Friday, December 15, 2006

smell sensors

Tonight, we were all in the kitchen cooking a kind of pot luck (all but Ty because he's the Sunday designate for dinner -- we're all wiped out and want him rested). I ended up calling the stove and fried some chicken which Ty and C.I. devoured. They both love it and C.I. really can't fry. I've heard that before but I attempted to talk C.I. through a fried okra recipe Betty had sent and, as C.I. will tell you, it was a disaster. There was also a very huge thing of Trina's Waldorf Salad in the Kitchen that Jim and Jess teamed up on. Maggie loves that recipe and asked me to note it again. She said she's not a cook (and she's not) but she has taken to that recipe.

Buddy e-mailed and he had a question for me, since I'm always over at C.I.'s why don't I just move in? Oh no. You don't give up a dream place in California. I had my eye on my neighborhood and when I moved in, I took a smaller place (I was using the living room as my studio and the only bathroom doubled as a dark room). I had my eye on the dream place and didn't move up right away. I had to wait for people to move and, sadly, to die. I moved up bit by bit and I love my place. I'm going to be like the last occupant and hold onto it until I die.

C.I. actually did offer twice. I don't remember what was going on the first time. Oh, yes, I do. There was a series of crimes in the neighborhood and Maggie was going on about how it wasn't safe to live there, she was in a total panic, and C.I. suggested I could move in. I appreciated the offer but I love my place (and there's crime everywhere). The second time was right before it was announced that the gang was moving in. I knew Ava, Ty and Jess were going to and I suspected Dona and Jim were as well. Right before it was announced, C.I. told me and said if I wanted to as well there was plenty of room. I appreciated the offer but I love my place.

I usually drop by here in the evenings. Maggie says it's like the bar in Cheers and I say, "Maggie, that show was so awful." I'm joking.

But there's always a crowd here which is fun to visit but I probably couldn't create anything here (I need my space) and I also probably would be too tempted to avoid working on my stuff. This week Jess and C.I. were speaking at a college and this professor, who creeped them both out, started trying to get them to go to lunch with him. His questions were too personal for C.I.'s taste and too persistent. He started talking about the chips thing that Law and Disorder had reported on. And saying he'd done some work like that years ago.

C.I. ended up saying, "I have to make a phone call," called a friend, got off the phone and told the guy to drop dead basically.

The friend is over this evening. He worked with the guy and C.I.'s big question on the phone was creep or not creep?

But he was discussing all the sorts of projects he had worked on. There was one that stood out to me. In the seventies, they developed sensors that could smell. Or that were supposed to smell. I don't know if this was used near Langely or what. But I found that fascinating. What they would pick up on, I kept pestering the guy with questions, was things like what you had eaten. Apparently, we give off that smell. He says it's more noticeable when there's a dramatic change and used an example of when he was working on a project overseas, came back and his wife couldn't figure out what the smell was? He'd been eating a great deal of native and spicy foods.

He talked about the radio chips as well but I was lost in sensors that could pick up smells. He's been over many times before and usually we talk about music (he has very good taste) but this was the first time I'd heard about what he used to do. If I wasn't blogging, I'd be pestering him for more details about sensors that could pick up smell. I don't know if they ever worked. I know they were tried out.

That just fascinates me.

The chips are radio somethings. I can't remember the full thing but they're being used by Wal-Mart, Target and other big stores.

But there's always someone like that in the mix, someone who just surprises you. I knew this man had worked for the government and I knew he was some sort of a techie but I had no idea what sort of things he'd worked on.

He should probably avoid me anytime he sees me because I pestered him with so many questions about the smell sensors and I have a ton more.

Betty's latest chapter is up -- "Did you hear the one about a Fat Ass who'd do anything for a Blizzard?" -- so be sure to check that out.

I should stop before I go on more about the smell sensors which I really do find fascinating. Oh, C.I. just came through and mentioned something that I'd missed. In the snapshot, Dahr Jamail and Sarah Olson are mentioned and they will be guests on KPFA's The Morning Show Monday, for the first segment. That's 7:00 am PST and remember if you're not in the listening area, you can listen online. I was probably lost in the world of smell sensors when that was announced. The military is attempting to force Olson and Jamail to testify in Ehren Watada's court-martial. So this should be a pretty interesting interview.

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

Friday, December 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's been attacked repeatedly by the US military, the US military announces that three troops have died, the US media attempts to ignore the big Iraq story of the day, Kyle Snyder continues speaking out and Donald the Rumsfled leaves an appointed office but he does not complete a 'tour of duty.'

Starting in England, with the big story.
Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) report that Carne Ross ("Britain's key negotiator at the UN") statement in the Butler inquiry (2004) that's only now been revealed and it exposes the lies behind the 'case' for war in England. AFP reports that Ross declared "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." Ross also declared that: "It was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained" (Al Jazeera).

Though Carne Ross' statements have been kept secret (swept under the 'national security' rug), Last month,
he did speak to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee and note that the intel offered to the public was "manipulated." As Brown and McSmith note, the Commons Select Committee is the body that's brought the information public while an unidentified member of the Foreign Affairs committee states: "There was blood on the carpet over this. I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles ovre Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff." The Irish Times declares: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for attacking Iraq has been dealt a new blow with the release of once-secret evidence from a former British diplomat who dismissed the threat of weapons of mass destruction."

As the mainstream media in the US bends over backwards to note Ross' statements, many may be reminded of the Downsing Street Memos and how they were greeted with silence and then derision. AP was the excuse many hid behind with DSM -- claiming they would have run a story if AP had covered it -- if only a wire story . . . Well
AP has covered it.

Turning to peace news,
Alex Zdan (Trenton Times) notes Tuesday speech Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, gave to the Nassau Presbyterian Church where she described how her son became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq ("In studying all the literature, he was stunned by what he saw") which included refusing to accept a "desk job" in Iraq. On last Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho explained that the refusal was for himself as well as those serving under him, "He felt the best thing he could do for his men was to remain behind and speak truth." She is asking for everyone to contact their members of Congress and put pressure on Congress to carry out their oversight role. Monday, Carolyn Ho appeared on Democracy Now! and discussed her own progress when meeting with members of Congress. Outside of Maxine Waters, not much. So those who haven't contacted their Congress members should considering doing so.

Ehren Watada, as Aaron Glantz (IPS) reported, is also the subject of subpoenaes -- the US military is attempting to compell three journalists to testify in court: Sarah Olson, Dahr Jamail, and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin). Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that Olson is "one of few reporters covering the anti-war movement and the voices of dissent" and that she has not decided yet how to respond to the subpoena -- Sarah Olson: "Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."

Another US war resister continues speaking out:
Kyle Snyder Washington's Bellingham Herald notes an appearence at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. Last weekend, at a speaking appearance, police showed up. Snyder continues speaking out.

Watada and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
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, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.
Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.


As Aileen Alfandary noted on
KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), two car bombs went off outside US bases in Ramadi.


Qais al-Bashir (AP) reports that Muhsin al-Kanan, a cleric who was tight with British forces, was shot dead in Basra and that a civilian was shot dead in Kut. Reuters reports that "a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency" was shot dead in Diwaniya as was an oil company guard.


Reuters cites hospital sources in Mosul having received 13 bodies today.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's the target of US forces.
Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) reports that that the IRC states there has been "a spate of attacks on its offices over the last three years" and in the most recently, according the the IRC's vice president (Jamal Al Karbouli), about a week ago, "US forces had occupied and nearly destroyed its Falluja office, held staff for hours, and burned two cars clearly marked with its neutral symbol." CBS and AP report: "'We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times,' Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left.'"
Today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from woundssustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team,1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of enemy fire while conducting operationsin Ninewa Province. Two other Soldiers were wounded and transported to a Coalition Forces’ medical treatment facility."

Tomorrow is the first of two 'big meets' for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki.
KUNA reports that he "will convene another National Reconciliation Conference for political leaders from across Iraq." While he gears up for his conference, Jawad al-Bolani is in Syria apparently not overly concerned with the opinions of US Secretary of State Condi Rice. KUNA reports the Interior Minister of Iraq is there "to discuss security issues as the first Iraqi official to visit Damascus since diplomatic relations were resumed between the two neighboring countries." This comes at a time when Tareg al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's vice-presidents, is in the US and criticizing Bully Boy's 'plan' Al Jazeera quotes him saying: "Imagine one day waking up and finding out that your nation's leaders had completely dismantled all police and military. As a result, there is no one policeman, or state, or federal law enforcement agent, or even one national guard or any soldier to protect you from criminal elements, or terrorists. It will be total chaos. Then imagine that instead of calling back the army and security forces, the authorities in this imaginary scenario decided to form a new army and police from racist militias, some mercenaries and organized crime gangs. . . . This is exactly what has happened in Iraq."

In a
lengthy talk/performance with the Washington Post editorial board, Condi Rice attempted to buff her image a bit but mainly demonstrated (yet again) that even her fabled 'expertise' in Russia/the Soviet Union is inflated. The take away should be Rice's declaration, "I find Prime Minister Maliki a strong man." A statement so laughable it begs for a remix and one that will come back to haunt her.

In other things that should haunt, Donald the Rumsfled began a three-day farewell while most Americans wonder, "I thought he'd left already." Today it was time to 'salute' him and watch for the media that makes (at best) an idiot of itself or (at worst) spits on democracy by referring to the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense's 'tour of duty.' The Rumsfled was a civilian. Civilians are in charge of the military in the US. He did not complete a 'tour of duty' but fools and those with no respect for democracy will repeat the nonsense.
Roger Runningen and Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) note this remark by the Bully Boy: "He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." File it away from the future War Crimes Tribunal should Bully Boy attempt to say he was confused about what was being discussed.


kyle snyder

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holding pattern

The next panelist to speak, Keith Harmon Snow, emphasized: "People need to know they are being lied to [in regard to Darfur]. ... Sudan and the Darfur region have a lot of oil, and it has two-thirds of the world’s supply of high-quality gum arabic. Corporations such as Coke, Pepsi, and Pfizer rely on cheap supplies of gum arabic." He went on to say that "The mass media and Hollywood are fooling the public about what’s really happening in Sudan. ... The CIA and USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] are the real forces who want to overthrow the government of Sudan."
When asked what he thought was important about holding Thursday's forum, organizer and panelist Dimitri Oram replied, "For the first time, one of these events on Darfur is really shining a light on the U.S. role in Darfur and other African nations." He continued, "The Rwandan Defense Forces sent to Darfur are themselves responsible for crimes against humanity and acts of genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and these troops were trained and are highly linked to the U.S. military." Oram compared the U.S. claims of genocide in Darfur to the war propaganda used to justify U.S. military intervention in Bosnia and in Kosovo.

Trevor e-mailed an article entitled "What’s behind the Darfur campaign" by Catherine Donaghy from Workers World. He wondered if I would highlight it? No problem with that. Keith Harmon Snow and an opinion running contrary to the mainstream media organ? Absolutely.

Trevor was wondering if I was avoiding Darfur yesterday? No. I was avoiding the topic of people who waste time and people who act as an echo chamber but want to be called 'independent.' I was avoiding silly schoolgirls who sleep with their teachers and want to pass that off as 'scholarship.' I can't imagine (I could be wrong) any of that making it into The Third Estate Sunday Review this weekend. But we are working on a feature. I'm over at C.I.'s now and Ty, Jim, Ava, Dona, C.I. and I have tossed around ideas all week. (This isn't the piece we're hoping to write about Danny Schechter's book. I know some readers are waiting for that. This is a different piece.) Mike's been tossing around ideas and Rebecca, Elaine and Cedric as well. (Betty's very busy getting ready for Christmas. We've spoken only once this week which is really not the way things usually go for us on the phone. I'm not sure of Wally's schedule and haven't spoken to him this week. It's either finals week or he already finished courses this semester. If I don't know -- can't remember in this case -- I don't bother anyone during finals week.)

But Keith Harmon Snow and Bonnie Faulkner are truth tellers. They try to get the truth out there. And to say more than that would require commenting on the opposite and we'll be noting that at The Third Estate Sunday Review so I am holding it for that.

What I really want to reveal, more than anything else, a 'title' C.I.'s come up for someone at a certain magazine which is hysterical. We also have two illustrations planned that we haven't had time to do yet. Instead, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, December 14, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich talks the costs of war, the US military divides Baghdad into "ethno-sectarian" regions, mass kidnapping rocks the Iraqi capital, and John McCain wants to enlist and fight . . . Well, wants others to enlist and fight.

"Someone has to rally the American people, to let them know that the money is there right now to bring our troops home. Democrats were put in power in November to chart a new direction in Iraq. It's inconceivable that having been given the constitutional responsibility to guide the fortunes of America in a new direction, that Democratic leaders would respond by supporting the administration's call for up to $160 billion in new funding for the war in Iraq," so explained
Dennis Kucinich to Joshua Scheer (Truthdig) his reasons for seeking the 2088 Democratic nomination for president. Kucinich explains the $160 billion isn't just a pie-the-sky number, it represents massive spending which isn't going to allow for "a new agenda for the American people in housing, in healthcare, in education". More information on Kucinich's campaign can be found at his site: Dennis Kucinich for President 2008. There you can read his announcement which includes the following:

I ran for President in 2004, not just to challenge the war and Democratic Party policy, but to bring forth a message: Fear ends. Hope begins. My candidacy will call forth the courage of the American people to meet the challenge of terrorism without sacrificing our liberties and everything that is near and dear to us. My candidacy will inspire hope for a new America, where social, economic and political progress is grounded in work for peace.

Carl Hulse (New York Times) reports that Democratic leadership in Congress has decided that the problem is not the funding of the war, it's when the bill statement arrives. As Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News the Bully Boy is expected to ask for an additional 100 billion dollars in funds at a time when the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) have already been funded with approximately 379 billion dollars. Which brings us back to Kucinich's point about what loses out when war gets a blank check.

What's all that money buying? Well meet the new catrographists -- the US military who've drawn up a new map of Baghdad.
Ned Parker and Ali Hamdani (Times of London) report "that the US military has drawn up a new map of Baghdad to reflect its ethno-sectarian fault lines . . . it lists the mixed neighbourhoods considered to be most explosive."

The new map of Baghdad designates many of the established and well known landmarks, the Tigris river, Baghdad International Airport, etc. The new map also designates areas the illegal war has made infamous such as the heavily fortified Green Zone -- an area that rightly calls to mind, in shape, a tea kettle -- buffered by Bremer walls but always in danger of boiling over at any moment -- and, of course, to the west, there's Abu Ghraib -- Donald the Rumsfled's pride and joy.

The map declares the five most dangerous neighborhoods to be: Adhamlya, Amariya, Ghazallya, Khadamlya and Khadaslya.

And that's the map, drawn up by the US government.

And the violence drawn up by the US government? On Saturday's
RadioNation with Laura Flanders, MADRE's Yanar Mohammed discussed how it wasn't until after the invasion that she was ever asked whether she was a Shia or Sunni and that the questions were coming not from Iraqis, but US government officials. The civil war created and fanned by the Bully Boy led to another mass kidnapping in Baghdad. The most infamous one this year is the November 14th kidnapping and today's echoes the earlier one in that much is still disputed.

CBS and AP cite CBS News' Pete Gow's report on the kidnapping: "Armed gunmen have abducted a group of men in broad daylight in central Baghdad. Police sources tell CBS News that the gunmen dressed in military uniforms were members of the Interior Ministry police commandos. The gunmen let off volleys of gunfire as a distraction and rounded up a group of 20-30 men, seemingly at random, and drove them away to an unknown location.
AFP reports that while the gunfire was going on "workers ran for cover and motorists made rapid U-turns to escape the unofficial dragnet" and that assailants (approximately 100) were using "sports utilivty vehicles of the type issued to government security forces". AFP reports that it was 29 hostages and they were all Shi'ites who "were later released in two areas of east Baghdad"; however, a source ("Iraqi defence official") states that 49 people were kidnapped including "20 unidentified passers-by".


CBS and AP report: "a sucicide car bomber slammed into an Iraqi army check point, killing a soldier and a civilian and wounding nine other people" in Baghdad. Reuters notes a roadside bomb near Mussayab took the life of one Iraqi soldier and left four more wounded, a roadside bomb in Mosul took the life of one civilian and left another wounded, two died from a car bomb in Mahaweel with six more wounded, and a roadside bomb wounded a British soldier in Basra. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that Yousif Al Mosawi ("general secretary of Thar Allah party") survived an attempted attack from an IED and that three car bombs in Baghdad left fifteen dead and thirty-five wounded.


Reuters notes an attack on Adel Abdul Mahdi (one of Iraq's vice-presidents) in Baghdad that "gunmen opened fire on" and "guards returned fire" but no one was reported injured. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports a boys' school guard shot dead in Baghdad, three people (one a police officer) were shot dead in Mosul. And KUNA reports that yesterday Al-Hurrah's Omar Mohammad was shot and wounded.

Reuters reports six corpses were discovered in Mosul, 15 corpses were discovered in Khallisa, the corpses of three Iraqi solders were turned over to a hospital near Mosul and two corpses were discovered in al-Lij. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports 45 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

As the chaos and violence continue nonstop, Iraqis register their opinions.
Al Jazeera reports on a new survey from the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies that polled 2000 Iraqis and discovered that 95 "per cent of Iraqis believe the country is worse off now than before the war in 2003" and almost "90 per cent described the government's implementation of its commitments and promises as very poor." Al Jazeera pairs the results from a joint poll by NBC and the Wall St. Journal where only "one in four Americans approves of George Bush's administration's handling of the conflict in Iraq."

NBC and WSJ poll had a sample of 1,006 Americans and found "69 percent say they are less confident that the war will come to a successful conclusion, while just 19 percent -- a new low in the NBC-Journal poll on this question -- say they're more confident. Moreover, 65 percent believe the U.S. is already doing everything it can to reduce violence there." That results of that poll were announced Wednesday. Earlier this week, CBS News revealed the results of their own poll: "50 percent say the U.S. should begin to end its involvement altogether" and Bully Boy's approval rating hit an all time low: 21%. (The poll had 922 respondents.) The CBS News poll results were announced Monday, on Tuesday, came the USA Today/Gallup poll (1009 respondents) which found 54% of respondents stating Bully Boy "will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors"

This as US Senator John McCain launches his own effort to challenge the Bully Boy as American's choice for most useless politician.
AP reports that John McCain, with Joey Lieberman at his side, played the tough boy in the heavily fortified Green Zone while calling for the US to deploy 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq. You're over there right now and trained, so pick up a gun, Big John.

In peace news, Canada's New Democratic Party has released their statement "
Canadians call for sanctuary for U.S. war resisters" in support of war resisters and the petition collected by War Resisters Support Campaign which works to help US war resisters in Canada with legal advice and other assistance. In the United States, The Athens News (Ohio) reports that "[f]orty Athens County residents signed a group letter to the Secretary of the Army," Francis Harvey, calling for the "discharge for soldiers who have served honorably in Iraq but refuse to redeploy because their experience there convinces them the Iraq war is immoral and against international law."

Such a discharge would cover war resisters like
Kyle Snyder but it wouldn't cover others such as Ehren Watada. They are a part of public war resistance within the military and the movement also includes Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.

Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.

kyle snyder

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Keith Harmon Snow was the guest on today's Guns & Butter

Did you get the latest copy of The Nation? Maybe not, if you don't subscribe. Well, if I had cats, it would make a great lining for the litter box. The last issue wasn't any better and I've pretty much had it with the magazine. Are Naomi Klein and Christian Parenti the only reporters the magazine has? I could go into this for about 50 paragraphs but (a) I don't have the time and (b) we'll be addressing The Nation this week at The Third Estate Sunday Review. So changing topics, please read Elaine's "Maria, Francisco and Miguel." She's already called Maria and me. She felt it came off negative and it didn't. That's where Maria, Francisco and Miguel are at right now. It's impossible to hit the ground running and, in the early days, all you notice is what didn't work. They got a lot of favorable e-mails on their first issue and they're getting it on the second one. Elaine said if I'd told her that, she would have included it. And I understand that. But it's about where they are at with the newsletter, how they feel about it, and I thinks he captured that perfectly. Maria says it's captures their current mood perfectly.

By this weekend, my latest review will go up. It may be crap. It may be worth reading. One needs to be done and there's a CD I really love. So that's just the way it is. I am still worn down from Ireland and the funeral. I also am really hating the weather because I like fresh air but if I leave my windows open lately, I wake up cold and I hate the cold. Winter has come to California and I am miserable in the winter. I'm also aware that "winter" here is not where it is elsewhere. That was driven home most recently when I went with C.I. to speak at some colleges and we encountered snow. I was excited for about five minutes and then wishing it weren't so cold.

Maria had a question tonight, why did some things in the post yesterday lack spacing? Because of the Beta switch. You'll see that at all the community sites that have switched to Beta, especially when an illustration is added to the post. It's one of the Beta bugs and will hopefully be fixed in the future. I did space properly while writing. It just didn't post as such.

Today was Wendesday which means KPFA's Guns and Butter. The focus was on terrorism and the private profit and the guest was Keith Harmon Snow. I have a lot of respect from KHS and you know I do for Bonnie Faulkner as well. So I'm not surprised that they continue to explore root causes behind the rush to 'save' Darfur. But it is troubling that others do not. Pru had congratulated me in an e-mail on the 'good catch' in finding The London Review of Books article on that. I can't claim credit, C.I. passed me the print magazine. But I can note what Pru has, which is there is a real discussion in London. There's not in this country. It's all blindly follow the Modern Day Carrie Nations and scream "War! War! War!" Jonathan Steele can discuss the situation in The Guardian of London and explain why war is not the answer. The London Review of Books can run an excellent article. But here we don't get that.

We do from Bonnie's show. But that's the exception. I was reading something a week or two back about how Israel was refusing to allow people from the region, refugrees, admission. I heard about that on KPFA, I believe on the evening news, months ago. But that's the reality in this country. Too many exist as nothing but an echo chamber.

That's it for me tonight. Check out KPFA's Guns and Butter if you missed it (which hopefully you didn't). Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Tuesdays bombings repeat today (on a smaller scale which is the pattern), Saudi Arabia whispers to Dick Cheney, the US military wants more, the Iraqi military has their own laundry list, and is Emily Greene a liar, a fool, a tool, a stooge or an enabler as she rushes to deny abuses of Iraqi women?

Starting with reality, on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints Dahr Jamail summarized conditions in Iraq:

What we do have is a situation that's well beyond the control of the US military . . . The two hottest spots we can talk about are Baghdad and Al-Anbar Province. One thing that people tend to overlook is that Al-Anbar Province is one third of the geographic area of the entire country, so that just right off form starters, we can say is completely out of control of the US military. Marines are being killed there every day. Dozens are wounded every single day and we're not getting this information. And it's very interesting. If you look at the news, we see this kind of unquestioning reporting going on where another US soldier killed or marine killed in A-Anbar but what it doesn't say is that it's typically in one of two cities, that's either Falluja or Ramadi almost every single time. So it really indicates how high the level of violence is there. Recently, 3,000 more marines were called off of ships in the Gulf and sent into Ramadi specifically, which, ironically, just yesterday the first female marine [officer][
Megan M. McClung] was killed in that area as well. So we have a situation where, as you [Nora Barrows-Friedman] described in the highlights, where, really hundreds are dying every single day, it's not "scores," it's not "tens," it's not "dozens." It's hundreds of Iraqis are dying every single day. On average, it's well over a hundred a day just in Baghdad alone. And then if you look what's happening in places like Ramadi and Falluja which are under a consistent -- somewhere between 'low burn' and 'high burn' seige by the US military -- we have snipers killing many people in each city every single day, US snipers. We still have medical workers being harrassed. We still have all of the things you and I have talked about from almost the very beginning, Nora, back in January 2004, but on a much, much broader level, not just in one city, and not just even in one province, but really across all of Iraq -- even now bleeding into the Kurdish controlled north."

Staying with reality, we'll move to today's violence.


CBS and AP note a Baghdad bombing "near a crowded bus stop" that left at least 11 dead and at least 27 more wounded. Ammar Karim (The Australian) describes the scene: "Bodies of the victims lay scattered around the street amid pools of blood and the burning wreckage of at least two cars and a row of market stalls set up by a nearby bus stations." AP quotes eyes witness Abu Haider al-Kaabi: "A Volkswagen car exploded right near the bust stop, hitting a group of people, including women and children who were waiting to take a bus to a fruit and vegetatble market".

CNN notes two car bombs that exploded in the capital's New Baghdad district resulting in at least five deaths and an additional 10 people wounded. Xinhua puts the count of car bombs in Iraq today at seven (seven total for the entire country) and counts 29 dead from them which includes an attack on an Iraqi army base in Kirkuk that left ten Iraqi soldiers dead. Sameer N. Yacoub and Qais al-Bahsir (AP) report that another bombing, in Baquba, resulted in no physical deaths or injuries but it "destroyed a small Shiite shrine" while, in Musayyib, three roadside bombs exploded resulting in one death and one wounded. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports a mortar attack in Baladiat that killed one and left six more wounded. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Jurf al-Sakar left one person dead and three wounded.


Sameer N. Yacoub and Qais al-Bashir (AP) report a home invasion in al-Hesna resulted in assailants shooting dead nine members of a family. Reuters notes the family members killed were "four men, two women and three children" and that, near Balad, an attack on an Iraqi check point resulted in the wounding of four Iraqi soldiers.


Thomas Wagner (AP) reports that seven corpses ("tortured") were discovered in Mosul. Reuters notes that a corpse was discovered in Kirkuk, two corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya, and four corpses were discovered near Falluja.

As the chaos and violence continues day after day, both
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) and John F. Burns (New York Times) report a new 'plan' to cut down on the violence: provide jobs! As Kurdish legislator Mahmoud Othman tells Raghavan, "It's a bit late, as usual. They should have done this three years ago. In this country, they have spent so much on security without results. If they had spent one-tenth of that on creating jobs, more projects and fighting unemployment, things would have been better now."

The stop-gap measure (it's not a plan and it's not implemented) comes as
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports that both the US marines and army are advocating that Congress provide them with "permanent increases in personnel" and while, as Michael R. Gordon and Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) point out, 'readiness' is just around the corner for Iraqi armies according to the country's national security advisor.

Did someone say, not quiet, not right?
AFP reports this 'readiness' isn't just conditional upon future predictions, it also includes a list of wants: "more arms for the Iraqi army, more powers and training in order to be capable of handling security missions all over the country." Those are the words of the puppet Nouri al-Maliki and appear to indicate that when ousted by the US, he may not even grasp it, so removed from reality is he already.

The puppet reflects his master -- Bully Boy -- and shares company with a lazy press that can't stop jaw boning about toothless, idiotic 'reports.' Noting the 'snowjobs' weren't reality on yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dahr Jamail declared, "The reality is this a permanent occupation. They don't give a damn about the Iraqi people. They're not going to leave They're just trying to get the oil set up. And they're going to stay there until that happens and until it's all extracted."

But all the defocusing on 'listening tours' and 'reports' and other nonsense allows the Bully Boy to give the impression that he's 'active' and 'involved' -- so involved that, possibly, next year he can come up with a 'plan.'
Danny Schechter (News Dissector) notes: "I can't wait for the Decider to Decide and for President Bush to announce his new revised version of his unrevised war plan. We will will have to wait a bit longer, perhaps to next year. And no matter that OVER SEVENTY PERCENT of the American people disagree with the current policy, he is not to be hurried with the media still taking him at his word as a rational decision maker. He is stuck. That's for sure. And anyone expecting new leadership in the White House might want to consider buying a bridge I am selling to Brooklyn."

While Bully Boy stalls the (willing) press, Saudi Arabia's not so patient. This morning,
Helene Cooper (New York Times) reported that last month (after Thanksgiving), Dick Cheney was told by King Abdullah that if US forces withdraw from Iraq, the Saudi government will back the Sunnis. Cooper's story comes out just as Robin Wright (Washington Post) reports on the fast exist of the Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who "flew out of Washington yesterday after informing Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and his staff that he would be leaving the post after only 15 months on the job, according to U.S. officials and foreign envoys. There has been no formal announcements from the kingdom."

Returning to yesterday's
KPFA's Flashpoints, Nora Barrows-Friedman and Dahr Jamail discussed the issue of women's rights in Iraq and noted the steady decline since the beginning of the illegal invasion. Prior to that, there were no "dress restrictions on women, they didn't have to cover up or wear a hijab," they could attend school, college, they held doctorates, they held postions in the government ministries. That's all changed. Dahr noted (and pay attention to this for later in the entry) "One of the first things that the US appointed Iraqi governing councile was to pass laws that would have done away with the laws that protect" the rights of women in Iraq. Though that was stopped it did "set the tone of what was going to happen in this inccreasingly fundamentalist" society where "There are no women's rights. Nothing is protected. It's a very fundamentalist government."

Nora Barrows-Friedman: I remember during the invasion and war against Afghanistan. Laura Bush was touting that country as a horrible place for women's rights and she herself was going to personally liberate the women. And now, after the invasion the Taliban has come back ten, a hundred-fold, it is worse for women in Afghanistan. Would you say the same is happening for women in Iraq?

Dahr agreed and noted "one of the consistent things we can see" using Afghanistan and Iraq as an example is that "if you're a woman you might want to seriously consider leaving because it's only a mtter of time before your rights are basically in the waste basket and horrible things are going to start happening to you."

Also addressed were the fact that the daily kidnappings in Baghdad (conservative estimate is thirty per day) target women more and more due to the fact that Bully Boy's 'liberation' has left them with no rights and little safeguards.

Today, the United Nations'
IRIN attempts to report on the realities for female prisoners in Iraq. Standing in the way is one Emily Greene, described as "a spokeswoman for the US military in Iraq" who is a liar, a fool, a tool or an enabler? While Green offers denials/lies, Faten Abdul Rhaman Mahmoud, one of the few women in the puppet government with any power (she heads the Ministry of Women's Affairs), attempts to address the situation. There's something very vile about the US government, whose actions have destroyed the rights of women, using a woman as window dressing to hide behind and there's something even more disgusting about a woman who allows herself to be used in a such a manner. Greene lies/misinforms/disinforms that there's no information of any women held prisoner "in Iraqi prisons. The ones that had been held for investigation by them had all been released months ago and no torture has occurred, she said."

Emily Greene meet
Um Ahmed who spoke with IPS about her imprisonment that did not take place "months ago" and that involved US forces who "told me they would rape me if I didn't tell them where my husband was, but I really didn't know." When her husband surrendered to the US military, the 'fun' just kept coming. Um Ahmed told Dahr Jamial and Ali al-Fadhily: "They told him they would rape me right in front of him if he did not confess he was a terrorist. They forced me to watch them beat him hard until he told them what they wanted to hear."

IRIN quotes Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud: "We don't know the exact number of remale prisoners but there are many being held in different prisons -- even though the [other ministries in the] government and US forces deny it. They are afraid of a counterattack from the country's conservative society." And though they may fear an attack, as noted by Dahr Jamail in his conversation with Nora Barrows-Friedman, the 'new' government set up post-illegal invasion has not given a damn about women's rights. IRIN also notes that Sarah Abdel Yassin of the Organization for Women's Freedom (OWF) whose own research backs up Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud's findings and she states, "The Ministry of Interior, [Ministry of] Defence and US forces are denying that there are female prisoners in Iraq but we have enough proof that they are there and that they suffer daily humiliation." An example is Samira Abdallah who was hooded for the entire four moths she was held, released in November only to find that her husband was now dead ("killed by the Iraqi army") as was her oldest daughter ("raped by a soldier" and then the daughter, 16-year-old Hania, killed herself) so it's now just her and her seven-year-old son.

When the Emily Greene's are presented with this 'choice' positions, the smart thing would be to turn them down. It should be perfectly obvious that Willie Caldwell gets all the 'prime' assignments and that they're being used as mere window dressing. By participating in the con, women like that not only enable the destruction of the rights of others, they make it all the less likely that a Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud will come along to speak out against abuses to women. But that's the point of using US women in window dressing roles, isn't it?

In war resister news,
Jane Cutter (PSL) reports on Saturday's actions in Seattle (despite "rain and wind") which including distributing brochures featuring war resisters such as Ehren Watada and Kyle Snyder and collecting "postcards to be hand delivered to pro-war Democratic senator Maria Cantwell." Meanwhile Lydia Lum (Diverse Education) explores past the 300 Japanese-Americans who refused to serve in WWII due to their families being (illegally) interned. Lum notes that 120,000 Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps, explores the "no-no boys" and ends in the present noting UCLA's Dr. Lane "Hirabayshi says the current case of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren K. Watada, who is of Japanese and Chinese descent, is the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, callin the war illegal and immoral. He faces court-martial and a possible prison term."

kyle snyder

the new york timessabrina tavernise
john f. burns
the washington postsudarsan raghavan

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rebecca, David Bacon

Illustration to the right is what we worked on for The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Bully Boy amused by the Beltway Babies." I didn't have time last night to weigh in on the James Baker Circle Jerk so let me note tonight that I will not be linking to or highlighting that nonsense report.
There are real issues to cover and all that crappy report and Bully Boy's 'consultations' this week are going to do is take the heat off of him to do something but they provide the cover to make it look as though he is doing something. He's doing nothing. As Elaine noted tonight, he's not even going to announce a 'new' 'plan' until January. There is no sense of urgency on his part and why should there be when the press can't stop yacking about that stupid report.

I keep checking Rebecca's site to see if she's posted the news yet and she hasn't. She said it was fine to note it this evening and it would make it easier for her when she does blog. So, if you haven't heard yet, she is pregnant.

Rebecca's had some problems with pregnancies before but she saw a doctor today and she'll be taking extra precautions this pregnancy, so hopefully, this will be a healthy pregnancy and she'll become a mother in 2007.

She said she doesn't want anyone worrying and for everyone to just be happy with her.
It's probably been a very long day for her so if she doesn't blog, don't be worried. We've also all worked out a schedule where we can grab a post at her site anytime she needs to grab some rest. C.I. wanted a very complete schedule so we've got primaries and backups for each day. It will never be a case of it being, for instance, my night and I can't do it so nothing goes up. If it becomes my night and for some reason I can't post, there is a list of people. I call the next on the list, passing off the baton and either they cover it, or they move on down the list. Everyone has put their names down and we'll be covering it.

Rebecca didn't know this morning she was pregnant. She wasn't feeling well, so she blogged early today. What she thought was a flu, C.I. realized was morning sickness.
Rebecca figures if C.I. figured out, someone else might as well so, after she and Flyboy were done at the doctor's, she gave her permission to pass the word along.
If you listen to KPFA you know David Bacon who speaks with Philip Maldari and Andrea Lewis each *WEDNESDAY* when he delivers the labor report. He has an important article entitled "Are Democrats Heading Over a Cliff?" (Truthout):
Having used Latino and labor votes to recapture control of the US Congress, some influential Democratic Party power brokers now seem intent on attacking the very base that produced their victory.
According to the William Velasquez Institute, seven of ten Latino voters chose Democratic candidates. A large percentage of Latino households have family members born outside the US, and millions of Democratic votes came from families where both documented and undocumented members live together. Union families voted for Democrats by about the same margin - seven of ten.
Democrats cannot win elections without Latinos and labor, yet conservative party leaders want to cooperate with Republicans on an immigration-enforcement program that targets them both.
At issue is the enforcement of employer sanctions, a provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Sanctions bar employers from hiring workers who don't have proper immigration documents. They don't really penalize employers, but they do make holding a job a federal crime for an undocumented worker. Sanctions enforcement has led to the firings of thousands of immigrant workers, including many this year.
Newly appointed House Intelligence Committee head Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), a former Border Patrol agent, wants this wave of firings to grow. Behind him is the party's eminence gris, Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). According to an interview earlier this year with The Hill Magazine, Emanuel thinks it's the key to winning support among voters who view immigrants as a threat. Even leading Washington lobbyist Frank Sharry, head of the National Immigration Forum, recently advised immigrant-rights groups that Democrats, having just won the election, should agree to this enforcement scheme in order to placate Republicans.
Rahm, Reyes and their Republican colleagues say sanctions have never been enforced on employers. "There has been almost zero enforcement," Rahm told The Hill.
Rahm is wrong. When the Clinton administration mounted its highly publicized Operation Vanguard program in the meat packing industry in 1998, more than 3,000 workers were forced from their jobs in just one enforcement action, according to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Democratic administration mounted other workplace raids as well. In Washington State's apple packing sheds, more than 600 people were fired in the middle of a union organizing drive the same year. Needless to say, with its leaders gone, the union lost.
If the Democrats in Congress support that plan, they are worse than cowardly and craven. Find new words because there are none to describe how despicable that will be and they will be.
Okay, Rebecca's "pregnant" is up. Be sure to read that. And here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Dennis Kucinich declares his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential race; a bombing takes place in Baghdad that's so severe, with at least 70 now declared dead and at least 236 wounded, even the New York Times will have to take notice; the US military announces the deaths of four troops in Al-Anbar Province; a new report finds that the conditions for women continue to decrease worldwide; in the US, Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan address the war; and impeachment continues to be discussed outside the halls of Congress with Elizabeth Holtzman declaring, "Frankly, if we had really debated whether there should be a war in Iraq, we may not have gone into Iraq. If the American people had been told the truth, if the Congress had been told the truth, I doubt very much that we’d be in this pickle now. How do you put a price tag on that? How do you estimate the consequences of going into a whole war from scratch on the basis of deceptions and lies?"

Starting with impeachement.
BuzzFlash interviews Elizabeth Holtzman on the topic. Holtzman is a former district attorney and a former member of Congress. As a member of Congress, the committee she served on was the one that drafted impeachment charges against "Tricky Dick" Nixon. In January, Holtzman penned "The Impeachment of George W. Bush" which not only remains the strongest piece to run in The Nation throughout the 2006 year, it also kicked off the discussion (which had seemed dormant after the 2003 invasion of Iraq) and Lewis Lapham's "The Case for Impeachment" (Harper's), the Center for Constitutional Rights's Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, David Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky's The Case for Impeachment (Olshansky is an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights) would quickly follow. More recently, Holtzman's published the book The Impeachment of George W. Bush.

In an
exclusive interview with BuzzFlash, Holtzman was asked about pundits who say that impeachment will not happen and the fact that Nancy Pelosi took impeachment 'off the table' (in an October interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS' 60 Minutes). Holtzman responded:

We can't start and end the conversation with what political pundits have to say. First of all, our generation -- the American people living right now -- have a responsibility for preserving and maintaining our Constitution. Are we going to allow it to be shredded by a president? Then, if this president can get away with starting a war based on lies, with breaking the law willfully, what's the next president going to do? What’s the precedent that's started here?
Secondly, it really doesn't matter what the pundits say, and it doesn't really matter what members of Congress have to say about impeachment. If the American people want impeachment, it's going to happen. The real problem is that the mainstream media won't take the issue seriously. They don't want to spend the time to understand it. And they've decided it's not going to happen, so they're not going to write about it.
The consequence is that many Americans don't understand that the framers of this Constitution 200 years ago understood that there would be a Richard Nixon, and they understood that there would be a George Bush. And they said: American people, you have a remedy. We're giving you a remedy. It's 200 years old. It's called impeachment. That's designed to remove a President who threatens our Constitution and subverts our democracy.
Watergate didn't start because the Congress wanted impeachment. Left to its own devices, Congress never would have done anything on impeachment. Left to its own devices, the press never would have investigated, except for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The rest of the press was completely unconcerned on the subject. They didn't care. They weren't aggressive. But the American people understand that this is their Constitution, this is their democracy, this is their country, and they have the power to do something about it.

On the issue of Congress, Ann Wright told
The KPFA Evening News Monday, ". . . they're going to just let things evolve. And what we the people have to do is to put pressure on all of these oversight committees to have continual oversight committees investigations and I think there's going to be overwhelming evidence, through these investigations, so damning to the administration that, at that point, there will be a collective effort by the Congress to hold accountable people who have broken US law and that, probably, will lead to impeachment."

Echoing that thought, Cindy Sheehan
stated on Democracy Now! today that the movement for impeachment has to come from the people and then "Congress will have the courage to do the same thing." On the same broadcast, Medea Benjamin noted that "nothing is off the table."

Also yesterday on
The KPFA Evening News, a news conference was held on The Lancet Study and among those attending was US Congress member Dennis Kucinich who declared, "There have been a staggering amount of civilian casualites." The Lancet Study found over 655,000 Iraqis had died since the beginning of the illegal war. Also noted was that Kuccinich would declare his candidacy for the Democrat 2008 presidential nomination today. Mark Mericle reported that Kucinich "doesn't think his fellow Democrats are heeding what he called the anti-war message sent by the voters this year."

Joe Milicia (AP) reports on Kucinich's announcement today quoting from the presidential primary candidate stating, "I am not going to stand by and watch thousands more of our brave, young men and women killed in Iraq. We Democrats were put back in power to bring some sanity back to our nation.We were expected to do what we said we were going to do -- get out of Iraq."

Kucinich's declaration comes at a time when the deaths of US troops continue to mount.
Michael R. Blood (AP) reports on the Santa Barbara display of white crosses, each marks the death of a US soldier, that began in November 2003 (when the death toll stood at 340)
and last weekend numbered 2928.
Blood notes that "the nation approaches the grim milestone of 3,000 war fatalities" and ICCC's current count of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 2936 with the count for the month of December thus far standing at 46.

The count includes
today's announcement by the US military: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Monday from non-hostile causes while operating in Al Anbar Province.Three Marines assigned to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing died Monday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also annouced today: " A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died of apparent natural causes near Diwaniyah Dec 11. The Soldier lost consciousness andwas transported to a Troop Medical Clinic where medical personnel were unable torevive him."

As all of the above is announced and violence again rocks the capital in Iraq, Alexander Downer, Australia's foreign minister, grasps desperately for a little face time by
declaring that the United States cannot withdrawal from Iraq.

Back in the real world, the chaos and violence continue.


In Baghdad's Tayaran Square today, many have died and many more were wounded as a result of a bombing that may have resulted from more than one bomb.
Sudarsan Raghavan and Debbi Wilgoren (Washington Post) report that it was a car bomb -- "265 pounds of explosives packed into a Chevrolet pickup truck" while Thomas Wagner and Qais Al-Bashir (AP) report this was followed by another car bomb ("thirty yards away") and the two "shattered storefront windows, dug craters in the road and set fire to about 10 other cars." Ross Colvin (Reuters) notes that the pickups was used to lure day laborers to the truck.
Raghavan and Wilgoren quote eyewitness Jabbar Yousef who states: ""People were running in every direction . . . They were clutching their heads, legs and hands. There was blood everywhere." The Times of London reports that the first explosion came from a BMW that hit a police car, drew a crowd and then the Chevy pickup "ploughed into the crowd and exploded." They quote eye witness Khalil Ibrahim stating, "When the other bomb went off seconds later, it slammed me into a wall of my store and I fainted" (Ibrahim has "shrapnel wounds to his head and back"). The Times of London describes the scene: "Mangled bodies were piled up at the side of the road partially covered with paper and the impact of the blast severely damaged two nearby buildings." Reuters places the toll thus far at 70 dead and 236 wounded.

Wagner and Al-Bashir also note the exposions of two roadside bombs ("about a mile away") that wounded at least two police officers and seven other civilians. Reuters reports a "sucide car bomb" in the Radwaniya section of Baghdad that wounded eight and killed one person (besides the driver of the car), while in Kirkuk five people were left dead and 15 wounded in another car bombing and a mortar attack in Riyadh that killed "a mother and her two children and wounded two others".


Thomas Wagner and Qais Al-Bashir (AP) report that the AP's Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah was shot dead in Mosul while filming a "clash" that broke out between police and another group.
Reuters reports that two police officers were shot dead "near the town of Hawija."


Reuters reports that 47 bodies were discovered in the capital, four in Mosul, and on in Kirkuk (the last five were all shot). Yesteday's corpses didn't make the snapshot. Sandra Lupein noted on Monday's The KPFA Evening News that at least 46 corpses were discovered in Baghdad alone.

Meanwhile, a new report by
Unicef notes the underrepresentation of women in the political process. The report is entitled "The State of World's Children 2007: Women and Children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality." [An overview can be found here and a link to the report in PDF form as well.]

Al Jazeera notes Unifem's Noeleen Heyzer who told the UN Security Counil two months ago, "What Unifem is seeing on the ground -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia -- is that public space for women in these situations is shrinking. Women are becoming assassination targets when they dare defend women’s rights in public decision-making." [On Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, MADRE's Yanar Mohammed addressed the issue of the assassinations of women in Iraq.]

Reuters reports that the United Nations cited the report today in their comments on life in Iraq for women "where violence is curtailing their freedoms and poverty is limiting their access to basic services including health care, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement" and "their rights risk slipping away" as a mere "14 percent of Iraqi women between 16 and 60 years old are currently employed, against 68 percent of men, U.N. figures show. Women leaving home to find work puts both them and their children at risk
. . . threats to girls attending school on the increase, more and more families are being forced to choose between education and safety for their daughters'. The UN also noted that 25% representation of women in Iraq's 'government' remains "disproportionately low".

Two women in this country continuing to activism are
Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin who were convicted of trespassing at the UN Mission yesterday in a Manhattan court along with Missy Comley Beattie and Rev. Patti Ackerman for the apparent 'crime' of delivering a petition (with approval from the UN Mission ahead of time). Benjamin and Sheehan were interviewed by Amy Goodman on today's Democracy Now! addressing the trial and trespassing conviction. [Click here and here for the interview -- audio, video or text.] Sheehan observed that possibly the United States' UN Mission was attempting to demonstrate that "there agressive policies towards the world are the same they use towards peace woman at home." Sheehan noted that the charge of trespassing was what they were originally charged with and should have meant they were issued a court summons; however, they were told by police that higher ups had decided to add charges (these were the charges the jury found the four women not guilty of) so that the women could be held in jail overnight.

Sheehan noted that the US is spending ten million dollars (US) an hour on Iraq. Sheehan: "We can't allow our elected officials to say that they are against the war if they vote for more money" for the war. Benjamin "I think our role in the peace movement is to say 'Bring the troops home now.'

Of the obstacles to the peace movement in the near future, Medea Benjamin observed that "what I see as the real danger ahead is the peace movement thinking 'Ah the democrats are coming to power. Oh, there's a plan out there. Let's give them a little time.' This is the hardest time for the peace movement and this is when we we have to be the strongest. We have possiblities now coming up in January as soon as they are sworn in in the new Congress -- we have to be there January 3rd and 4th,
Gold Star Families for Peace, CODEPINK and other groups are planning on being in Wahsington DC we have a big mobilzation. United for Peace and Justice is organizing for January 27th. We have the next anniversary of the war coming up, March 17th. We've got to be out on the streets. We've got to be in the offices of our Congress people. If not this war is going to go on and on and we're going to be facing another presidential election with two pro-war major candidates, from the Democrats and the Republicans."

Also on today's Democracy Now!,
Amy Goodman interviewed lefty mag Poster Boy Sherrod Brown and asked him what he would say to US war resisters such as Ehren Watada who think the war is immoral and illegal and the poster boy replied, "I don't know, I don't know what you say to them." [Goodman interviewed Watada's mother, Carolyn Ho, yesterday.] When asked by Goodman if there should be "pressure on the military not to prosecute these men and women who . . . are saying the war is wrong," Poster Boy replied, "I don't know. . . . I don't know the answer to that."

Possibly had the leading magazines of the left, The Nation and The Progressive, put war resisters on the cover or printed even one article on them in 2006, the Poster Boy might have been prompted to consider the issue?

The Progressive ran two photos, November 2006 issue, in their multi-page photo eassay. The two photos (by Jeff Paterson of
Not In Our Name), on a page of five photos, were of war resister Ricky Clousing. The Nation has provided nothing in their print edition. ["Leading" is based on circulation. Left Turn has published an article, in print, on Watada.Off Our Backs and Ms. have dedicated entire issues to war and peace this year.] While the New York Times and the Washington Post, two leading mainstream, daily papers, have covered the war resisters (the Times has done major stories on both Watada and Clousing) and a leading wire service (the Associated Press) has significantly covered the war resistance within the US military, leading magazines of the left continue to avoid the topic and 2006 may end without either The Nation or The Progressive providing one single print article on war resisters. No wonder the Poster Boy feels comfortable avoiding the issue.

While the magazines have repeatedly avoided the issue, one of the Iraq stories of 2006 has been the war resistance within the military.
Kyle Snyder, Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman are part of an ever growing movement of resistance within the military. Speaking last Thursday with Nora Barrows-Friedman on KPFA's Flashpoints, Kyle Snyder noted that more war resisters who have not yet gone public are planning to in the coming months. (Snyder also noted that he meets war resisters who have self-checked out as he speaks around the country.)

The failure of the leading magazines of the left to cover this story stands as one of the biggest barriers of a free flow of information on the issue of the illegal war. It also calls to question, for many politically active college students across the United States, the magazines' committment to ending the illegal war -- more so for The Nation which is a weekly and which managed to mention Carl Webb in an article this year but failed to note that he was a war resister. (Webb was quoted in the context of an article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) [For what is focused while Iraq is avoided see the parody "
The Elector."]

While they've played the quiet game on the topic, information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. And Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.

the washington post
sudarsan raghavan
cindy sheehan
medea benjamin
david lindorff
elizabeth holtzman
buzzflashcenter for constitutional rightslewis laphamamy goodmandemocracy now
radionation with laura flanderslaura flanders
sex and politics and screeds and attitude