Saturday, January 13, 2007


Ava and C.I. Ay-yi-yi. The whole day, it was obvious C.I. was sick and in pain. The same with Ava. They denied it all day and got through their busy schedules. It wasn't until they had time to talk that they admitted what the rest of us knew -- they were sick. Sick like, as Ava put it, feeling like a blade of glass on top of gravel was dragging through your intestines. They have food poisining. We were all telling each of them, throughout the day, you need to go to a doctor.

It wasn't until they compared notes that C.I. called a friend who came out and examined them. Rebecca had phoned C.I. earlier Friday morning and then called me a few hours later. She said, "C.I. will make it through the day before admitting how much pain it is." Which is what ended up happening. I wish I'd known Ava was sick as well because that might have had both of them seeking a doctor's care sooner.

They're so sick right now that Jim's really wondering if he should call of this weekend's The Third Estate Sunday Review? But they said they'd write a piece. It'll be on TV. I'm not sure whether it will be a TV review or not. I don't think either's had time to watch anything this week but I know they made notes on several shows friends gave them episodes too and they may pull out the notes and address it that way.

If I'm that sick, I don't leave the bed unless it's to fall out on the couch. I don't possess that bash-on-through spirit. I've frequently wished that I did; however, I probably get well sooner because I do immediately shut down and listen to my body.

Murray Waas has an article on the upcoming Scooter Libby trial. Scoots had to step down as ball polisher for Dick Cheney due to his indictment by a grand jury. This is over the outing of then CIA agent Valerie Plame. Among the witnesses will be Tim Russert, Matt Cooper and Judith Miller.

You have to wonder how much press the case will get and how much people will pay attention. What you have here is 'reporters' who did the administration's bidding. With Russert's case, I'll give him an exemption. But the other two were happy to print whatever the administration wanted. The case for an illegal war was made as a result of this type of 'reporter.' Matt Cooper wants everyone to feel sorry for him and seems to think the fact that he's not just an ass but an ass married to a Democratic from the Clinton White House means we give him a pass.

Anyone wanting to should remember that Matty Cooper could have written about the outing of Valerie Plame before the 2004 election and revealed that he was tipped off by the White House. He could have identified them publicly. He didn't. He's no friend to reporting, no friend to democracy. He enabled the Bully Boy as much as any Robert Novak could have.

Judith Miller? She made herself a national joke. No one published more 'scoops' that went poop than she did about the illegal war (before it started and in the early days). I think it's fitting that both Miller and Cooper no longer work for the New York Times and Time. I also think it's true that it wasn't the fact of what they did but the fact that it became public which led to the 'departures.'

I find Cooper more of a joke because he got such a pass and people tried to prop him up as 'brave' when he finally, FINALLY, named Karl Rove as a source. When it mattered, when Rove was running Bully Boy's 2004 campaign, Cooper didn't say a word.

In Waas' article, I didn't see anything about Bob Woodward being called to testify but that's another 'reporter' who turned himself into a national joke.

Okay, I started this last night but then got tired. So I'm posting on Saturday morning and will change the time stamp to show that. But for those wondering why I'm talking about Friday night, this was started on Friday night.

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

Friday, January 12, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; after the Bully Boy's Wednesday speech offering no 'benchmarks,' US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reveleals the 'plan' also offers no timetable; Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn talk the importance of withdrawal and combat the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk; US war resister Ehren Watada prepares for a public speech this weekend; and Antoni Juhasz addresses what an escalation means for US troops.
Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis spoke with Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn about Iraq and comparisons to Bully Boy's dreamed of escalation in Iraq to Vietnam. Zinn felt it was very important to note that the Iraqi people do not want US forces in their country. On the 'new' 'plan' and it's talk up as well as the way Iraq is addressed, Howard Zinn pointed out:
When they talk about making a difference, they keep using the words 'victory' and 'success' and how do we 'win'? It seems to me this is missing a very, very critical point, Iraq is not our country to 'win' -- to be successful in, to be victorious in. We simply don't belong there. And Bush's 'surge' is exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Well Anthony's book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal lays out the argument for the simple statement that I'm making now, that instead of surging in Iraq, we should be withdrawing as fast as we can from Iraq. And not only that, we should be questioning the larger principle involved and that is should the United States be sending troops anywhere in the world -- whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else -- should we think we could solve any problems with military solutions? And, in fact, is this the motive of the administration to solve problems for the people of these other countries? Iraqis don't want us in Iraq, that's clear. The American people don't want us in Iraq. Even the Iraqi government, which was really put in in a kind of fake election with American control excercise, even the Iraqi government is very embarrassed by the idea of having more American troops in Iraq. So what Bush is proposing is a violation not only of self-determination of Iraqis and the will of the American people and world opinion, it's a continution of the whole idea of US military dominace in the world which we should do everything we can to bring to an end.

Andrea Lewis asked about the statements that if the US pulls out it will lead to chaos in Iraq.

Anthony Arnove: I think we have to acknowledge that people who raise that point raise it two different ways. The cynical group of people who make that argument, pundits, politicans, to say we can never pull out, to justify the US remaining as an occupying power in Iraq for years to come, to justify setting up military bases, permanent bases, in Iraq, to justify the role that the United States wants to play in Iraq projecting its power in the entire Middle East and globally, as Howard mentioned. But then there's also decent people who have a concern for the consequences of the Iraqi people. And I think we have to acknowledge their fears and their concerns for what would happen to Iraq? And we're not saying abandon the Iraqi people -- "This is some kind of isolationist position, we don't care what happens to them." We're saying the opposite. Our point is that every day that the United States continues in Iraq as an unwanted, foreign, occupying power, it makes the situation worse for ordinary Iraqis. It's not ending sectarian conflict in Iraq, it's actually fueling sectarian conflict. It's not ending violence, it's actually fueling violence. The United States occupation is the greatest source of instability in the country. And after every benchmark that we've been told would change the situation there --elections, the constitution, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the execution of Saddam Hussein -- things just get worse. Iraq right now is the world's largest refugee crises in the world. Inflation has skyrocketed, unemployment has skyrocketed, there's less electricty, less safe drinking water, less security for Iraqis which is why poll after poll shows that that they say their life is getting worse and they want the United States to leave and so if we claim that we're bringing democracy well democracy would dictate that we let the Iraqi people determine their own future. But we should support them. We should pay reperations. We owe them a tremends debt, not just for the harm caused by the occupation, but all of the years before that the United States imposed sanctions on the country and, before that, supported Saddam Hussein as he carried out his worst crimes.
Zinn discussed how the same arguments for the US remaining in Iraq were the ones his book Vietnam: The Logic for Withdrawal were "greeted with the same claims that are made today" -- e.g. chaos, violence, civil war in Vietnam. "The truth is that we were creating the chaos," observed Zinn. Anthony Arnove's book, Iraq: The Logic for Withdrawal, has just been released in paperback and he will be appearing on the following dates:
January 17, 7 pm,
New York, NY (with Michael Schwartz)
16 Beaver
January 20, 7 pm,
Chicago, IL (with Jeff Engelhardt)
University of Illinois-Chicago
Contact: Adam Turl, 773-567-0936,
January 27, 5 pm,
Washington, DC (with Kelly Dougherty)
Busboys and Poets
February 1, 7:30 pm,
Pasadena, CA
Voices of a People's History of the United States
with Mark Ruffalo, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Benjamin Bratt, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, and Alfre Woodard.
All Saints Episcopal Church

Appearing as part of a panel discussion yesterday on Kris Welch's program, KPFA's Living Room , Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) noted two points regarding the US troops in Iraq. First, she noted, "On this issue of the troops increase . . . Bush wanted significantly more troops but the military said we don't have anywhere to get them for you, there aren't anymore troops. So the troops that are the addition of the 20,000 is simply going to be extending the tours of troops that are there speeding up the redeployment of troops that have already served. We have to be really clear about who the soldiers are that are part of this increase."
She then spoke of what their role would be and what is wanted from Iraq.
Antonia Juhasz: This is . . . the critical moment to make our demands very, very clear to the Democrats and one of those demands has to explicity be that this is a war for oil that cannot be allowed to continue and that what the administration is hoping for is that it will suceed in its economic transformation of Iraq which at this point has nearly reached fruition -- which is a new law developed way before the war in the US State Department, then pushed by US corporations, pushed by the successive appointed governments of Iraq by the US government following the invasion -- for a new law that is now, the al-Maliki govenrmenet has now said that it will put this new law forward to the Iraqi parliament that creates an unprecedented oil victory in Iraq. So what it does is give the government of Iraq nominal control and ownership of their oil but every function of the oil industry would then be privatized and turned over to foreign companies and the foreign companies would get a form of contract called a Production Sharing Agreement which is not used anywhere in the Middle East not used anywhere in oil rich countries in fact that gives first 30 years, 30 year contract, and then according to the UK Independent, that the intial contract would give 75% of initial profits to the private companies leaving only 25% for the Iraqis. [. . .] Iraq can best be understood as a pimple of oil that has yet to be plucked. It has certainly the second largest oil reserves in the world possibly larger. It has 80 known oil fields but only 17 have even begun to be developed. It is those undeveloped oil fields which are all completely within the realm of the new law and then the debate, that the president mentioned in his speech, is over a constitutional amendment to address the existing fields, which are now divided between the Shia and the Kurds in the north and the south, and to bring the control of the existing fields back into the central gover of al-Maliki. And what I believe is that the Bush administration is going to hold onto the occupation and make it larger and make it as big as he can until the law passes and US companies sign contracts and then they have to get work. And they need a security force to do that and that is our troops.
While Juhasz addressed the realities of US troops in Iraq, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, testifying before the US Senate Armed Service Committee, revealed a reality of his own. BBC reports that Gates, speaking of Bully Boy's new 'plan' for Iraq, stated that there was no timetable for the puppet government to achieve any of the non-defined benchmarks. Susan Cornwell and Kristin Roberts (Reuters) observe that Gates threw out the usual sop of troop withdrawal on the conditional 'if' (always the same 'if' -- if a corner is turned and it never is) and they write that "Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who heads a House panel overseeing defense spending, said he would try to attach restrictions to a $100 billion 'emergency' request for new war money that Bush will request in February. Those restrictions could include a prohibition on spending money for the additional troops, Murtha said. They could also include immediately closing Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and the Guantanamo Bay detention center at a U.S. base in Cuba."
Yesterday, US military forces stormed an Iranian diplomatic consulate and arrested six diplomatic staff. The Kurdish government in northern Iraq responded by insisting that diplomatic staff be released immediately (Iran has long had a consulate in Iraq's Kurdish territory). KUNA reports that the US, via White House flack Tony Snow, continues to dismiss concerns and attempt to downgrade a recognized diplomatic headquarters while the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari, continues to state that it was a consulate and that, in addition, "U.S. forces tried to seize more people at the airport in Irbil, 220 miles north of Baghdad, prompting a confrontation with Kurdish troops guarding the facility that was resolved without casualties. " The BBC notes that the consulate has been "operating for years" and the Mikhail Kamyin ("Russing foreign ministry spokesman") declared, "It is absolutely unacceptable for troops to storm the consular offices of a foreign state on the territory of another state . . . It is also not clear how this fits in with American statements that Washington respects the sovereignty of Iraq."
In other Iraq news . . .
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, near Baquba, a mortar attack killed "one primary school teacher and one student," while a child was killed in Muqdadiyah by an IED and, in Baquba, an Iraqi soldier was killed by a bomb and three more wounded.
Mohammed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that in the Diyala Province, "American forces killed a woman and a child and injured another woman with another child (all from the same family)" while 4 Shi'ites were shot dead "near ARAB SHOKA area near hibhib area in khalis town" as well as their driver.
Reuters notes that 10 corpses were discovered in Baghdad, seven in Mosul, three in Basmaia.
Turning to news of war resistance, Ehren Watada became the first officer (June 2006) to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and now faces a February 5th court-martial. He is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington at 1:00 pm. Also tomorrow, there will be a benefit performance for him Corvallis, OR when Crooked Kate and the Childers-Carson Duo take the stage of the Sunnyside-Up (116 N.W. Third St.) at six pm. In addition, later this month A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College to address the illegality of the war. In addition, Iraq Veterans Against the War are staging Camp Resistance in support of Watada. Writing at the blog they've set up for Camp Resistance, dockyne reports: The oldest public radio station in the states hosted IVAW Deployed and had Darrell [Anderson] and Dennis [Kyne] on Friday morning for one hour and a half. Discussing Darrell's experience in this illegal war and his 18 months in exile to Canada, as well as the fact that thousands of other soldiers are refusing to deploy to this illegal war. Hosted by Ani and Melody on their weekly progam (7:30-9 am) Absolutly revolting.
This interview was in covered the draft, the anti war movement, depleted uranium and allowed multiple callers to learn about the Gulf War, which the VA handbook of benefits states began on 2 Aug 1990 and will end on a date to be determined by congress. When will they end it? We discussed the court martials of Suzanne Swift and Ehren Watada...and the support from Portland, Oregon is massive. Darrell stated, "this is the most radical community I have been too."

Dennis Kyne, writing at U.N. Observer, gives the details on Camp Resistance:

Please support this troops are gathering to support Ehren Watada in his stand against the lies that have gained our nation nothing more than death and despise. Purple Heart, 'Winner' Darrell Anderson returned from 18 months in hiding when he heard that Lt. Watada had refused to deploy. Darrell Anderson would have deployed to his third tour had he not gone north. Anderson asked me to get on the ( ) with him and get to Fort Lewis to open up Camp RESISTANCE!!!

We are here, in the mud. It is not warm here
...nor dry
.....however, you should stand with us support of a man who stands up against the military mahine and a nation of millions who don't have the foggiest notion that our troops do not want to serve in this war. Lt. Watada is speaking for thousands of enlisted soldiers like Darrell Anderson and myself, a fifteen year veteran of the Army. Watada is a true leader.....leading and doing
....he knows he should never ask enlisted soldiers to do things he would never do
....that is part of the requirement. NEVER ask nor order your troops to do things that you wouldn't do. There are more violators of this rule in the military now, than ever (or at least in my 15 years.) Lt. Watada is not one of them
...and with that, the soldiers, who have always followed good leaders
....will follow Lt. Watada.. Mike, Damon, Ethan and I, slept on the rig last night was night one of Camp RESISTANCE!!!There is a RESISTANCE!!! going on. Thousands of troops are refusing to deploy
....please let everyone know we are here
.....working from the wi fi hot spot, let them know they should stand here too. If not for a month as we will, than for a day or even an hour. We are at off ramp 119, gates of Fort Lewis.
We are meeting up at the gates of Fort lewis to support the Lt. Why? We have had enough
...we want the war to stop....we want the government to stop using the troops as pawns in their game. If you know of a veteran who is opposed to this war, please help them get here....if you are ok with the weather, please get here also.
I, personally, will always think it an honor and a privilege to have served the United States people
...I know Ehren does too. It is with that same pride and honor that I, personally, ask you to do something for this man

....who has, without question stood, with more integrity in his little pinky, than most of these Generals have in their entire skin. I am honored to know his family, they are a wonderful display of family values

...something we don't see a lot of.

To support him

.... ( ) you will find the news to follow the days up to the trial......

Meanwhile, John Powell writes to the Capital Times to weigh in on the argument that Watada signed a contract and any responsibilities he had for war ended right there: "Perhaps Piek has never served in the military, but I remember the oath I took when I was inducted into the Army as a lowly buck private in 1968. The oath for soldiers is virtually the same as the oath taken by the president of the United States and every other official of every level of government in the country: an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. There is nothing in that oath about obeying orders. In fact, the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice make it clear that a soldier's duty is to disobey illegal orders. Watada alleges that the Iraq war is unconstitutional and therefore illegal, and that he is duty-bound to refuse to serve in it. This should be the issue - not whether he refused to obey orders (clearly he did), but whether those orders were legal."
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson (noted abovein the Camp Resistance post), Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Finally, on yesterday's KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein provided military families with the opportunity to weigh in on Bully Boy's announced intent to escalate. This included a couple with five children and grandchildren serving in the military who ask that people write Congress and say "no" to the escalation. In addition to utilizing either previous link for an archived broadcast, Rebecca wrote about the broadcast yesterday.

ehren watada

living room

Thursday, January 11, 2007


"Kat's Korner: Carly Simon, Into the Real" is my latest review. I posted it today, during The Morning Show, in fact. Yesterday, Bully Boy had started lying when I got on to blog and I completely forgot to note KPFA's Guns and Butter which airs each Wednesday. Frank Morales was the guest and this was a new episode. Morales talked about the police state and zeroed in on the contracts for the new 'holding facilities' given to Halliburton and how there is so much press silence on it. (It was published in the New York Times. C.I. was the first person I know of to note it. Within weeks, others did as well. But it ran in a Saturday paper and I remember very clearly because I read that and immediately asked, "Was that a joke?" C.I. doesn't do those type of jokes but I couldn't believe it. Then C.I. handed me that day's New York Times and I still couldn't believe it. This was a long time ago and I seriously doubt too many other people were noting it the Saturday it ran. As the days passed, more began to note that Times article but there's been nothing since the Times article.

Okay, I found it, Feb. 2nd's "NYT: David Johnston and Rachel L. Swarns" and I see Billie's the one who noted the article:

Billie notes Rachel L. Swarns' "Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers:"
The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq. KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said. KBR, which announced the contract last month, had a similar contract with immigration agencies from 2000 to last year.
So Halliburton's gotten a new contract (probably no bid). Why? Because of the wonderful job they've done in Iraq? Don't kid yourself. But where is this "unexpected influx of immigrants" coming from? Does that bother you? The fact that Homeland Security will be over them? Where is the influx coming from?
Ponder. And wonder if Bully Boy's going to scapegoat undocumented workers (which is bad enough) or if the I'm-above-the-law Bully Boy has something else in mind?

What does he have in mind with these detention centers and why do most seem non-concerned about it? Bonnie Faulkner and Frank Morales addressed this and other signs of the police state.
Why would you house victims of a national emergency like Hurricane Katrina in a detention center? And what are the possible "new programs" that the KRB spokesperson knows about but Americans don't?

This was a really great broadcast and remember that they are archived.

I'm wiped out. (Besides the review, I also did some work on a project that I need to complete by next Wednesday and I was also out protesting the escalation.) So that's it for me. Here's C.I.'s
"Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, January 11, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq though it gets little attention, Bully Boy eats up more time with his dismal performance (continued dismal performance), Ehren Watada prepares to speak this weekend in what may be his final speech before the February 5th court-martial, Condi Rice challenges Bully Boy for American Most In Denial, and the world says no to Bully Boy's plans for escalation (more US troops being sent to Iraq).

Starting with Bully Boy's Cop Rock-like bust in primetime yesterday. Saying exactly the same thing, in the same way he always had, Bully Boy had nothing to offer Iraq, the United States or the world. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said the fact that just because they didn't act properly in the past doesn't mean that they won't act properly in the future. She was speaking of Iraqis but she could apply it to the 'logic' of the the administration.

That was what Bully Boy's speech last night was built upon. Two months from the four-year anniversary of the start of the illegal war, he wants to say, as he did last night, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" -- what does that even mean? That's ownership? That's nothing. There are no efforts at responsibility or accountability. As with the 'government' of Nouri al-Maliki, there are no results -- only Bully Boy's had nearly four years.

With those ten words ("Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me"), he wants yet another blank check to continue the same illegal war that is already lost. There were no benchmarks in Bully Boy's speech. But another thing still missing is a definition of 'success.'

There is no 'win' to be had in Iraq but what is the mission? What mission is reason to continue the illegal war? There is none, none explained to the people. The administration wants . . . 'democracy building' -- at the point of a gun? The administration wants . . . a peace keeping mission? Whose being protected, what is the goal and airy terms like 'democracy' or 'liberation' demonstrate that there is still no plan, there is nothing that a military can achieve, and that the illegal war has no defense.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Rice rejected the notion of troops being placed on the Iraqi borders -- "I don't think you want to depend on boots on the grounds to defend those borders." So what are they doing? Today, she can't articulate it and the Bully Boy can't. And when you grasp that 3019 US troops have died, the fact that they seem to think ten little words grant them a "fresh start" in an illegal war is not just surprising, it's appalling.

US Senator
Russ Feingold stated, of Bully Boy's Primetime Bust, "the president ignored the recommendations of members of both parties, military leaders, foreign policy experts, and the will of the American people by announcing that he intends to escalate our involvement in Iraq by sending more troops there. Congress must bring an end to what has been one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in the history of our nation. The President continues to deny the devastating impact that keeping our brave troops in Iraq is having on our national security. The American people have rejected the Administration's Iraq-centric foreign policy. It is time to bring our troops out of Iraq and refocus on defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten this country."

US Senator
Chuck Hagel stated, "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam if it's carried out. . . . I will resist it."

Surveying opinion in the Middle East,
Maggie Michael (AP) reports that the speech has resulted in "strong skepticism across the Mideast, where many predicted that even with more soldiers, America would fail to break the cycle of violence" and quotes Areeb el-Rentawi, Al-Quds Center for Political Studies (Amman, Jordan), stating that the Bully Boy "didn't answer the main question: What if al-Maliki falied in meeting the new plan? Al-Maliki's government is part of the problem, not the solution."

Speaking with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, from Najaf,
Sami Rasouli compared Bully Boy's escalation to current conditions in Iraq, "Actually, Amy, for the last four days, I couldn't get a shower -- because there is no electricity, there is no heating, so water's so cold in this harsh winter in Iraq -- because Iraq has a continental climate that's very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. So, as I speak to you, I really stink -- and, as the increasing prices in the economy that's collapsing stink and the Iraq government policy stinks, even the American policy, that so-called surge in Iraq, stinks too because, as you know, and Iraqis know and the others, that the occupation is a form of war. So any escalation in this type of war, the resistance is going to escalate too."

Similar sentiments are
voiced by Lara Logan (CBS News): "Iraqis have been talking about nothing else all day, and most of the people we've spoken to say they do not want more U.S. troops here. They don't believe this is going to help."

And the puppet government?
Sabrina Tavernise and John F. Burns (New York Times) report that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki and aides are "wary" and "fear that an increased American troop presence, particularly in Baghdad, will be accompanied by a more assertive American role that will conflict with the Shiite government's haste to cut back on American authority and run the war the way it wants."

The American people?
Jon Cohen (Washington Post) reports on a joint poll by the Post and ABC on the proposed escalation which found that "61 percent oppose the force increase, with 52 'strongly' opposing the build-up. Thirty-six percent support the additional troops; only one-quarter of the public is strongly supportive." CBS and AP report on a CBS News poll which found 53% of those polled do not favor the escalation, only 37% favored it -- echoing the Post-ABC News poll. Most interesting was this finding from CBS's poll: "68 percent of Americans -- the same number as before the speech -- said they were uneasy about the president's ability to make decisions about Iraq."

David Olive (Toronto Star) sees the illegal war as a "Pandora's Box" that Bully Boy now wants to treat like a hot potato "in order that his successor as president -- and not Bush -- wears the stigma of defeat in Iraq."

Guy Dinmore (Financial Times of London) observes the speech dismissed advice regarding diplomacy, dubs it a "hardline speech" and quotes Cliff Kupchan, Eurasis Group, stating, "Bush is tapping anti-Iranian senteiment in Congress and the American public to bolster his case." Speaking with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Michael Klare (Hampshire College's Professor of Peace and World Security Studies) detected in the speech the adminstration's arguing expanding the war beyond Iraq into neighboring countries: "This was not a message about Iraq. This was a message about preparing the American people for a wider war in the region." Also taking part in that discussion, Natalie Goldring (Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies) stated,
"We can't win in Iraq. I don't think it's possible. President Bush, to my mind, is increasingly isolated in painting this picture of an Iraq that is somehow a democratic presence and a peaceful Middle East is miraculously transformed by the American presence. In reality our presence there is making things worse. The Iraqis are in fact worse off if you look at things like their energy production and other key measures of whether people are comfortable in their homes. They're worse off than they were under Saddam which is a really scary prospect. So I don't think we can win. We do need to get out."

United for Peace & Justice's Leslie Cagan echoed Professor Goldring's thoughts on Democracy Now! today where she stated, "This war has to end. It never should have started. It was a war totally based on lies. It has to end. It has to end now." Cagan noted actions taking place around the country today and also noted that "in just a few weeks, on Saturday January 27th, people from every corner of the country are gathering here in Washington, where I am right now, to march around the Capitol, to deliver our message: it is time to end the war. The people spoke. The voters of this country had their opportunity in November to make their voices heard. Now we're saying to Congress, 'You need to act on the will of the people of this country.' So on Saturday January 27th, people will be getting on buses and trains and carpools and every other manner of transportation and gathering here in Washington on the Mall between 3rd Street and 7th Street at 11:00 am in the morning and delivering this message. And on top of that, we're asking people to stay here in Washington for a few more days to do a massive lobby day on Monday the 29th". Information on the actions this month on the 27th and 29th as well as today can be found by clicking here.

Thulasi Srikanthan (Toronto Star) reports the only real 'surge' and it's in Canada as War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky notes the "surge in the number of calls from American troops during the past week" which has resulted in the War Resisters Support Campaign requesting "help in housing soldiers fleeing the U.S." The War Resisters Support Campaign helps American troops who are seeking asylum in Canada. In other news of war resistance, Paul Boring (Whidbey News Times) reports US war resister Ehren Watada will be speaking this Saturday (January 13th) at 1:00 pm at the Coupeville Recreation Hall (901 NW Alexander ST., Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington).

In June of last year,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He faces a court-martial on Feburary 5th. Camp Resistance is set up outside Fort Lewis where Watada is serving and it's a project of Iraq Veterans Against the War (each day they gather at off I-5, exit 119 in Dupont, Washington). Damon Murphy notes that today: "We were approached by a Sgt. of the Dupont Police Department. He brought news that the property owner wanted us off of his land; the reason given was due to a misunderstanding about the amount of time we'd be there. The impression was that we'd be there for the two or three days surrounding Lt. Ehren Watada's Court Martial Pre-Trial; the reality, is that IVAW is deployed. When you're deployed you’re stuck. When you’re deployed, all you have is what is next to you: people, tools for your survival, and the mission at hand. Our mission at hand, regardless of where it takes place, is standing in solidarity with Lt. Ehren Watada as he awaits his pending Court Martial, twenty-seven days from now."

Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In "Oh, Condi" news -- the Senate testimony today . . . Rice noted that Sadr's bloc "pulled out and the government didn't collapse"; however, she fails to note how little got accomplished or the attempts to woo the bloc back. She boasted that, "We know why sectarian violence didn't come down" -- apparently now that Negroponte's under her, he's spilled all the beans on the death squads. She declared, "We're not going to stay married to a plan that isn't working." But failed to ask the important question:
Should This Marriage Be Saved? She refused to be pinned down on 'specifics' but did note, "The oil law is important." (Well, they did name a tanker after her.) (Here's an AP article -- my remarks are based on watching it on TV.)

In Iraq today? Apparently building on Bully Boy's belicose speech, an Iranian consular office was targeted by the US military.
Reuters reports that "US forces stormed an Iranian consular office in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil and arrested five people, including diplomates and staff". The Australian notes that the US military has confirmed six arrests "but did not confirm if any were Iranians". The Cihan News Agency notes that "US soldiers seized computers and official documents" and reports five arrests following the US military "forcing open the outer gate" to the building. Xinhua reports: "The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad sent a letter to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Thursday morning to protest against 'the U.S. illegal move' and call on the Iraqi government to help secure immediate release of the five people". BBC notes: "Reports say the Iranian consulate there was set up last year under an agreement with the Kurdish regional government to facilitate cross-border visits."
And it was six. The
US military released a statement saying they "took six individuals into custody". KUNA reports: "The Presidency and government of Iraq's Kurdistan Thursday demanded the Multi-National Force (MNF) to release Iranian consulate staff members who were detained earlier today."


Reuters reports a mortar attack Wednesday in Mosul on a "Sunni Arab girls' school" that left nine wounded ("included four students and three other children"). The US military press release on that was apparently written by a PIG hence the term "housewives" -- it notes that four high school girls were injured, three children and two adult women (that, in a throwback, they term "housewives").

DPA reports three dead and 31 wounded from a truck bomb in Samaraa and that "[a]mong the dead was Asaad Yassin, president of the municipal council of Samaraa".




What? You think anyone's reporting on Iraqis today? Seriously,
CBS and AP note that an oil pipeline was attacked "in northern Iraq" because, apparently, they keep the eye on the prize -- if oil is "the prize" -- but forget about it. Don't think that means Iraqis aren't dying today -- they are. But even the bit that usually gets reported is being ignored today.

Jennie Matthew (AFP) notes that "walls" are the latest US 'answer' (and even mentions Israel while failing to note the illegality of that) because if Haidtha residents won't welcome foreign fighters, wall 'em off! Such passes for 'answers' in the illegal war. This as there's also a new 'plan' for Baghdad -- and "Truth" would be so pleased -- she might even want to grab credit. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that "gated communities" are coming to Baghdad "forcibly". Such are the plans -- the sort of laughable crap you'd expect to see stereotyped to some elderly, dottering fool convinced the world was out to get them -- which would be a perfect transition for Bully Boy's speech today; however, I think Wally and Cedric are covering that.

Finally, in Australia,
ABC reports that John Howard, prime minister, is standing hip to hip with the Bully Boy but there are no plans for Australia to send in more forces and reports that "Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd mainstains that Mr Howard shares responsibility for the failures in Iraq and . . . [that] Mr Bush's statement has confirmed the coalition is losing the war, not winning it." Again, Howard's hip to hip with Bully Boy does not translate as more Australian troops being sent to Iraq. The Times of London quotes Howard declaring, "There is no direct implication for Australian forces in Iraq. We have an appropriately sized force and one that can be maintained." For the record the number of Australian forces in Iraq is 450.

ehren watada

amy goodmandemocracy now

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bully Boy's Latest Lies

Are you listening to the bullshit? Bully Boy is such a liar. They hate us for our "liberty" he trots out yet again. The resistance in Iraq is fueled by the fact that foreign fighters won't leave -- foreign fighers include the US.

It's all about his ego. He can't admit he's wrong unless there's a payoff for it.

I can't believe he's trying to escalate. He is just flat out lying to the American people and I'm sure some hear of some psuedo document and fall for it just like they did when he LIED and said Iraq was connected to 9-11, when he LIED and said that Iraq had WMDs.

He's willing to sacrifice more lies just to save his own ass. The reality is his ass is cooked. History will see him as the worst president and he's earned that.

There is no success on this and he knows it. He's trotting out Joe LIEberman. That tells you how desperate he is. Most Democrats are not going to say, "Oh, Joe LIEberman. It must be bipartisan."

He wants non-stop war and he won't happy with anything less.

He's lied the nation into an illegal war and the only answer is: BRING THE TROOPS HOME. There is nothing 'noble' in fighting an illegal war.

Now he's talking about military service. This is the man who signed up but checked out and Daddy covered the bumps the entire things.

He's such an addict. It's all about what he wants as though we work for him when it's the other way around. And like an addict deep in his disease, there was nothing new, just the same stinking thinking. The war is lost and in August, that will be clear even to the ones who are ignoring the reality currently.

Here's Antonia Juhasz in an interview with BuzzFlash on Bully Boy's nonsense buzzword of 'freedom:'

Antonia Juhasz: Right. As many administrations have done before him, the Bush Administration uses the word "freedom" as a master stroke -- a term to encapsulate everything good and warm and fuzzy that Americans like to think that they are about. But in fact, I would say that the Bush Administration is only interested in spreading freedom for U.S. corporate interests and removing barriers to corporate access to countries across the globe. In that way the Bush Administration is following a very standard agenda that other presidents have followed before him.
I argue in the book that what makes the Bush Administration unique is its fairly unprecedented hybrid of corporate executives running the government. The members of the Bush Administration, including the President, have long histories as corporate executives, as do the leading members of the President’s Cabinet and people throughout the administration. The hybrid of corporate and government executives also makes the Administration’s view of the government as simply an extended arm of U.S. corporate interests. What makes the Bush Administration unique beyond that is its willingness to overtly use the U.S. military to advance those interests.

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with the discovery of over 70 corpses reported, Bully Boy goes primetime (you bought a flat screen for that?), the US military announces the deaths of three more US troops, US war resisters get attention (no, not from The Nation), and BuzzFlash interviews activist and author Antonia Juhasz.

Starting with the speech to get it out of the way. Later today (9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm Central and 6:00 pm PST), Bully Boy will be making a speech where he will announce his intent to send more US troops into his illegal war despite having declared, on May 1, 2003, "
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Three years and eight months later, Bully Boy now wants to send more troops to Iraq. As Danny Schechter (News Dissector) wrote, "Today is the day when the Bush Administration takes its next big shot like some schoolyard bully determined that his way is the only way."

3018 US troops have died in Iraq and Bully Boy now wants to send more troops. Michael Abramowitz, Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported today that when Bully Boy met with Nouri al-Maliki (finally) in Jordan, "Maliki did not ask for more American troops as part of a new Baghdad security plan he presented to Bush, U.S. officials said. Maliki's idea was to lower the U.S. profile, not raise it." But now Bully Boy wants to send more US troops.

Iraqis want foreign troops out of their country, as polls have consistently demonstrated, and
The Lancet study estimated over 655,000 Iraqis have lost their lives during the illegal war. Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops.

Democracy Now! today, one Iraqi, Abu Haider, voiced his opinion, "All the stances of America are indications of negative positions towards society and its citizens.Their decisions and credibility are negative. They damaged this country. They said that they are here to spread freedom and democracy in Iraqi society but they did nothing but bring terrorism.” Now Bully Boy wants to send more troops. Abu Haider lives in Baghdad where most of the escalated troops will go (some, about a fifth, will also go to Al-Anbar Province).

The BBC World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds notes how the 'fresh start' (that's what the US administration is calling it) "has echoes of Vietnam in the belief that another push will get the job done" and notes five specific echoes -- "the realisation in Washington that it is not winning"; "trying to hand over responsibility to the local government in the midst of battle, not after it"; "belief by the US administration that more troops are an important part of the answer"; "opposite belief by others that the enterprise cannot work and that disengagement must be sought"; and ""in Vietnam too the president consulted and outside group -- they were called the Wise Men and, like the Iraq Study group, they too urged a policy designed to lead to withdrawal."

Speaking yesterday on
The KPFA Evening News, Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights and co-host of WBAI's Law and Disorder) declared, "Basically we can look at this in a few ways. One is you [Congress] can cut off the funding and that they have a constitutional right to do. Secondly, they could pass a resolution under the war powers resolution that repeals the authorization to use force in Iraq I think [Ted] Kennedy's argument is something. There better argument in Congress is to say 'We repeal the Iraq War Resolution' -- that would take away the president's authority. So Congress has remedies here. The question is are the Democrats going to be willing to stand up and take them or are they just going to talk? Kennedy, obviously, is going to do more than talk."

Ratner was referring to US Senator Edward Kennedy's speech to the National Press Club yesterday (see
yesterday's snapshot) where Kennedy called the illegal war in Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam" and spoke of "introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan." The speech can be found in full in Kate Phillip's blog post at the New York Times and Kathy Kiely's USA Today report on the speech contains links to the audio and video of it.

What Micheal Ratner was referring when he noted a second option the US Congress had is something that another Michael apparently slept through (
Michael Gordon of the New York Times), the reaction to Tricky Dick's announcement that he would bomb Cambodia led to a Senate vote to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which was followed by House of Representatives doing the same.

As Kennedy and other grown ups, including US House Rep. and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, attempt to address Bully Boy's non-stop, illegal war of choice,
Ron Elving (NPR) observes that: "Anti-war activists have gained ground -- both at the polls and in the polls -- over the past two months. A new Democratic majority is in place in Congress and surveys find well over half the public now wants to get the United States out of Iraq. Not one American in five supports the idea of sending more troops to fight there. Yet, before this month is over, opponents of the war will get a double does of disappointment" -- the first being Bully Boy's speech today and the second being, according to Elving, will be "the Democrats, empowered as the majority in House and Senate by dint of those November elections, will not be able to stop the greater troop committment."

Tom Hayden (Common Dreams) observes: "If and when the 20,000 Americans plunge into Baghdad neighborhoods, there will be dramatic television coverage of soldiers at risk. It is possible, though far from easy, to 'stabilize' a Baghdad neighborhood for several months or one year, carrying the surge into the next presidential cycle. The strategy fits the polling data showing only 21 percent of Americans favor immediate withdrawal, while the moderate middle might be open to an undefined new strategy if convinced it will shorten the war and bring the troops home. More likely, the ranks of the peace movement are likely to swell with people angry over the perceived betrayal by Bush of the November voter mandate. A failure by majority Democrats to prevent the escalation will convince more people to take to the streets or look to 2008 for a fix."


America Says NO Surge! President Bush is expected to give his "new direction in Iraq" speech this Wednesday, January 10th -- he wants to increase the number of troops on the ground in Iraq. We have to make it clear that Americans do NOT want more troops in Iraq and we have to act fast! True Majority has created a coalition called AMERICA SAYS NO. We will take to the streets together after Bush makes his expected call for escalation in Iraq. We need to stop this "surge" with a stronger surge of protest. Can you join an event this week and help stop the surge? Click here to find an event near you and if you can't find one create your own. Read our latest action alert for more details.

Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) speaks with US soldiers who, don't tell Bully Boy, don't see escalation as an answer in Iraq. Those who would like to listen to the Bully Boy's speech tonight or, at least, to hear an intelligent discussion of it, KPFA and WBAI will be carrying it live with Larry Bensky offering analysis and discussion with various guests which you can listen to online (free of charge, no quiz to take or membership to apply for). For those looking for something else to listen to . . .

In fact, the dispassionate tone of the "debate" about Iraq in The New York Times and on every television screen seems psychotically remote from the reality of what will happen if war actually occurs. We are talking about raining death down on human beings, about thousands and thousands of howling wounded human beings, dismembered corpses in pools of blood. Is this one of the "lessons of Vietnam" that people have learned--that the immorality of this unspeakable murdering must never be mentioned? That the discussion of murder must never mention murder, and that even the critics of murder must always criticize it because it turns out not to be in our own best interest? Must these critics always say that the murders would come at too high a price for us, would be too expensive, would unbalance the budget, hurt the economy, cause us to stint on domestic priorities; that it would lose us our friends, that it would create new enemies? Can we never say that this butchering of human beings is horrifying and wrong?

That is from
Wallace Shawn's Fragments from a Diary (written in 2003) and was among the pieces performed on WBAI's Theater Special: THAW ON THE AIR which broadcast Monday night and which is now in the WBAI archives (for a limited time) -- Jonah tells us it's filed under "Home Fries," Monday, January 8th, 9:00 pm. Those interested in the broadcast but unable to listen can check out Rebecca's report on it.

Turning to news of war resistance,
Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes of Ivan Brobeck. Yes, Ivan Brobeck -- the war resister independent media forgot. Or those who keep up. The Full Brobeck is a term the community uses to note what passes for coverage of war resisters in independent media -- so named when only KPFA's Flashpoints covered Brobeck when he returned to the US from Canada to turn himself on election day (November 6, 2006 -- day before the election -- is when the interview conducted by Nora Barrows-Friedman aired). Robert Fantina (CounterPunch) writes: "Lance Corporal Ivan Brobeck, Sergeant Ricky Clousing, Sergeant Kevin Benderman, Sergeant Camilo Mejia: each a veteran of the Iraq war, and each charged with desertion. Mr. Benderman, Mr. Mejia and Mr. Clousing were convicted, sentenced and have completed prison time. Mr. Brobeck is currently serving an 8-month sentence. Yet with government studies indicating that thousands of soldiers have deserted during the Iraq war, why are only a few charged, while so many others are basically ignored? This is not a new phenomenon. As communication has improved over the two centuries of America's life, the ability for war resisters to reach a wider audience has greatly increased. The four brave men listed above demonstrated their courage first on the battlefield. They then not only further showed their bravery by leaving the U.S. military -- a tremendously brave act in and of itself -- they went the additional step of speaking out publicly against the war. This, it seems, is what brought down the wrath of the U.S. government upon them."

In Peggy Got A Message For Me, From Jesus news: Wonderful article but can someone get it to The Nation -- with sections highlighted? ("Peggy Get . . ." line from Tori Amos' "Cooling" off To Venus And Back.)
Elaine will be addressing that topic this evening at Like Maria Said Paz. That topic? The Nation's refusal to cover war resisters.

William Hughes (San Francisco Indymedia) reports that, in a recent speech, Daniel Ellsberg opposed the escalation option (that Bully Boy will be pimping in the Big Speech), opposed expanding the war and "lauded Lt. Ehren Watada for his principled stand against the Iraqi war." Ehren Watada is the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, a pre-trial hearing began which preceeds the planned February 5th court-martial. John Catalinotto (Workers World) reports that Camp Resistance is across from Fort Lewis (where Watada is stationed) and "plans to stay until the end of Lt. Watada's court-martial" while there will be "nationally coordinated demonstrations for Feb. 5, the day his court-martial is scheduled to open."

Information about Camp Resistance can be found in The Nation. Did you laugh at that idea? Me too. Seriously, information about Camp Resistance can be found at
Iraq Veterans Against the War which has a page for it and other actions entitled Iraq Veterans Against The War Deployed with photos and blog posts.

Watada and Brobeck are a part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, 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 week (MLK day). [Yes, that is a federal holiday and, yes, Congress won't be in session.]

And remember that
Lisa Brobeck is requesting people write her husband, war resister Ivan Brobeck, "so he is constantly reminded that he is not alone during this time in the brig and that he is supported in his brave and courages stand." The address:

LCPL Ivan S. Brobeck
MCB Quantico Brig
3247 Elrod Avenue
Quantico, Virginia 22134

In Iraq today -- all was calm and peaceful -- or to judge by the US media it was. In
reality . . .


Reuters notes a car bombing in Mahmudiya that took one life and wounded three other people; a bombing in Tal Afar that killed the bomber, 4 other people and left 11 wounded; near Tal Afar, a bombing "killed a child and wounded three policemen and one civilian"; and a bombing in Kirkuk wounded three people. Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports four "wounded in two roadside bomb attacks" in Baghdad, "one of which also ruptured a water pipeline supplying the impoverished Shiite slum district of Sadr City." Mohhamed al Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the bomb that ruptured the water pipeline was on Al Kanat Street and that "the pipe was destroyed which led to the cut of the water supply to sadr city."


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) reports: "Nine Iraqi Shiites coming home from Mecca after the annual hajj pilgrimage have been shot dead in cold blood by gunmen" amd also notes that "a woman and a male nurse" were shot dead in Mosul.


Abdelamir Hanun (AFP) notes that 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that 8 corpses were discovered in Mosul, 4 in Mahaweel, 4 corpses were discovered in Qaim, and 1 in Iskandariya. (That's a total of 77 corpses discovered today.)

Today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained from a gunshot wound while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." And they announced: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

Ross Bynum (AP) reports that the Army's 3rd Infantry Division is preparing for their third deployment to Iraq in four years: "The 3rd Infantry, which has about 19,000 troops, is the first Army division to be tapped for a third deployment to the war. Barely a year has passed since its soldiers returned from their last yearlong rotation."

And the slaughter of Haifa Street continues (see
yesterday's snapshot). Leila Fadel and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) note that "residents from the predominantly Sunni Muslim area and Sunni leaders said the American forces had been duped by Iraq's Shiite-dominated security forces into participating in a plan to drive Sunnis from the area." CBS and AP note that "Haifa Street is a broad, two-lane thoroughfare that stretches northwest from the Green Zone through the heart of Baghdad along the Tigris river. Apartment buildings of up to ten sotries high line the street, with retail space on the ground level." AFP notes that, today, "troops were out in force on the streets and most residents stayed indoors" and, most importantly, that the assault took place approximately one mile from the Green Zone. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes Haifa Street "is virtually adjacent to the heavily fortified Green Zone".

Turning to the US,
BuzzFlash interviews Antonia Juhasz (author of THE BU$H AGENDA which they are offering as a premium) on the topic of the illegal war:

BuzzFlash: You're saying that the war in Iraq was as much economic invasion as it was a militarily one.
Antonia Juhasz: Yes, the two most important chapters of my book cover the economic invasion of Iraq and the Middle East trade area and point to what I think are the heart of the problems. The Bush Administration is pushing aggressively forward on rewriting Iraq's oil infrastructure to allow greater control and access to U.S. corporations for its oil under the ground, for exploration and production. I believe that's what's keeping the Bush Administration in Iraq and pointed towards having the United States military remain in Iraq.
Iraq isn't the end. One month after the invasion, the Bush Administration announced plans to expand the Middle East as a free trade area. That free trade pact is moving along quickly, with individual countries making deals with the U.S. out of fear of economic or military retribution. Included in those agreements are increased access to those countries' oil.
The Democratic Congress is going to have to be forced to address these free trade agendas, both in Iraq and across the Middle East, and to reject them. The occupation of Iraq has to end, but not just the military occupation, also the corporate occupation. The United States cannot use the stick of the war to press its own economic agenda across the Middle East. The results will be just as devastating to the rest of the Middle East as they have been in Iraq, and, of course, reverberate back to the United States.

A Citizens' Hearings is being convened January 20-22 at Evergreen State College in Tacoma, Washington and Antonia Juhasz will be among those participating.
Others include Ann Wright, Denis Halliday, Daniel Ellsberg, Nadia McCaffrey, Darrell Anderson.

Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) take a look at the attacks on media (government attacks) in Iraq noting that the "press freedom index of the watchdog Reporters Without Borders" is lower now than it was before the start of the illegal war, the banning of journalists, the expelling of outlets (such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya) and being targeted "for reproting the growing resistance to the occupation."

ehren watada

the kpfa evening news

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Iraq, Lizzie West, Stacy Bannerman

I had an e-mail asking what was the name of the song by Lizzie West that Democracy Now! played on Friday? It's "19 Miles To Baghdad." The album's title is I Pledge Allegiance to Myself.

Here's a section of the lyrics:

19 miles to Baghdad, they fall
and we're called
To tie a yellow ribbon around
Something good has begun
Tie a yellow ribbon around
something . . .
What have we become?

It's a very strong song and a good transition to Stacy Bannerman's "Military Families on Front Lines of War Protest, Pain" (Truthout):

Washington, DC - Susan Tileston sets a half-full mug of beer on the table, and pulls an eagle's-head pendant and dog-tags from their hiding place underneath her jacket. The talismans are from her son, Army Specialist Levi Modrelle, who she says is "missing in action." Levi was part of the initial invasion of Iraq, and served almost eleven months with the 101st Airborne before coming home to Kentucky in late December of 2003.
Susan was reunited with her 18-year-old son on Christmas Eve, but he was not the boy who went to war. "He barely talked. That wasn't like him. And he was shorter by about an inch and a half. I don't know why, but he was. He also had scars on the back of his head."
Several weeks later, he received orders to report to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on January 31, 2004, to return to Iraq. He said he was going, but in February, Susan received a call from officials at Fort Campbell asking about Levi. He had never reported for duty. The military initially listed Levi as Absent Without Leave (AWOL); he's now classified as a deserter.
Susan fears it's more than that, citing the $11,000 that has sat untouched in his bank account for nearly three years. After Levi left, Susan learned that he had told a friend what he couldn't tell her: he'd killed an eight-year-old boy who fired at the contractors he was protecting. Levi was so disturbed by the shooting that he said he couldn't go back to Iraq. Susan filed a missing person report with the Kentucky State police in the fall of 2004, but the only entry in the case is a traffic citation issued to Levi in Florida later that year.
The military isn't actively looking for her son, and Susan says she's gotten no support from the local police. Instead, she's found both a haven and an outlet in
Military Families Speak Out, a grassroots organization of more than 3,100 military families who have been protesting the war in Iraq since it began. Susan and ten other MFSO members joined the hundreds of demonstrators who converged on Capitol Hill last week for three days of activities calling for an end to the war in Iraq and the impeachment of President Bush.
Members of the 110th Congress were still making their way to Washington while activists gathered at the Memorial Bridge for a January 2nd vigil to commemorate the death of 22-year-old Specialist Dustin Donica, the 3,000th soldier killed in Iraq. Several dozen people clustered at the corners of the intersection, their plastic-cupped candles flickering in the dark, carrying on subdued conversations about the uncounted casualties of war, including the 22,257 soldiers wounded in combat, and the devastating toll sustained by military families and veterans.
As the body count continues to rise and the fourth anniversary of the invasion draws near, what many of those gathered were asking was "Why aren't more people here?"

I wasn't in DC, I was at a gathering in my area. However, I'd suggest that more might turn out if they knew about. That would require media attention and if anyone's not aware of what a poor job independent media did on the 3,000 mark, they need to read "The Nation's sense of perspective" and "Democracy Now!'s sense of perspective." It's past time that independent media started covering the war seriously and if anyone thinks that they have been, they're fooling themselves. Independent media largely seems to think that tossing out the name "Judith Miller" qualifies as a contribution these days. In fact, read 2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)" which is all about the way independent media has failed the war. It's past time to demand that independent media treat the war seriously and not as something to fill time with when they can't find anything else to cover.

If you saw an earlier version of this (with less in it), that's because my computer froze and I couldn't get anything to show up that I was typing. I attempted the "save" button for the post but nothing was happening. Hoping I wouldn't lose what I had done thus far, I finally hit "publish." So there's your backstory. And here's C.I.'s powerful "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, January 9, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, more legal news for US soldiers, a newspaper attempts to 'whip' a war resister 'into line,' US Senator Ted Kennedy stands loudly against more troops giving their lives in Bully Boy's illegal war, a slaughter takes place on a residential street in Baghdad and the US press rushes to 'report' from one side, a UNICEF worker is shot dead, and Bully Boy wants a 'fresh start' after promoting, selling and starting an illegal war nearly four years ago.

Starting with US war resister
Ehren Watada who, in June 2006, became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the illegal war. Last Thursday, at the Fort Lewis Army, a military pretrial, presided over by Lt. Col. John Head, heard arguments to outline the scope of the scheduled February 5th court-martial.

Today, the supposedly educated (if not enlightened)
members of The Seattle Times editorial board issued their own journalistic ruling -- one that they apparently hammered out with bully clubs. Representing the finest of mob mentalities, if not journalism or democracy, The Seattle Times argues that Ehren Watada should be convicted on both counts (missing deployment and conduct unbecoming an officer) because . . . well the system just won't survive otherwise. Having killed the invidual to "save" what they see as a weak and dottering system (otherwise Watada wouldn't have to be convicted -- if they had any faith in the strength and resiliency of the American system, the Nervous Nels wouldn't have argued for his conviction for the good of the system), they embrace a long history of knuckle draggers who chose expediency over true democracy because there's nothing like a moral imperative to have the most closed minded reaching for the white sheets and rope.

For the system to struggle on, the editorial board argues, the individual must be stamped out and the accusers of Socrates couldn't have said it better in ancient times. If they've learned anything from their (limited) education, the only evidence is that, while calling for a judicial death, they stop short of imprisoment because they fear a martyr who could galvanize a public.So, by their rudimentary and flawed logic,
Ehren Watada must be found guilty to give pause to any other service member that might follow in his footsteps thereby defending the "good Nazi" argument overruled in the Nuremberg Trials which found that following orders was not a valid excuse and that each soldier is an individual agent responsible for his or her own actions.

The Seattle Times sees service members as worker bees and one wonders how far they'd be willing to carry out their flawed logic. Were it The Berlin Times in the immediate aftermath of WWII would they editorialize in favor of Nazis sending Jews, gypsies and gays to the gas chambers? Doubtful because the only basis for their stand today is that the individual must be stamped out at all costs due to the board's own deluded belief in the weakness of the American system. (Possibly they'd term it "the American experiment"?). In an apparent correction to Max Weber (and a dismissal of Robert K. Merton's work on Universalism), the editorial board argues that the state must not only use military might as they see fit but also narrowly define "justice" when it suits their own purposes.

In a decade of journalistic cowardice, the editorial echoes many of the themes that saw the punishment of those journalists who, in real time, called out the Bully Boy for his Bunny-Fu-Fu hop around the continental United States on September 11th for what it was (cowardice), and saw a rush to pass off press releases as investigative journalism. The system will survive, it always does, it's modern day journalism that has decayed.

In the real world, where a spine is required to stand erect,
Ehren Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military and The Seattle Times hoped for guilty verdict hasn't stopped the movement which includes people such as Watada, Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, 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 week (MLK day).
Bernard Weiner (New Zeland's Scoop) notes, "The refusal of Lieutenant Ehren Watada to return to Iraq is just the tip of the iceberg of resistance inside the officer corps, and among the rank-and-file troops as well: Hundreds of on-duty soldiers have signed a petition calling for "redress," urging the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq."

As Bully Boy prepares for his US primetime address tomorrow (which, as
Cedric and Wally point out, shouldn't startel viewers usually tuned in at that hour to The Biggest Loser, Criminal Minds and Lost), a new poll on escalation (sending more US troops to Iraq) is out. CBS helpfully (that's sarcasm) leads with a 48% to 45% split (48% opposed to sending more US troops into Iraq for the "short term') and then gets around to noting the obvious, "A majority -- 59 percent -- would prefer to see troop levels either reduced (30 percent) or brought to zero with a full withdrawal (29 percent)." Though Michael R. Gordon and others in the mainstream media can wax it on about the escalation, where are the articles (or editiorials) reflecting the American people's majority belief that it's time to bring troops home?
same poll finds the American people better able to articulate the current state of the illegal war -- 71% believe the war is "going badly" and 72% disapprove of Bully Boy's " handling of the war."

Proving that the escalation is not just pie-in-the-sky dreaming from a cracked mind,
Estes Thompson (AP) reports the an unnamed US Defense Department official has confirmed the escalation noting that "3,500 soliders of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division" who are waiting in Kuwait "will be the first to move into Iraq" and that "[u]p to 20,000" other "troops will be put on alert and be prepared to deploy under the" Bully Boy's "plan" while March should see "about 17,400 Marines from Camp Lejeune are expected to be in Iraq as well." Ewen MacAskill (Guardian of London) reports: "As part of what could be Mr Bush's last Iraq gamble, the White House is trying to present the revised policy as a fresh start." In American society, convicts are supposed to get a fresh start . . . of course, that's generally after they've served time.

Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that the escalation would require overturning policies and utilizing the National Guard for "lengthy second tours in Iraq" which may prove"controversial among state governors, who share authority over the Guard, and could heighten concerns in Congress over the war and Bush's plans for a troop increase."

And where is the US Congress?
Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) reminded today: "By law, Congress can limit the nature of troop deployments, cap the size of military deployments and cut financing for existing or prospective deployments." Following Speaker of the House of Representative's Nancy Pelosi's lead on Sunday, others are beginning to issue stronger statements. (Others, of course, do not include Joe Biden.) Kate Phillips (New York Times) blogs that US Senator Edward Kennedy spoke this afternoon at the National Press Club where he termed the illegal war "George Bush's Vietnam." CBS and AP note that Kennedy announced he was "introducing a bill to block Mr. Bush from sending additional troops to Iraq without the consent of Congress." Susan Cornwell (Reuters) highlights this section of Kennedy's speech: "My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the president's plan." CNN reports that Kennedy sees the legislation as Congressional attempt "to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq."
From Kennedy's speech (posted in full by Phillips):

As the election in November made clear, the vast majority of Americans oppose the war in Iraq, and an even greater number oppose sending even more troops to Iraq today.
Families like the Harts and all Americans deserve a voice in that profound decision. Our Constitution gives them that right. The President is Commander-in-Chief, but in our democracy he is still accountable to the people. Our system of checks and balances gives Congress -- as the elected representatives of the people -- a central role in decisions on war and peace.
Today, therefore, I am introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people's right to a full voice in the President's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President's plan.
My proposal is a straightforward exercise of the power granted to Congress by Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. There can be no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to decide whether to fund military action. And Congress can demand a justification from the President for such action before it appropriates the funds to carry it out.
This bill will give all Americans -- from Maine to Florida to California to Alaska and Hawaii -- an opportunity to hold the President accountable for his actions.

The speech comes as
Richard Borreca (Honlulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the incoming chairof the US House's Armed Service Committee, Neil Abercrombie, stated, ""We are not going to fund any surges. We are not going to support expanding this war." In the interview, Abercrombie voices strong criticsm of US Secretary of State Condi Rice and says of the expected testimony before the Armed Service Committee of US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, "My question for Gates? What do they propose to do now? That was not obvious four years ago, and what will they propose that is different from the wrong path they have been following all these years?" Appears not everyone is willing to act as though the illegal war wasn't devised by the Bully Boy and a 'fresh start' occurs just because the Bully Boy says so.

In Iraq?

Reuters reports: "A house in the volatile Shi'ite district of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad was blown up and local residents said it was caused by a U.S. air strike. Doctors showed journalists the bodies of two men, a woman and two children they said died in the house. The U.S. military had no immediate comment." Reuters also notes a mortar attack in Mahmudiya that took one life and left three other family members wounded. AP reports two roadside bombs in Baghdad, one wounded a police officer, the other "wounded an 8-year-old girl."
UNICEF notes the shooting death of one of their own, Janan Jabero ("a 52-year-old Iraqi national") who was killed as he was driving through Baghdad and leaves behind two children and a wife -- "Roger Wright, UNICEF Representative for Iraq, says: 'Janan Jabero was a brilliant engineer and had been a key part of UNICEF's school rehabilitation programme in Iraq since 1999. His death has cost Iraq's children a staunch advocate and we deeply mourn his loss'."
Reuters notes 40 corpses discovered in Baghdad and six in Mosul.
In "Who new Baghdad was a seaside port?" news (it isn't), today a plane crashed at Baghdad International and the
AP states that the 35 who died on board ("29 Turks, . . . on American, three from Oldova and on each from Russia and Ukraine") died, quoting "a Foreign Ministry official," due to "heavy fog." Remember that when flying into Phoenix. (Well maybe the 'fog' derived from the much talked of plans to encircle Baghdad with a 'moat' for 'security' reasons.)

In "I can't believe it's butter" news, Haifa Street, a residential street in Baghdad (though
AP prefers "combat zone" which distinguishes it from any other street in Baghdad how?), was the site of a major assault. CBS and AP quote Iraqi government flack Ali al-Dabbagh stating, "God willing, Haifa Street will never threaten the Iraqi people again" to which the world responds, "They read Gone With The Wind in Baghdad?" Though translanted in many languages (including 24 times in Spanish, 19 times in Chinese) there's no record of it being translated into Arabic so let's help Ali al-Dabbagh by responding with the most famous line, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." CBS News' Lara Logan notes that, despite today's full out assault, "What is particularly interesting about this is that for two years the U.S. military has held the street up as a part of their success in Baghdad. There was much violence along Haifa Street two years ago, and a deal was made between the Iraqis and insurgents living there to keep everything quiet as long as they didn't attack in that area. That deal now seems to be off." That is interesting, equally interesting is how CBS, CNN and everyone rushes in to prop up the joint-organization as an Iraqi call as if we're supposed to all believe now that the occupying force (US) doesn't call the shots. Equally interesting is the lack of skepticism and the (over) reliance upon what military flacks say occurred. Apparently, were the press not spoonfed, it would starve. CNN doesn't even present the qualifier "suspected" before using the catch-all "insurgents" (50 Iraqis died, at least 50, in the blood bath -- war planes, tanks, guns). Oh well, as Eason Jordan demonstrated some time ago, truth is something you tell only after a despot falls. (See Bonnie M. Anderson's News Flash.)
Turning to legal news,
Reuters reports that Juston Graber has pleaded guilty to "aaggravated assault with a dangerous weapon" (and only to that charge) for his actions in the May 9, 2006 murders of three Iraqis near Tikrit and will now be expected to testify against the other three US soldiers (Raymond Girouard, William Hunsaker and Corey Clagett) whom military prosecutors say released Iraqis they had apprehended with the intent to then kill the three Iraqis with the cover of 'they were trying to escape.'

Ryan Lenz (AP) reports the latest on the rape of fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, the murder of her, her five-year-old sister, and both of her parents on March 12, 2006 by US soldiers. (James Barker has confessed to his crimes and will be testifying against others 'alleged' to have been involved.) Lenz reports that three months prior to the crimes, "homicidal ideations" were detected in Green by the Army Combat Stress Team ("Dec. 21, 2005") and they were . . . 'treated' with "several small doses of Seroquel -- a drug to regulate his mood" while he was instructed "to get some sleep" which obviously was a modern medicine at its finest (that was sarcasm). Lenz notes that, "If the charges are true . . . the attack would be among the most horrific instances of criminal behavoir by American troops in the nearly four-year-old war. It also would represent a worst-case scenario for the military's much-criticized practice of keeping mentally and emotionally unfit personnel in the killing fields of Iraq." But why stop there? Green, who will be tried in a civilian court because he'd already been discharged by the military when the realities came to light, was recruited despite having no high school degree and despite going from jail to the military -- he signed a "'moral' character waiver" which allowed him to enlist despite a reported history of prior drug and alcohol related offenses.

Lenz recounts the basics that emerged during the Article 32 hearings and James P. Barker's court hearing where he admitted his own crimes:

The plot to rape and kill was hatched as the soldiers hit golf balls at a checkpoint. They had seen the older daughter on patrols in the area. After drinking whiskey bought from Iraqi policemen, they masked their faces and crept through backyards in afternoon daylight to get to the family's home.
They knew the family kept a gun in one bedroom for protection.Once in the house, Green herded the father, mother and 5-year-old daughter to another room, closed the door and shot them dead. Green had blood on his clothes and boots when he returned.
Green and at least two others took turns raping the other daughter before killing her with the family's AK-47. They set her body on fire with kerosene dumped from a lamp in the kitchen in an effort to hide evidence.

Recounted primarily because independent media has been too busy to report it.
In news from Iraq,
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) report on a ten-year-old boy, Yassir, playing with a toy gun becoming the target of US troops who pursued the child back to his house "and smashed almost everything in it" and quote a witness who stated that this came "after beating Yassir and his uncle hard, and they spoke the nastiest words." Hearts and minds and war crimes apparently.