Bonnie would have been able to bring out what was needed in what he knew. Instead, he was jumping here, there and everywhere. I think I once heard Janeane Garofalo interview him on The Majority Report. If he was like that then, I'm not remembering it.

I wanted to really enjoy the interview and maybe it was my mood? That could be. At another time, I might be saying, "This guest is brilliant!" But I don't think so. Bonnie does careful interviews and doesn't attack guests. (When one interview subject kept getting Colleen Rowley's name wrong, Bonnie brought it up nicely in a way that didn't cause the subject to be embarrassed.) He should have let her do the interview. I don't think he did. I think he tried, repeatedly, to turn it into monologues. I also felt, maybe just me, he was kind of rude to Bonnie.

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

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Elsewhere some merely strike poses.
In the United States, the Senate has said "NO!" to US forces leaving Iraq by July 2007. As the so-called coalition continues to break apart with other nations deciding to pull their troops out of Iraq, one might think the issue would garner a serious debate. Always one to posture, John McCain (Senator from Arizona) declared: "The United States, with our Iraqi partners, has the responsibility to see this through" apparently auditioning for the role of passenger on the Titanic. Russ Feingold (Senator from Wisconsin) stated: "It is time to tell the Iraqis that we have done what we can do militarily." Instead of addressing that reality, most preferred to posture; however, 13 senators did vote in favor of the proposal John Kerry and Feingold were supporting (troops out by July 2007). The other (weaker and, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, "nonbinding") proposal much supported by Democratic Party hacks such as DiFi and Harry Reid? It lost in a 60-39 vote. In Vienna, the Bully Boy faced questions about Iraq. "What's past is past," declared the Bully Boy on the issue of Iraq. What's past? How about what's passed? The 2500 mark for American military fatalities. As Amy Goodman noted today on Democracy Now!, 2512 is the current fatality count.
While the United States Congress can't say "Withdrawal" and the Bully Boy can't even toss out a phrase correctly (it is: "What's done is done."), it's not suprising that it has become increasing harder for US military recruiters to meet the needed recruitment numbers. As the UK's Daily Mail notes, the U.S. Army's decision to raise the maximum age for recruitment, to forty-two, is the second time this year that the military has raised the age. In January, the maxium age was raised from 35 years-old to 40. Why the Army? As Reuters notes: "More than three years into the war, the Army continues to provide the bulk of U.S. ground forces in Iraq." Which is why military recruiters, when not stalking school campuses, attempt to recruit at NASCAR events.
Speaking to Fluxview, for their AWOL in Canada series, Christopher Mogwai noted that, "In the Vietnam era they didn't kick you out for drugs, now they do" so some choose any number of means to leave the service. Fluxview also interviews war resistors Darrell Anderson and Ryan Johnson.
Noting the charging of "eight US troops with kidnapping and murdering a handicapped Iraqi civilian," Demetri Sevastolulo and Neil Buckley (Financial Times of London) note that the speaker of the Iraqi parliment is asking "the US to investigate the killings of 'many innocent people' by American forces." According to CNN, Masmoud al-Mashhadani is specifically calling for "an investigation . . . into this week's U.S. bombing of a poultry farm in northern Iraq." This is the incident Amy Goodman noted yesterday where a human rights worker states that "two of the dead were young boys aged ten and twelve." As Al Jazeera noted: "The Association of Muslim Scholars said US warplanes bombed a house and a poultry farm in al-Bushahin village in northeast Baquba, then dropped soldiers to kill the survivors of the attack."
In Baghdad today, CNN notes a car bomb went off by a movie theater and two people were killed, five wounded. Reuters notes a motorcycle bombing, in Baghdad, which resulted in two dead and eight injured.
In Baquba, Reuters reports that Raad al-Mowla was wounded in a roadside bomb (al-Mowla is the governor of the Diyala province). The Associated Press notes a bomb in Jibla that resulted in the death of an unidentified civilian and an "Iraqi army solider." As Amy Goodman noted this morning, "at least fifty of the more than eighty [kidnapped] workers have been released or freed."
Reuters notes the discovery of 14 corpses of electricity plant workers who were "abducted and killed June 12". Associated Press notes that six corpses ("bullet-riddled bodies") were found in Kut. In Najaf, a police officer was shot dead, Reuters notes, and, in Dhuluiya, an Iraqi soldier was shot dead.
Like the US Congress, John Howard (prime minister of Australia) plays baby Bully Boy and speaks of how things might get even riskier for Australians stationed in Iraq, Australia's ABC reports Labor leader Kim Beazley's response in Parliment: "Iraq is a quagmire and staying htere is not in our national interest. Make no mistake about it, we are opposed to the war in Iraq, we want these troops in Al Muthanna province home now."
While Japan used the Iraq government's decision to take over responsiblity for the Al Muthanna province as a sign to withdraw troops, Howard has decided to move Australian troops to other areas in Iraq. Though of little concern to the mainstream US press, the shooting by Australian security guards yesterday of three Iraqi bodyguards (one dead, two wounded) for Iraq Trade Minister Abdel Falah al-Sudany has resulted in an expression of regret from the Australian Defense Force and, today, has led al-Sudany to issue a statement that he "demands an apology and payment of compsenation." Reuters notes: "The incident could potentially embarrass Australia, which has been trying to imrpove trade ties with Iraq after Iraq suspended dealings with Australia's monopoly wheat exporter AWB over a kickbacks scandal."Besides trade deals being put at risk (remember, it's the markets), Labor and Green reps in Australia says that the incident is another reason Australia needs to withdraw troops from Iraq. Kim Bezley stated, "The point is this: we shouldn't be there." Bob Brown, Greens leader, stated: "It should send a signal to this Prime Minister, who just does not seem to connect that we should be bringing the troops home. They shouldn't have been there, they should be brought home."
Speaking to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on Democracy Now! today, Italian journalist Giulana Sgrena discussed the details of her kidnapping in Iraq as well as the details of the rescue that went wrong when US troops fired on her vehicle as it was enroute to the airport. During the interview, Sgrena stated: "So there are many things that we don't know and we would like to know. I don't want to accuse Mario Lozano to know who was in the car and to shoot because he knew that there, there were agents and me. But we want the prosecution just to know, to have more information of what happened, because we gave the information to the commander, the Italian one that was in touch with the American one in the airport, that we were on this road to the airport. And we know that they were monitoring the telephone that we used in the car, the Americans, and they were monitoring the mobile telephone on the satellite." Remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)

Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! PSYCHIC CASEY SAYS 'HONEY, THEY SHRUNK THE ARMY!'" as well as Cedric's "WBAI's Law and Disorder covered Mumia Abu-Jamal and David Gilbert," Elaine's "A number of topics," C.I.'s "NYT: Zernike takes her cab (and readers) for another ride, Burns plays Court TV" and "Other Items (Giuliana Sgrena on Democracy Now! today)", and Mike's "Rush post."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Repubes: The delicate flowers.

Weakness, Lindsey Graham told the American people (and the Senate) today was in the US setting a time table for withdrawal.

Funny, I thought weakness was his high-pitched vocals?

Sounding like a castarati every time he opens his mouth doesn't strike Graham as weakness?

As the cracking voice of a pimply stocker in your local grocery, his voice might carry some authority. As a US senator?

Hearing that screech with a southern drawl is to grasp why Rebecca dubbed him a character in a Tennessee Williams play: The Mint Julip Exploded On My Best Dress!

For easy laughs, listen to him quoted on KPFA's Evening News tonight. (Go to the archives.)

Blanche/Lindsey said that "Strength" would be letting Iraq set a time table. Iraqis have been asking the US to leave for some time now. Does he not know that?

Does he not know that on Bully Boy's heavily covered photo-op in the Green Zone, the vice-president of Iraq (with the blessing of Iraq's president) asked for a time table for withdrawal to be set?

Linsdey doesn't know about Watergate or, apparently, anything at all.

The debate on Iraq continues tomorrow in the Senate. They may vote. If they do, there are two pieces of legislation. One, a real plan that calls for troops home by July of 2007, is John Kerry, Diane Feinstein, Russ Feingold and hopefully many other's plan.

The other one, favored by Di-Fi and Carl Levin, asks for things but isn't binding.

Kind of like the nonsense today that was non-binding. On the one hand the Senate approved that the Iraqi government could not grant amnesty to resistance fighters who'd fought Americans. On the other hand, they recognized that Iraq was it's own government. Both are non-binding (e.g. meaningless).

The amnesty proposal was floated last week, following which, the one floating it was kicked out of the government. Get it? It's not happening. But the Senate could waste everyone's time on something that's not happening while avoiding addressing the reality of Iraq.

I am apparently Larry King, or as powerful. That's what I found out when Jess told me I had e-mails going to Angry visitors wrote me care of the site to tell me how disgusted they were that I'd put up the Globe here.

Oh, so sorry.

I guess I shouldn't be interviewing Jennifer Flowers either? (If that's not how she spells her name, find someone who cares.) Oh wait, I don't interview her. That's Larry King and a host of others. The press embraced her as soon as she told her story (with dubious parts) to the tabloids. (I believe it was The Star.) I put it up because it made a friend of mine laugh. I'll do that anytime I damn well want.

And let's be real clear to the angry Republican who told me "9/11 changed everything!" 9/11 didn't strip Flowers of her network and cable TV duties. She continued to pop up after September 11th. She pops up even now.

I didn't endorse the story, I didn't rebuke it (Bully Boy & Laura). It was a funny cover, I posted it. Unless I've just dropped acid, I'm remembering that the New York Times ran a front page story LAST MONTH about how Bill Clinton MIGHT be having an affair. That was after 9/11.

Find a real problem. Unlike Chelsea Clinton, everyone in the Worst Family (Bully Boy, Laura, the twins) are adults. That's to the Repube weeper who asked, "What about Jenna and Barbara? Even if it were true, do they need to see it?"

I honestly doubt that the twins come here (I don't put up many photos so what would Jenna do if she visited?). But they are adults. They can laugh at it or panic. They're adults. Chelsea wasn't when Rush Limbaugh and others used her as punching bag. And the twins were in college when Bully Boy first occupied the White House in 2001. Chelsea actually was a child. That didn't soften any attacks on her parents or prevent attacks on her.

Chelsea Clinton, like Amy Carter before her, was ridiculed. Both women have held up very well in spite of those attacks. So I don't think The Globe covering suggesting Bully Boy may be having an affair with Condi is anywhere near equivalent to what Amy and Chelsea went through.

If the twins can't handle it, they're as weak as their father. That's not my problem. If there's a problem, maybe you should look to their parents?

I dislike Hillary and that's mild. But Chelsea has, thus far, turned out to be a pretty strong, independent adult. (I'm not using "pretty" in terms of looks in that sentence but since her looks were so ridiculed by Rush, I will note that she's turned into an attractive young woman. Rush, however, still remains a FAT asshole.) I don't recall Chelsea going through college as though she was filming a Girls Gone Wild video. Maybe she lacked Jenna's "zest for life"? (Or maybe she just had some common sense?)

It sure is strange that after all the crap hurled at Chelsea or her parents (including calling Hillary a murderer), suddenly the thought that the Worst Family might have marital problems is "off limits." Fortunately for the e-mailers, the corporate media shares their attitude.

Remember that tomorrow at one o'clock p.m. (Pacific) KPFA airs the latest Guns and Butter.

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

Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Outside of Iraq?As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, "the so-called coalition of the willing continues to shrink:" Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister of Japan, declared that Japanese troops are leaving Iraq by "year's end.". Reuters notes that, although no Japanese troops were "killed or wounded in Iraq," "six Japanese citizens, including two diplomats, have been killed by insurgents in Iraq." China's Xinhau reports that the prime ministers discussed the intended withdrawal "with leaders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties" on Tuesday morning "shortly before the announcement." As Amy Goodman reported, Japan joins Italy with the announcement of pulling troops out by year's end and that "Spain, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Nicaragua, the Philipines and Honduras have already pulled out." Noting "Japan's Kyodo news agency," the Financial Times of London states the withdrawal "process could be completed by the end of July." Xinhua notes the same possibility and credits word on it to "Japanese government officials."
While Japan prepares to remove troops from the ground in Iraq, in the United States, a watered-down, weaker version of John Kerry's call for US troops out of Iraq is allowing for posturing. Caterwauling on the Senate floor today, Bill Frist exclaimed, "We cannot surrender. We cannot go wobbly. The price is far too high." Possibly a mantra he once repeated to himself while dissecting felines? Meanwhile, always one to run from a fight, Harry Reid's less concerned with exit plans for the US, and knowing there's no democracy in Iraq, focuses instead on a possible amnesty plan Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki. Adnan Ali al-Kadhimi was fired/resigned following his comments to the press regarding the potential plan. But it's a nice, dead-hypothetical to rage and rattle about as opposed to dealing with reality. In other news on the spineless, John Walsh (CounterPunch) reports that what recent book sales didn't get across, phone calls might have -- Baby Cries a Lot took three calls complaining about his War Hawk position on the war. Walsh does not note if Baby Cries a Lot attempted to garner sympathy by sobbing, breaking into tears or using his own children to justify an ongoing war (children who do not and have not served in Iraq or, for that matter, the military). In non-spineless news, AP reports that Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold and John Kerry "intend to push for a vote on their own proposal."
In Seattle yesterday, Sara Jean Green reports: "Ann Wright appeared with 1st Lt. Ehren Watada and his parents at a news conference at University Lutheran Church to announce a national day of action June 27, when anti-war demonstrations will be held in cities across the country in support of Watada." Green reports that Wright, "retired army colonel and former State Department official," will appear at a "news conference today at University Lutheran Church on behalf of another Fort Lewis soldier, Suzanne Swift". Watada, whose parents joined him for yesterday's news conference, is the first commission officer to refuse deployment in Iraq. Click here to sign an online petition supporting Watada. Suzanne Swift was arrested last week after deciding she couldn't return to Iraq and going AWOL.
In Iraq, as reported by Jonathan Finer (Washington Post), Kristian Menchaca and Thomas L. Tucker, two US soldiers who were abducted last Friday, were found dead "near a power plant in Yusifiyah." The discovered corpses are said to have signs of "barbaric" torture. Meanwhile, the Mujahedeen Shura Council is claiming credit for the deaths. The Financial Times of London concludes: "The news will tarnish the positive image US and Iraqi officials have been projecting recently of a government that is gradually getting to grips with the security situation and turning the tide against the insurgents."
Other corpses were discovered in Iraq today, Reuters notes that two were found in Hilla ("blindfolded and hands tied") while in Baghdad, five corpses were found ("handcuffed with gunshot wounds in the head").Bombings? Baghdad saw a series of bombings. RTE News reports on one near "a second-hand clothes market in central Baghdad" which resulted in at least two dead and and at least 28 wounded. Al Jazeera notes that roadside bomb as well as a cra bomb "in a a crowded market in the eastern district of Jamila in Baghdad" that left seven dead and 18 wounded. The BBC reports that, in Basra, "at least one elderly woman was killed along with a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside a home for the elderly". Reuters notes that five others were wounded. Another car bomb went off in the Hurriya district of Baghdad "killing at least five people and wounding 11".
Reuters reports that while the US miliatry is saying Ramadi is not the target for a major offensive, the Red Cross has "voiced concern on difficult living conditions in Ramadi". Reporting for IPS, Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil write: "A week spent in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, reveals that residents are suffering from lack of water, electricity, cooking gas and medical supplies for the hospitals. The streets are eerily empty, and it appears that many people have now left the city, althought possibly as many as 150,000 still remain in their homes, either because they are too afraid to leave or they have nowhere to go."
As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show the US military is claiming an exchange was aimed at insurgents with 15 dead while Iraqi witnesses disputing the official (US) account*. The exchange took place in Bushahin ("village . . . north of Baghdad") The AP reports that "AP Television News footage showed blood splattered on the ground and matresses and spent bullet casings inside a poultry farm, where residents said the civilians were killed." Reuters quotes Mohammed Jaba al-Qaduir, father of Jassem and Mazen killed in the raid, "They did not attack any Americans or Humvees. We don't have any problems with the Americans. We don't have any foreigners here." Reuters mentions that one of the corpses, according to a "police source" was that of a twelve-year-old boy."
Finally, Barbara McMahon, Michael Howard and Julian Borger report (for the Guardian of London) that four prosecutors in Rome have signed "[t]he request to charge Mario Lozano, a national guardsman from New York, with the murder of Nicola Calipari." As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "Calipari was escorting Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena after she had been released by kidnappers. U.S. troops opened fire on their car killing Calipari and injuring Sgrena. . . . Tune in to Democracy Now on Thursday when Giuliana Sgrena joins us in the Firehouse studio." Also remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
*Thanks to Zach and Mia for passing on the Lupien item.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Different things

I wasn't going to post tonight but I was on the phone with Rebecca -- she had a miscarriage this weekend and write about it in "nancy keenan, rick hertzberg (the useless 1s)" -- when someone pulled up in her drive. We were still talking when her ex-husband (and current flame) got back from checking to see who it was.

It was C.I. and I told her I'd let her go but she said to wait a minute, she was laughing at this point and it was good to hear her laugh. She said to check her site in a few minutes because C.I. had brought ice cream and tabloids and there was a cover that she was putting up.

I hope she's holding up as well as she says.

We learned that Saturday night (though I think for those on the phone from the east coast it was already Sunday morning -- I don't remember very clearly, it was such a shock). She seems to be handling it but you never know how much is the public face and how much is reality. (I'm sure we've all put on a public face before, I know I have.)

So I was curious to see what had her laughing so hard and it's the cover above. In honor of the fighter Rebecca, I'll post it here as well. Maybe someone else needs a laugh tonight.

Let me change the subject before I get weepy.

Tomorrow Di-Fi co-sponsors a bill that basically does nothing. It "asks." It "asks" that Bully Boy present the Congress with some sort of Iraq plan. (I wouldn't call it an "exit plan.") It asks that Bully Boy begin a phased withdrawal. Which, he won't listen to it but if he did, just means a few come home only to send more over when the bombings or shootings get too bad. That would be his excuse. "I was happy to bring some of the troops home when it appeared Iraq was stabilizing but now they are needed back in Iraq" with a lot of "God bless you"s thrown in for good measure.

She couldn't support John Kerry's plan last week. (My other senator, Barbara Boxer could and did. It would be nice to live in a state with two Democrat senators. Instead, I live in one where I have a Democrat -- Boxer -- and one that's a Democrat in name only -- DiFi.)

It's all a shell game. I think she got spooked by realizing how much hatred there was towards her. (Trust me, it's hatred for a lot of us.) She's started trying to talk a good game. Maybe those protests outside her local offices got to her?

Not enough to set her straight, but enough to cause her to make (meaningless) noises?

I'm going to post C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and then call it night. Put on some music probably. Here's "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
In Baghdad, Reuters notes two bombings, a "car bomb" at "a police checkpoint" resulted in three deaths and three wounded and a "sucicide car bomber" who killed at least four others and wounded at least ten. CBS and the AP note "[a] parked car bomb" that killed five and wounded nine.
The BBC notes: "Violence is continuing in Baghdad despite the introduction of stringent new security measures last week that have seen more than 40,000 Iraqi and US forces deployed in the city." Dahr Jamail reports on the days since Bully Boy's photo-op in the Green Zone and concludes: "Each passing day only brings the people of Iraq and soldiers serving in the US military deeper into the quagmire that the brutal, despicable, tortured occupation has become."
Bombings also took place outside of Baghdad. The AP notes that three people were killed in Fallujah when a roadside bomb exploded while another roadside bomb, in Hillah, killed at least person and wounded at least four others. Reuters notes that, in Najaf, one person died from a bombing while at least five were wounded.
Reuters also reports an attack in Karbala where "a senior police officer" was shot to death and two of his bodyguards were wounded. AP identifies the man as Abdel-Shahid Saleh and notes that Saadoun Abdul-Hussein Radi, electrician, was shot to death in Amarah.
Kidnappings? Reuters reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council, which most recently claimed credit for four of the seven Saturday bombings in Baghdad, is now claiming to be holding four Russian diplomats which, Reuters notes, appears to be a reference to the June 3rd attack. The attack resulted in the death of Russian diplomat Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov and the four who were kidnapped were identified by the Russian embassy as: Feodor Zaycev, Rinat Agliulin, Anatolii Smirnov and Oleg Feodosiev. AFP reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council is also claiming that it has the two US soldiers reported to have been taken by "masked gunmen" on Friday. AFP describes it as a body that "groups eight armed factions led by Al-Qaeda."
The US military has not confirmed the abduction of the two soldiers. AFP reports that their names have been released: "Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Thomas L. Tucker, 25."Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported that "more than 8,000" US and Iraqis are searching for Menchaca and Tucker and the AFP notes that seven US troops have been wounded since the search began Friday.Meanwhile, CBS and AP quote Christina Menchaca, wife of Kristian, saying, "We're basically just watching the news because no one else knows anything about it, no one has heard anything about it."
On the American, Keith Maupin, who has been MIA since April 8, 2004, the AFP reports: "The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera aired a video a week later that showed the American seated on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen. A month later it aired what it said was the execution of an American soldier, but the images were unclear and the army said it was inconclusive."
Al Jazeera is reporting that Iraq forces will be responsible for Muthanna relieving the British forces. This is the area that Japanese troops were also responsible for possibly adding creedence to the press coverage of the rumors that Japan will be announcing, prior to June 29th, that it is withdrawing all of its troops from Iraq. CBS and the AP note that Japan, England and Australia will "continue moving to "support role." The AP notes: "The decision, announced after [Nouri] al-Maliki met with Japan's ambassador, does not necessarily mean that any U.S.-led coalition forces will be withdrawn from Muthana province."
Ramadi? As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show, "major military operations" continue as "helicopters and airplanes are flying over the town." Reuters reports that "seven tanks moved along Maarif Street and July 17 Street. Two explosions were heard but the cause was not clear." Ali Hussein Mohammed is quoted as saying: "The water is totally cut off. We have to go to the river to get water. There has been no water for 24 hours and we have no gas to boil the river water to drink it."
Meanwhile, in Italy, the AFP reports that prosecutors are saying that the US marine who shot Nicola Calipari should be put on trial. Calipari had been sent to Iraq by the Italian government to rescue kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Though he and Sgrena made it safely to the car, while traveling to the airport to leave Iraq, their car (or "caravan" in some reports at the time) was shot at by US forces. In the attack, Calipari was killed. Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columiba University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Finally, Bully Boy is due to visit Vienna this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and a group is attempting to organize a loud, if not welcoming, reception for him. "Bush Go Home" organizer Michael Proebsting tells the AAP: "The name George Bush, the name of the American president, has become a symbol for war crimes, for Abu Ghraib, for Guantanamo, for Jenin."