Friday, February 23, 2007

Memo to KPFA: Book Margaret Kimberley

What a day. On the plus, we got to see Lynne Stewart. That was great. She's a modern day Ethel Rosenberg in my book. (And I'm sure her detractors would agree. But, like many, I believe Ethel was innocenct and made an example of to send a message of fear.) Earlier was the bad.

I've never heard Betty so angry. That's at least partly my fault. If things aren't really crazy at work, she can usually listen to ten or fifteen minutes of Andrea Lewis at work (KPFA's The Morning Show), over the phone, so I'll call when something I think she'll be really interested in is happening. I thought that this morning but the guest was just really off and that's putting it as nicely as possible. Betty was furious. She asked me not to repeat anything she said about the guest but told me I could note that she was going to see if Ruth would address it. (Ruth will be addressing it tomorrow.) Ty had heard it at work so when I found that out, when we were on our way to see Lynne Stewart, I got him to call Betty. She said she'd left him a message and called Cedric on her lunch hour to tell him about the segment. Cedric was going to ask Ruth to cover it because there is such offense, over the issue of race, on their part that they don't think they could be fair at all.

It was a really bad interview and that was due to a guest who thought she knew everything about African-Americans (see, if I were quoting Betty, I would have said "Black" -- I'm not quoting Betty here) and she didn't know what the hell she was talking about. She made one error after another and she was insulting to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. My jaw dropped while I was holding the phone for Betty to listen to and I was really nervous about putting the phone back to my ear. When I got my courage back, Betty said, "This isn't aimed at you." Then she unleashed.

I've never heard Betty so angry before in my life. I don't blame her. That this woman is African-American and wanted to speak for all didn't please Betty, that the woman didn't know her basic facts and that the woman came off like a pompous ass . . .

It was awful. Betty said, "I would be screaming if I wasn't at my desk. But I am shaking, that's how mad I am." Then we both wondered why Margaret Kimberley, who actually knows what that woman was trying to talk about, wasn't a guest. So memo to KPFA: Book Margaret Kimberly for the same topic. Quickly. Betty listens to KPFA's The Morning Show. I tape it for her and she hears the tapes a week later but I really don't think they have a stronger fan and I doubt Andrea Lewis has anyone who appreciates her work more than Betty -- there may be others who appreciate her as much as Betty does, but Betty just thinks Andrea Lewis is one of the finest people --any gender, any race -- doing public affairs programming.

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

Friday, February 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the military demonstrates that "justice" is still a joke to them despite one sex scandal after another, the press is all over the crying rapist, Turkey voices its opposition to partitioning Iraq, and Antonia Juhasz and Kris Welch address the topic of the push to privatize Iraq's oil.

Starting with war resisters.
Yesterday, Mark Wilkerson was court-martialed at Fort Lewis in Texas and sentenced to seven months in a military prison and given a bad conduct discharge. Jim Bergamo (KVUE) reports that Wilkerson's mother, wife and brother were sitting behind him during the hearing and that "it was his good behavior in that first tour of duty and after he returned to his unit in August of last year that helped sway the judge to sentence him to only seven months in jail and give him a bad conduct discharge" while his attorney Michael Duncan told Bergamo that "in a general court-martial, no confinement is very rare". Angela K. Brown (AP) reports that Rebecca Barker, his mother, testified about the home life: "Barker said that in 1996 her estranged husband -- who had adopted Mark as a child -- broke into their house, fatally beat her friend with a baseball bat and then beat her before Mark, then 12, intervened and ran for help. Her husband committed suicide before his murder trial."

In other war resister news,
El Universal reports that Agustin Aguayo's mother, Susana Aguayo, appeal to the Mexican government has been heard -- "The Foreign Relations Secretariat said it would seek information on the health and legal situation of Agustin Aguayo, who faces charges of desertion and missing troop movement. . . . given Aguayo's 'nationality of origin and the fact that his relatives are Mexican, the department has ordered the Mexican Embassy in Germany to offer consular assistance, which consists of using its good offices to gather information on the health and legal situation' of Aguayo." Agustin Aguayo is scheduled to be court-martialed March 6th in Germany.

Ehren Watada, we're going to repeat two points because they are important ones.
Friday's snapshot, while noting Ehren Watada, the following appeared: "John Catalinotto (Socialist Worker) observes: 'Watada's military defense lawyer -- appointed by the Army -- Capt. Mark Kim, said that he agreed with Seitz's interpretation of military law'." That was incorrect. John Catalinotto's article appeared in Workers' World, not Socialist Worker, my apologies. This was noted Tuesday, but it is important to again stress that the military attorney, Mark Kim, is in agreement with Seitz re: double-jeopardy. Let's also repeat from yesterday: " Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, doesn't expect a court-martial to even be possible before summer due to scheduling issues and that the military hasn't even refiled the charges for the March 19th date that Judge Toilet (John Head) was tossing around when he declared a mistrial."

Wilkerson, Aguayo and Watada are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard 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.

Remember how
Mark Wilkerson was sentenced to seven months in military prison? Let's turn to the reality of the joke that is military justice. Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Edwards Franklin is now a "private" and somehow that's "justice" in the snicker-snicker, dirty joke world of the US military. In a press release, the US military tells you he was busted down to private as punishment determined in his court-martial today. Punishment for? "[I]ndecent acts upon a female Private 2nd Class in the junior Soldier's room and then lying about his involvment to CID personnel. On 20 Ocotber 2006 Sgt. 1st Class Franklin followed a female Private 2nd Class into her room on LSA Anaconda. He attempted to force intimate contact upon the solider." Let's be clear because the US military tends to gloss over rape -- as does the press. What Franklin was trying to do, "force intimate contact," is what's known as attempted rape. Back to the press release: "During a CID interview and on the witness stand at trial" denied touching the woman or being in her room for more than five minutes.
And here's where the US military proves what a sad joke is: "A panel of officers and enlisted personnel, sentenced Sgt. 1st Class Franklin to reduction in grade to E-1." Wow. Aren't we all just blown away. Wilkerson's spending seven-months in a military prison and Franklin gets no jail time for attempted rape. As noted in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "
Women and the military" one in every seven US service members serving in Iraq is a woman but there's no real safety guarantees for women. Crimes aren't punished and for any who doubt it, a superior attempts to rape a woman and his "punishment" doesn't include jail time. It's all a joke or a game to the military but not even a game that includes the instruction "Go immediately to jail, do not collect 200 dollars." From The Third Estate Sunday Review feature:

Do you know the name Michael Sydney? As Cheryl Seelhoff reported in Off Our Backs (vol 35, no 2, p. 22), Sgt. Sydney was found guilty, July 2006, "of pandering, mistreating, subordinates, and obstruction of justice, smong other things, for what amounts to his having pimped women under his command. Sydney threatened to extend the tour of duty of female erservists called to active duty if they did not have sex with his superior officers." The brave US military 'justice' system did not court-martial him but they did give him a slap on the wrist: "sentence to six months in jail." Where does someone like Syndey get the idea that women in the military can be used as whores? The same attitude that Antonia expressed which renders service members as males (with wives to kiss) and women invisible.In the same edition of Off Our Backs, Allison Tobey (p. 16) noted Col Janis Karpinski's testimony that General Ricardo Sanchez issued an order barring "dehydration" being noted as cause of death on the death certificates of female service members. Why? Because, according to Karpinski, women were dying from that "because they did not drink liquids in the afternoons in an effort to avoid going to the latrines at night, where they were afrid male soldiers would rape them." Sanchez' 'solution' didn't address the problem, it hid it -- as too many 'solutions' to the abuse and mistreatment of women in the military repeatedly does.In the January 2007 edition of The Progressive,
Traci Hukill examined sexual harassment and sexual assualt in the military and cited a VA report from 2003 (lead to Congress in 2005) which found "60 percent of women and 27 percent of men had experience Military Sexual Trauma" and that it "found the prevalence of actual sexual assualt -- 'unwanted sexual conduct of a physical nature' -- to be 23 percent among female reservists."

Much is being made about Paul Cortez crying at his hearing yesterday and being sentenced to 100 years of prison time for his part in the gang rape and murder of
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of her parents and her five-year-old sister. Reality check -- BBC points out he "will be eligible to seek parole in 10 years." AFP has Cortez as his most tearful when he says: "I'm sorry I let you guys down; you guys treat me better than this." How about a few tears for the 14-year-old girl who was gang raped and murdered? The one Cortez tesified "kept screaming and tried to keep her legs closed. At no point did I think that I had consent to have sex with Abeer." CBS News notes that Cortez couldn't explain to the court "why he did it" -- well, how about he repeat the jokes and ha-has he and the others shared over beer and grilled chicken after the gang rapes and murders?

Rose French (AP) reports that Jesse Speilman's attorneys are saying that he didn't take part in the planning of the rapes and murders. They're also saying that he was under stress. More laughs should ensue April 2nd when his court-martial begins. Steven D. Green is the only one who will be tried in a civilian court. (Green has maintained his innocence. James Barker and Cortez both confessed to their own actions and named Green as the ringleader who planned it all and the one who shot all four family members dead.)

Turning to news of Bully Boy's eye on the prize,
Antonia Juhasz spoke with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room today about the oil law that would privatize Iraq's oil and that had Condi storming through Baghdad last weekend to apply pressure.

Welch started the discussion by citing
Juan Gonzalez (New York Daily News) article on the oil law: "Under the proposed law, Iraq's immense oil reserves would not simply be opened to foreign oil exploration, as many had expected. Amazingly, executives from those companies would actually be given seats on a new Federal Oil and Gas Council that would control all of Iraq's reserves. In other words, Chevron, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and the other Western oil giants could end up on the board of directors of the Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council, while Iraq's own national oil company would become just another competitor."

"Basically it says that executives of oil companies can be on the council and it doesn't say whether or not that is foreign and/or domestic. What I find most depressing about this law is frankly the speed with which it is moving now through the Iraqi government. We, those of us who have been working globally against this push for this essentially privatization of Iraq's oil thought that we had more time and it's really been fast-tracked in Iraq and what is so depressing is that the way this law is written in my mind if it is completed and if it implemented, which we can talk about more later, US oil companies will have at least on paper won the war in Iraq

Kris Welch pointed out that the Iraq oil law is sold as being "very key to settling the increasing violence and chaos in Iraq, that who is in control of the oil is vital and it's in everyone's interest".

Juhasz: It's really American, and let me clarify that as Bush administration, propaganda that this law is the path towards stability in Iraq. It is absolutely propaganda. This law is being sold as the mechanism for helping the Iraqis determine how they will distribute their oil revenue. That is not what this law is about. That is the bottom end of an enormous hammer that is this oil law. This oil law is about foreign access to Iraq's oil and the terms by which that access will be determined. It is also about the distribution of decision making power between the central government and the region as to who has ultimate decision making power and the types of contracts that will be signed. There are powers that be within Iraq that would very much like to see that power divvied up into the regions, between the Kurds and the Shia in particular, and then there are powers that would like to see Iraq retained as a central authority. The Bush administration would like the central government of Iraq to have ultimate control over contracting decisions because it believes it has more allies in the central government than it would if it was split up into regions. The Bush administration is most concerned with getting an oil law passed now and passed quickly to take advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government couldn't be in a weaker negotiating position and the law locks the government in to twenty to thirty-five year committments to granting the most extreme versions of exploration and production contracts to US companies or foreign companies. Meaning that foreign companies would have access to the vast majorities of Iraq's oil fields and they would own the oil under the ground --
they would control the production and they would in contracts yet to be determined get a percentage of that profit but they'd be negotiating essentially when Iraq is at its weakest when Iraq is hardly a country. And that's what this oil law is all about. What Iraqis are saying very clearly and have said to
Raed [Jarrar] and, in particular, to the loudest voices being the Iraqi oil unions is that the only people who want to see this law passed now are the Americans. There's no other reason to push that law through."

Welch and Juhasz then discussed how the government's creation (and election) influences the chances that the law could be passed which put the US administration in the position to call shots. Juhasz: "Now that influence isn't complete and that's why the law hasn't passed yet but it's been slowly and progressively making it's way through and now as you said it's passed through the cabinet or is on the verge of passing in the cabinet it would then go to the parliatment and there's great concern . . .
Raed [Jarrar] has done a monumental job of trying to inform the Iraqi parliamentarians just about the law. Until he had helped unearth the draft and help retreive it from the internet that most parliamentarians, or almost all Iraq parliamentarians haven't even seen the law."

Juhasz cited
Hands off Iraqi Oil and Oil Change International as resources for activism geared for the fourth anniversary of the start of the illegal war next month. [Thank you to Megan, Zach and Ty for noting & transcribing the above.]

Picking up on the issue of Iraq being split into regions,
KUNA reports that Abdullah Gul, Turkey's foreign minister, declared yesterday that splitting Iraq into regions or partitions would lead "bloody wars": "Why we refuse the establishment of a Kurdish state in the North of Iraq, the reason is clear, we are against the partition of Iraq because this will trigger engless wars in the region."

Meanwhile Tony Blair's claims of 'success' in Iraq are about as 'truthful' as his claims of a pullout.
Stephen Farrell, Ned Parker and Richard Beeston (Times of London) report: "Tony Blair says Iraq has made 'remarkable' progress. Clusters of red on the British Army's own maps of Basra suggest otherwise. . . . Although the initial perception of British forces in Basra was of experienced troops putting the population at ease by patrolling in berets, instead of the more aggressive posture adopted by US forces further north, the reality has varied widely from town to town."

In WOOPSIE! news,
Kim Gamel (AP) reported the US military arrested "Amar al-Hakim, son of political leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim" -- who had face time with Bully Boy in DC last December. CNN reports that the Zalmay Khalilzad (still US ambassador to Iraq for now) "issued an apology" for the arrest and the son has been released.

In other political news,
BBC reports that "Democrats in the US are planning a challenge to President George W Bush's handling of the war in Iraq" with the premise that the authority granted by the resolution was for set things and new things need to be set. CBS and AP report that the new resolution is still unclear but would "leave U.S. troops with a limited mission as they prepare to withdraw."

In Iraq? It's Friday. Did anyone work besides McClatchy Newspapers?


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a child was killed in a mortar attack in the Amil neighborhood of Baghdad and five other people were injured in the attack while, in the Abu Disheer neighborhood of Baghdad, a mortar attack injured three people.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "a U.S. military convoy killed one civilian and injured other two in Zafaraniya, Iraqi police said. The source said the patrol didn't stop after the shooting and the man who was killed was walking on the side road."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports five corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

Today, the
US military announced: "Three Soldiers assigned to Multi-National Force-West were killed Feb. 22 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

agustin aguayo
ehren watada
antonia juhaszraed jarrar

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jean Seberg

I'm busy and was wondering how I was going to have time to blog tonight. Then I was listening to KPFA's Flashpoints and Mumia Abu-Jamal was talking briefly about Jean Seberg. It was another "Bad Joyce Harber" that ignored Newsweek. So I'll excerpt the realities about Jean Seberg from a roundtable we did at The Third Estate Sunday Review (I believe the excerpt features The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona and Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; and Mike of Mikey Likes It!):

Jim: Okay. Betty had asked for something to be brought up. It's peace then, peace now, I'm guessing. But there's a new book on Jane Fonda entitled Jane Fonda's War by Mary Hershberger that Betty doesn't care for.

C.I.: I'm sorry, Betty.

Betty: No, I loved reading most of it. C.I. gave me a copy, I think most of us got a copy. Right?

Rebecca: Right. And I think I know what you're going to talk about. I've avoided noting the book at my site for that reason. I do enjoy the book of speeches and intend to note that. The speeches were collected and edited by Hershberger as well.

Betty: This is about the media. It's about the government. It's about a war on peace. Which is why I'm bringing it up. There's a section in the book that has no relation to reality and I know Dona's warning about time so what I'd like to do, if that's okay, is read the section that infurated me and have C.I. rebutt line by line. Is that okay?

Jim: Fine by me. C.I.?

C.I.: Sure.

Betty: This begins on page 52 and continues through page 53. The discussion is about how J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI attempted to smear those speaking out. This section focuses on Jean Seberg and C.I. has brought that up in roundtables and written of it at The Common Ills. What the woman presents in this book is not reality. Jean Seberg is pregnant, she's an actress famous for Breathless, among other films. She is publicly with Romain Gary. Both are White. The decision is made to discredit her. The FBI decides they will discredit her by stating that she's carrying the baby of a Black Panther which is supposed to send shock waves through the still racist America. Richard Wallace Held is the FBI agent Hershberger identifies as participating.

C.I.: But there were more.

Betty: Right. So he prepares a letter with a phony signature that won't be traced back to the FBI, the book tells you. "Held heeded the order and then sent his letter to Hollywood gossip columnist Joyce Harber under a false name, purporting to be a friend of Seberg's." C.I.?

C.I.: If Hershberger knows what really happened, that is a lie. More likely she's bought into the attempts to lynch Harber which allowed others to go scott free. Harber was not sent the letter. Okay, I'm taking a breath. Just to explain the importance of this, what will be done to Seberg destroys her. She will never recover from it. She will suffer under the stress and she will eventually kill herself. This isn't something to be tossed out or something to write about when you don't know your facts. I'll assume Hershberger doesn't know her facts. That sentence alone contains a huge inaccuracy. Harber was not sent the letter. She was given it. She was given it by Bill Thomas, then the city editor of The Los Angeles Times, and he wrote at the top of the letter something like, "Joyce, I don't know if you care, but this comes from a reliable source." Joyce Harber was not sent the letter. She didn't do a blind item, but I'm getting ahead, on some letter she was sent. An editor at the paper passed it on and vouched for it. That was Bill Thomas. Bill Thomas publicly admitted to that. He had to because the letter was in Harber's files and anyone could see Thomas' note that he'd scribbled on it. When he admitted to it he denied remembering anything about it. Bill Thomas was up to his neck in that. He also, just FYI, was the person who fired Joyce Harber from the paper.

Betty: "She didn't name Jean Seberg, calling her "Miss A," but she printed unique details of Seberg's life and career that made the identity of 'Miss A' obvious."

C.I.: Well the item could have described several. That's what a blind item is. The musical in the item is probably the biggest clue but many could have read it and thought, for instance, "Jane Fonda" and just assumed she'd signed to do a musical and they didn't know about it.

Betty: I'm going to hurry this along. "Newspapers and magazines around the country picked up the story, and an emotionally fragile Seberg attempted suicide. Doctors tried to save her baby's life by performaing a ceasearn section, but the baby lived only two days."

C.I.: There are so many lies in that I don't know where to start. Harber wrote for The LA Times. Her column was also syndicated. Those who carried her syndicated column picked it up as they normally did. It did not cause anything like what that woman describes in her book. Rebecca told me not to read that because she knows how I am about Seberg. Not to read the book. I'm glad I didn't. Is Flyboy listening?

Rebecca: Yes. Why?

C.I.: See if he'll speak for a minute.

Flyboy: Sure. What's up?

C.I.: I've talked in roundtables about this and written about it at The Common Ills. Betty knows and everyone else knows what happened. I'm thinking you may not.

Flyboy: Not really. Just what Betty was reading and Rebecca telling me, "Oh my God, C.I. is going to be furious." That was when she was reading the book.

C.I.: You heard what Betty read. Could you tell me the events as the author portrays them?

Flyboy: A gossip columinist at an LA paper writes that Jean Seberg is pregnant by a Black Panther. Jean Seberg tries to kill herself. The baby dies.

C.I.: Thank you. That is such a fucking lie -- and I just told one member last week I'd try to watch my own language in these editions. I do not take kindly to anyone lying about Jean Seberg. Rebecca said skip the book or you'll be pissed. Jean Seberg went into the hospital in August. The trauma at that time was Newsweek, not The Los Angeles Times. When the Harber blind item ran it was May of 1970.

Betty: May 19, 1970 according to the endnote.

C.I.: Thank you. Sebergs ends up in the hospital in August, after Seberg o.d.ed on sleeping pills, which was not thought by all to be a suicide attempt, she was taken to the hospital. While she was in the hospital, Edward Behr wrote up a bit on her for Newsweek. He maintained that he included the 'news' that the baby's father was a Black Panther in his cable to Newsweek's NY headquarters because he was just trying to prove he was 'on' the story and in the know but it wasn't for publication. In the cable he does mark that "Strictly FYI". That ends up running in Newsweek. Kermit Lasner will offer the laughable excuse that he had no idea how that piece of shit made it into the magazine because he'd had a scooter accident at lunch. Newseek printed, August 24th issue, 1970, that, this is a quote, I damn well know what they printed: "She and French author Romain Gary, 56, are reportedly about to remarry even though the baby Jean expects in Ocotober is by another man -- a black activist she met in California." That's what got picked up everywhere, including in The Des Moines Register, Seberg's hometown paper. Now that book is supposed to utilize government documents and the FBI had Seberg's phones tapped, including her hospital phone, so they knew very well that her state of mind was frantic after Newsweek published the item. She lost the baby because of the Newsweek article. I question everything that Betty quoted including the timeline. Newsweek printed it, it got picked up everywhere, Jean Seberg lost her baby, and Romain Gary was quite clear whom he blamed when he wrote "The Big Knife" which was published in France-Soir. This was a very huge thing, in press on both sides of the Atlantic. It's still a huge deal to many and one of the main reasons I never link to the piece of crap Newsweek.

Betty: I knew it was wrong. We've discussed this and it's addressed in "
Spying and Seberg" but I had to wonder how an author gets it that wrong? Maybe because it's a little easier to go after a dead gossip columnist than it is to go after Newsweek?

C.I.: To be honest with you, that's exactly where I went as well. Joyce Harber was scapegoated for that thing which she never would have read if the city editor hadn't vouched for it. Bill Thomas got off scott free. But what Harber did was a bit of gossip. In a blind item. Newsweek, not a gossip publication, printed a lie in their magazine and that set off a wave outside of any gossip community. They knew what would happen when they did that, both to Seberg and in terms of being echoed throughout the press. That was nothing but corporate media going after a peace activist. It's exactly the kind of crap they've always done and for an author of a book published by The Free Press to either not know or to avoid telling readers the actual truth is just disgusting. It's the August 24, 1970 issue of Newsweek. Anyone who doubts it can get their ass to a libary and utilize the reels or microfiche.

Dona: I just want to note that this wasn't true, it was something created by the FBI, and, therefore, it needs to be asked how a Newsweek reporter in France got hold of the information?So now we're on the topic of the media. Okay, everyone, we're taking a break. C.I. just walked off in disgust.

Jim: And we're back. Before we move on, do you want to add anything C.I.?

C.I.: Just that if you feel the press led to the death of Seberg's child, I do, and that it was a government plot, which has been established and someone needing a source can comb through Richard Cohen's columns, he's written very strongly about it, after the FBI records became public, at The Washington Post, you name the people involved. This is the sort of cowardice we see too much of it, if it's not ignorance, a refusal to go after the big targets because you're scared. It makes my blood boil. Betty's right, it's really easy to go after a gossip columnist. It's a lot more difficult to go after Newsweek for some. But the reality is that it was Newsweek in August, not Harber in May that printed the lie and printed Jean Seberg's name by it. It was a government plot against Seberg and running to hide behind gossip columnists sure does allow Newsweek breathing room. When the government decides to destroy someone and when you can prove that it was a plot to destroy her, carried out by the FBI, with J. Edgar Hoover's approval, you tell the truth about it. You don't write, "OH MY GOD! JOYCE HARBER RAN A BLIND ITEM AND IT DESTROYED JEAN SEBERG!" The blind item worried her. Newsweek destroyed her. There's a difference.

Mike: A big difference. Like chasing after the ghost of Judith Miller while Michael Gordon continues to sell the war. It's easy, no one's going to challenge you, and, to the uninformed, it looks like you've done some work.

So there's the full story. Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, February 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the media obsesses over royalty (Harry in Iraq in May! Or June! OMG), the puppet learns rape doesn't just go away, the military still hasn't refiled charges against Ehren Watada, Mark Wilkerson faces his court-martial at Fort Hood, and activism and calls for it abound.

Starting with the issue of rape.
Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) offers a breakdown for those who still can't get it:

No Iraqi woman under the circumstances -- under any circumstances -- would publicly, falsely claim she was raped. There are just too many risks. There is the risk of being shunned socially. There is the risk of beginning an endless chain of retaliations and revenge killings between tribes. There is the shame of coming out publicly and talking about a subject so taboo, she and her husband are not only risking their reputations by telling this story, they are risking their lives.
No one would lie about something like this simply to undermine the Baghdad security operation. That can be done simply by calculating the dozens of dead this last week. Or by writing about the mass detentions of innocents, or how people are once again burying their valuables so that Iraqi and American troops don't steal them.
It was less than 14 hours between Sabrine's claims and Maliki's rewarding the people she accused. In 14 hours, Maliki not only established their innocence, but turned them into his own personal heroes. I wonder if Maliki would entrust the safety his own wife and daughter to these men.

Riverbend is writing of the 20-year-old woman who came forward Monday stating she had been raped. al-Maliki promised an investigation and . . . didn't follow through. What he did do was release something -- a second page of a three page report on someone -- that he said was proof that the woman wasn't raped.

It wasn't proof of anything. And it doesn't even prove that whatever woman the report is on wasn't raped.
Richard Mauer (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that rape experts who have looked at the page say it "didn't disprove the woman's allegations, . . . and it indicated that the woman suffered extensive injuries, including at least eight bruises on the front of her thighs consistent with a sexual assualt." Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) offers a timeline of many of the generally known details; however, he leaves out the fact that the woman was taken to a US medical facility by US forces. That detail was left out of the official version by the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell -- despite being previously reported. Among the experts Mauer cites are Dr. Karen Simmons of the Rape Treatment Center in Miami ("They did a CT scan of the head, the pelvis, and the neck. These tests would not have shown if someone was sexually assaulted, so there had to have been some kind of other trauma that they found.") and Josuah Weintraub ("It shows that she was brought into a trauma unit in bad shape.").

Marc Santora (New York Times) notes that news conferences were called by Sunni and Shi'ites "to condemn one aonther" with Abdul Nasir al-Janabi stating that "the government was covering up many rapes of Iraqi women by the security forces" and al-Maliki issuing a statement proclaiming: "We expected this fabricated propaganda. The purpose of this is to obstruct and distort the law enforcing plan."

Oren Dorell (USA Today) reported: "The U.S. military said Wednesday that it will launch its own investigation into an alleged rape that has created a furor among Iraq's Sunnis and bitterly split the country's government." However, Hamza Hendawi (AP) corrected that, "But [Willie] Caldwell clarified his remarks Thursday, saying the U.S. military was not conducting an independent probe. He said Petraeus has ordered that any evidence pertinent to the case be secured and preserved 'so that it may be provided to the appropriate Iraqi judicial official in accordance with U.S. policy'."

While the US military refuses to live up to its obligations as an occupying power, the reports have already had some impact. One response to the public charges "and the Iraqi government's dismissive response" was,
CNN reports, to lead another rape victim to come forward -- a 45-year-old Sunni woman was raped and her daughters were almost raped in Tal Afar by four Iraqi soldiers. A fifth Iraqi soldier arrived in the midst of the crimes and ordered the four to leave but that was apparently to be 'justice' because nothing else was done until the woman came forward. AP is going with fifty-years-old for the woman but CNN notes where their confirmation for the details come from (mayor of Tal Afar). (BBC pins her age at 40.) The BBC quotes the woman stating: "They threatened me that if I did not co-operate they would . . . cause me a scandal. . . . Who do I complian to? No one allows us to complain."

In other rape news, the New York Times manages to run
Andrea Hopkins (Reuters) report on Paul Cortez' confession to taking part in the gang rape of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Yet it's a selectively edited version of Hopkins report, one that somehow manages to leave out Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi thereby continuing the not-so-proud tradition of the New York Times of rendering Abeer invisible. While this scrubbed version of a Reuters appears on A8 and never manages to mention the victim's name, flip to A14 and a story on a death sentence and you'll see both murder victims named. Some victims matter more to the paper than other victims and, as Carolyn Marshall and Robert F. Worth demonstrated early on, the paper's goal was to sell 'no crimes took place but, if anything did happen, it was just due to stress.' Credit to Kristin M. Hall of AP who reported it for what it was "gang rape."

You say it's so women in Iraq can vote
from the privacy of their graves.
-- Connie Wanek, "You Say," Poets Against The War, p. 245

Turning to the United States, war resister
Mark Wilkerson's court-martial took place todayat Fort Hood in Texas. Shelton Green (Austin's KVUE) reports that Wilkerson spent his last night with his wife and family. Thursday, August 31st, Wilkerson spoke at Camp Casey III -- a press conference -- where he announced his intent to turn himself in after having self-checked out a year and a half ago. Angela K. Brown (AP) reported, "Wilkerson said his views of the war changed and he realized he could no longer stay in the military, so he applied for conscientious objector status. But his request was denied a month before his unit was to return to Iraq. He said he was told his appeal would not be considered until after he came back. So Wilkerson then decided not to return from the two weeks of approved leave before the January 2005 deployment."

Also on August 31st, As Mark Wilkerson was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein for
KPFA's Flashpoints, discussing the expected charge of desertion, a charge that, if found guilty of, people have been executed for. Wilkerson discussed serving in Iraq and how his views changed from those he'd held at 17-years-old. He attempted to receive c.o. status but his was denied. He attempted to prepare for the rebuttal process but was informed he'd be redeploying to Iraq and any rebuttal would have to wait until his second deployment ended.
Wilkerson, in that interview, emphasized how difficult it could be to have access to news becuase not everyone has internet access and, for many, Stars & Stripes is basically it. Bernstein asked him if he regretted his decision to self-check out? Wilkerson responded, "I completely stand by my decision. For me, this was a time in my life when I decided I had to make a stand regardless of whether [it meant] prison or death".

Wilkerson wrote (last October): "Before I deployed to Iraq during OIF1, I was full of optimism for what we could do to help the people of Iraq. One of our missions, after all, was to 'win the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people.' And in this reagard, we have failed miserably. In the year I was in Iraq, I saw kids waving American flags in the first month. Then they threw rocks. Then they planeted IEDs. Then they blew themselves and others up in city squares full of people. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why this has happened is the way the American troops have treated the Iraqi people as a whole. From random raids of whole city blocks, to checkpoints that interrupted the daily lives of the Iraqis, to incidents of torture and even massacres, a majority of Iraqis now feel as that the American soliders, once hailed as heroes and saviors, are now seen as conquerors. Civil was has erupted in the streets, and Americans are caught in the crossfire."

Earlier this month,
Dick Foster (Rocky Mountain News) reported on the plea agreement that had been reached which would guarantee no "more than 10 months in prison. But he also faces a possible dishorable or bad conduct discharge and a felony conviction on his record."

Today, Wilkerson had to enter his plea and later face sentencing.
Jim Bergramo (KVUE) reports: "The military judge, who is hearing the case, accepted Wilkerson's guilty plea. Wiklerson told the judge he quit the Army and made his decision with a clear mind. He also said he planned to leave his unit, and changed his address, phone number and email address so no one in his unit could find him." Angela K. Brown (AP) reports that the prosecution called no witnesses but Wilkerson's relatives "testified on his behalf . . . and more witnesses were expected later in the afternoon at the sentecing." Jim Bergamo (KVUE) quotes Iraq Veterans Against the War Kelly Dougherty stating: "For those in the military who see the war in Iraq as immoral and wrong, I think it takes a lot of courage . . . because this is not what they signed up for. The military stresses that when you're given an illegal order, it's your duty to refuse it, so I think they see it as their duty to refuse it." [Sentenced to 7 months. See last sentence in snapshot.]

War resister
Agustin Aguayo faces a court-martail on March 6th in Germany. Ehren Watada is someone the US military would love to court-martial again; however, the double-jeopardy clause may prevent that. Iraq Veterans Against the War's Ryan Elsey writes (Foreign Policy in Focus) that "Lt. Watada's lawyer is hoping to invoke the principle of double jeopardy to argue that a second trial cannot lawfully take place. Just as many members of Iraq Veterans Against the War stood by Lt. Watada as he spoke before the Veterans for Peace convention, the organization stands by him now. Even though everyone in uniform is a volunteer, it is absurd to think that a contract can relinquish a human being
of the responsibility to act in a just way. It is equally abominable to claim that service members should lack the right to free speech. Those who give up so much--time, energy, blood, sweat, and even their lives--to serve deserve the right to free speech more than anyone; service members have clearly given the most to earn free speech. Service members of all ranks have the right to contribute to the public debate on any war and to provide a tempering voice when issues of war are discussed. They have perspectives that are vastly more valuable than armchair punditry. And when they are ordered to carry out unjust acts and fight in immoral wars, if they choose to resist, they at the very least have
the right to a fair defense. Yet, the Army is still attempting to prosecute Lt. Watada for speaking out about the Iraq War and for refusing orders. The silent majority of Americans opposed to the Iraq War must stand up and support Lt. Watada. Now is the time to praise the war's objectors as equally as we have praised the heroes who have fought and died. If we all had Lt. Watada's courage, we could finally facilitate an end to this war and steer our country toward a foreign policy based on cooperation, diplomacy, and a respect for international law."

Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, doesn't expect a court-martial to even be possible before summer due to scheduling issues and that the military hasn't even refiled the charges for the March 19th date that Judge Toilet (John Head) was tossing around when he declared a mistrial.

Wilkerson, Aguayo and Watada are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard 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.

Turning to US politics,
Kevin Zeese (CounterPunch) reports on Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel who didn't cower while serving in the Senate during the days of Tricky Dick and who has said "that anyone who voted for the use of force resolution that allowed President Bush to invade Iraq has shown they do not have the judgment to serve as prsident of the United States. Gravel, during the build-up to the war, publicly opposed the invasion. In an interview on MSNBC he insisted that intelligence showed there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America's national interests."

the Green Party (US), this week, reissued their call for Congress to "address the war as a criminal act of military aggression. Greens called on Democrats and Republicans in Congress who claim to oppose the war to interrupt President Bush's agenda in Iraq by cutting off funding for the U.S. occupation."

This as
NOW asks that you "Surge for Peace": "It's time for Congress to excercise their oversight authority and pass BINDING legislation to deal with the costly and deadly situation in Iraq. After last week's pros-and-cons marathon in the House, they finally passed the "non-binding" resolution opposing the troops surge by a vote of 246 to 182. Now it's time to get serious. We must urge, no demand, that our Representatives cosponsor H.R. 508, introduced by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif), a comprehensive plan to disengage from Iraq within 6 months after enactment and make reparations for the damages that our invasion and occupation have caused to Iraq's people and infrastructure. Take Action NOW"

The Illinois Students Against The War protested Democratic presidential candidate (and US senator) Barack Obama's speech two Sundays ago and
explain why at CounterPunch: "Many have felt that we interrupted the rally one to many times. Our plan was to drop the banner and chant once during a pause to make our presence noticed -- which we did. But because we were being roughed up and 'escorted' out of the pavilion by security we felt it necessary to again make our point. It was then that we started a second chant; 'No justice, no peace -- U.S. out of the Middle East.' Later in his speech, Obama acknowledged our concerns. 'I'm glad they were there,' he told the crowd. 'They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought.' But Obama added that he doesn't want to cut funding for the war. 'We need to bring this war to an end,' he said, 'but we need to do it in a way that makes our troops safe.' In reality, the longer the troops stay in Iraq -- the more unsafe they are." In addition, it needs to be noted that evicting protestors is something Democrats act appalled by when Republicans do it. The whole thing has a shade of 'protest pens' that so disgraced the 2004 DNC convention in Boston.

Also taking action were
four activists who staged a sit-in at US Rep Marcy Kaptur's office in Toledo, Ohio. AP reports 17 participated and 4 were arrested.

Meanwhile, while everyone obsessed over Mr. Tony's announcement,
Free Speech Radio News reported yesterday that Denmark "will completely withdraw its troops from Iraq by August." On Mr. Tony's announcement, Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports: "It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger. In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day. Food is short in parts of the country. A quarter of the population would starve without government rations. Many Iraqis are ill because their only drinking water comes from the highly polluted Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Nowhere in Mr Blair's statement was any admission of regret for reducing Iraq to a wasteland from which 2 million people have fled and 1.5 million are displaced internally."

Spiegel, high on something, offers: "The allies have had very different Iraq Wars since the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. While the British control the Shiite-dominated southern part of the country, which has been relatively calm, the United States has become bogged down in Sunni-dominated central Iraq, and in the capital Baghdad -- home to both Sunnis and Shiites. Blair acknowledged this difference during his speech, saying 'the situation in Basra is very different from Baghdad -- there is no Sunni insurgency, no al-Qaida base, little Sunni on Shia violence,' adding that it was nothing like the 'challenge of Baghdad'." Apparently, we're all supposed to pretend that sourthern Iraq is patrolled? We're supposed to pretend that the British didn't abandon one base in August -- with no notice -- that was stripped down by the resistance in a matter of hours? We're supposed to pretend that the Basra base wasn't under daily attack? In fact, let's pretend that Al Jazeera didn't just report: "The two British bases, located in central Basra and in the city's Shat al-Arab hotel, were bombed on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning".

In other violence in Iraq . . .


CBS and AP report a mortar attack in Baghdad that left 4 wounded. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman was wounded by an IED in Baghdad, two other civilians were wounded by an IED earlier today (10:00 am), a mortar attack left one person dead and three wounded (this was two hours after the mortar attack CBS and AP note) and, in Slah ad Din, "A source in the Iraqi police said that two policemen were killed and other 9 were wounded in an attack launched by insurgents on Hay Al Tamim police station in Biji city north of Baghdad. The source added that Iraqi security forces imposed a curfew in the city after the incident. It's to be mentioned that the insurgents blew up a communication tower belonging to Asia Cell phone company which stopped the communication inside the city."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Iraqi police officers were wounded in Baghdad.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports ten corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

AP is reporting that Mark Wilkerson was "sentenced to seven months in military prison . . . also given a bad conduct discharge".

ehren watada

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Michael Chossudovsky

KPFA's Guns and Butter today was a rebroadcast of her interview with Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research and an economics professor in Canada. The first time this aired, I focused on the bunker-busters and how those terms are used. This time, what stood out the most was the neoliberal agenda which really doesn't get the attention it should (neocons tend to get more attention) and the relations of China and Russia. This was aired again as a set up to future shows on Iran.

I have a hideous headache tonight so I'm just going to pull an excerpt from a piece by Chossudovsky's "The Criminalization of US Foreign Policy" (Global Research):

The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity.
At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable, a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread, in terms of radioactive fallout, over a large part of the Middle East.
There is mounting evidence that the Bush Administration, in liaison with Israel and NATO, is planning the launching of a nuclear war against Iran, ironically, in retaliation for Tehran's nonexistent nuclear weapons program. The US-Israeli military operation is said to be in "an advanced state of readiness".
If such a plan were to be launched, the war would escalate and eventually engulf the entire Middle-East Central Asian region.
The war could extend beyond the region, as some analysts have suggested, ultimately leading us into a World War III scenario.
The US-led naval deployment (involving a massive deployment of military hardware) is taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean is broadly under the jurisdiction of NATO in liaison with Israel. Directed against Syria, it is conducted under the fa├žade of a UN "peace-keeping" mission. In this context, the Israeli led war on Lebanon last Summer, which was conducive to countless atrocities and the destruction of an entire country, must be viewed as a stage of the broader US sponsored military road-map.

That's it for me. Like I said, my head is just killing me tonight. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Mr. Tony soaks up headlines with his non-statements, Abeer was gang raped but the same press that couldn't mention her name appears too delicate to use the word "gang rape" (one wire report even uses "assault" to avoid the term "rape" -- such shy maidens), the Black Hawk was shot down and it takes the US military the better part of a daily news cycle to come forward with that information, and rape may be the thing that finally gets the puppet pulled from Baghdad as he continues to botch things up.

Starting with Mr. Tony. Tony Blair, Bully Boy's lapdog and personal poodle, was hailed during a mini-news cycle for his talk of bringing British troops home. Now the bloom is off the rose as reality sets in. AFP and Reuters report that 5,500 British troops will remain in Iraq, as Mr. Tony puts it, "for as long as we are needed." Mr. Tony had hoped to use the slight withdrawal as the staging for a series of victory laps as he prepares to step down as prime minister but, as with his earlier plans of how to get slavish praise from the press, it didn't turn out quite the way he wanted. Mark Rice-Oxley and Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) note that it's only a 25% withdrawal of British forces from Iraq.

Interviewed by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today, Tony Benn cut through Mr. Tony's nonsense noting that "there wasn't really any change. But Blair is due to retire in a matter of weeks. And I'm afraid, I suspect, that this is a gimmick at this stage, so that he can claim that the mission is being accomplished and, therefore, the troops can be withdrawn. And on the question of Iran, he repeated ominous warnings. So I don't think too much will be read into this." Amy Goodman noted: "Here you have Tony Blair just moments ago making this announcement in the House of Commons. Then you have Cheney speaking on an aircraft carrier near Tokyo, saying the American people will not support a policy of retreat."

Goodman was referring to Cheney's attempt to shore up the support of the Japanese government in a little trip that Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) reports didn't turn into a love-fest what with the embassy 'greeting' of "Yankee Go Home" blared over a speaker as he arrived and the lies and fear he has to resort to in order to get even a sliver of copy. Pulling from his bag of tricks, Dick -- who avoided Vietnam -- is using the same if-we-leave-they-will-come-after-us. Now that didn't frighten Dickie enough to enlist during Vietnam but he obviously thinks the American people are stupider than he is (prolonged exposure to the Bully Boy will make one feel smarter). As for the retreat, perhaps it's time polls started asking "Should Cheney and Bully Boy announce a retreat from their war" because that is how many Americans see this illegal war. Murray notes 63% of Americans now favor US forces pulling out of Iraq.

Though Cheney attempts to scare up support for the war and put the blame for inept leadership on the backs of the American people, Sharon Smith (CounterPunch) voices the reality that more Americans are coming around to: "The Iraq war marks the first major war in the last century fought in the interests of America's ruling elite without even the pretense of 'shared sacrifice.' During the First World War, the tax rate for top income earners stood at 77 percent; during the Second World War, at 94 percent. Even during Vietnam, the wealthiest taxpayers faced a rate of 70 percent on personal income. Yet, as the bloodletting in Iraq has been proven a war for nothing more than U.S. control over Middle Eastern oil, the corporate class continues to enjoy an income tax rate that has been capped at only 35 percent since 2003 -- the year the U.S. invaded Iraq. Bush's plan to permanently extend these tax cuts, which are set to expire in 2010 would cost an estimated $211 billion in 2012 and $1.6 trillion over the next decade. Added to their profit windfalls and soaring executive salaries, the corporate class has every reason to celebrate. Bush's budget makes clear that the growing numbers of economically disadvantaged Americans -- already supplying the cannon fodder to kill and die in Iraq and Afghanistan -- must also continue to shoulder the suffocating financial burden for U.S. imperialism's twenty-first centruy follies.Bush's budget proposal brazenly takes aim at veterans themselves, nearly doubling their out-of-pocket fees from $8 to $15 for prescription medications when they return home from a war zone battered and traumatized, and often looking for work. In this war, only the working class is expected to sacrifice."

Smith's statements are echoed in the AP data Kimberly Hefling (AP) reported on yesterday which found that those Americans paying the costs with their own lives tend to come from small, rural communities "where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average."

Meanwhile, speaking with Jason Farbman and Darrin Hoop (Socialist Worker), US war resister Darrell Anderson explains why he decided to return to the US and turn himself in,
"I felt that I had to go to jail and stand with these other resisters. There's nothing more powerful than soldiers who have been to Iraq saying that it's wrong, and we're not going to do it again. That's where I believe the heart of the movement is -- in these 20 or 30 or 40 of us who resisted now. . . . When I turned myself in, they gave me a piece of paper that asked why I'd gone AWOL. I said because I'm a combat veteran, I have post-traumatic stress, and the war is wrong. Basically, I said that I dare you to put my uniform on me, put my Purple Heart on me and send me to prison so people can see that we're going to jail." On the topic of Ehren Watada and court-martials, Anderson declares: "These court-martials are the front line of where we're fighting the war. This needs to be the focus for the antiwar movement -- Watada and all the war resisters. We need more soldiers like Watada, and more soldiers who come back from Iraq and say, 'I'm a veteran, I watched my buddies die in Iraq, and now I'm going to jail because I won't do it anymore."

Agustin Aguayo is set for a March 6th court-martial in Germany. Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) speaks to Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, who tells him: "One of the care packages sent to the soldiers was a book on the history of Iraq. He said that it really changed what he believed, I mean he was a conscientious objector, he believed that killing was wrong, but after reading that book he realized that the war in Iraq has essentially been created for the personal gain of a few people. What he told me was that for a few corporations, it's in their best interests to keep the chaos going in Iraq. And he just came to believe that killing is wrong, but this war is wrong, too, because it's all motivated by money."

Anderson, Aguayo and Watada are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard 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.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the following bombings in Baghdad, a roadside bomb on Al Jadiria Bridge that killed one police officer and left three more wounded, a parked car bomb that killed two civilians left seven wounded and 25 poisoned from bottles of Chlroine gas that were in the car, a parked car bomb in Sadr city that took 3 lives and left five more wounded, a mortar attack that wounded 2 police officers near a bus station, a mortar attack the killed three people and left ten wounded. Reuters notes a mortar attack that "wounded four children in Adil district in western Baghdad." Outside of Baghdad, Reuters notes 11 people dead 38 wounded in Najaf from a car bomb. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Diyala - Mortar shelling targeted Al Abara town north of Baqouba. The shelling claimed the life of one resident and injured other three. - A security source in Baladrouz city (45 Km east of Baqouba) said that men in Iraqi military uniforms raided the houses of Al Shah town (6 km from Baladrouz) and executed 17 men." And AFP reports: "In the flashpoint northern city of Kirkuk, a hub of Iraq's oil industry that is disputed by Kurds and Arabs, a car bomb and two booby-traps exploded in Kurdish areas, wounding 19 people, police Captain Imad Jassim told AFP


Reuters reports seven corpses discovered in western Baghdad today and, on Tuesday, 25 discovered in Baghdad, 8 in Mosul.

Today, the US military announced: " A Marine assigned to Multi-National Force-West was killed Feb. 20 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "On Feb. 20, an MND-B unit was conducting a clearing operation in order to search a residential area and reduce the levels of violence in a northern urban district of the Iraqi capital when they received small arms fire, killing one Soldier."

In other US military news do the paid flacks enjoy spinning? Do they ever get tired of egg on their face? The day began with news of a Black Hawk having a "hard landing" north of Baghdad. It's a crash. It's not a "hard landing." Later in the day, the US military released this statement: "A U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter went down today north of Baghdad while conducting operations." Still later, CBS and AP reported: "A U.S. helicopter that crashed Wednesday north of Baghdad was shot down, the military said, reversing its initial statement that the chopper made a 'hard landing.' Military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said all the occupants were safely evacuated by a second helicopter." Nine people on board and the military didn't know from the start what happened?

Turning to the topic of rape, we'll start with Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Andrea Hopkins (Reuters) reports on Paul Cortez confession ("broke down in tears as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family") that those paying attention in November already knew of when James P. Barker confessed -- gang rape of Abeer, she's then shot dead, kerosene is poured on her body as they try to burn her body and hide the evidence of their crimes, etc. Hopkins "While we were playing cards Barker and Green started talking about having sex with an Iraq female" -- only rape isn't "sex," is it? -- "Barker and Green had already known" where Abeer, 14-years-old, lived "what house they wanted to go to . . . knew only one male was in the house, and knew it would be an easy target."

Now let's remember that Carolyn Marshall and Robert F. Worth of the New York Times worked overtime to cover up what happened -- the paper even refused to print Abeer's name or a photo of her, USA Today was able to locate photos of her and her family -- but the Times was far from alone. Those brave voices sat the summer out. Scolds online tried to intimidate people into even discussing the case with b.s. about "Don't you dare call them baby killers!" We never called the gang rapists of Abeer 'baby killers' -- apparently someone had slapped their bumper stickers across their brains. What they did do was murder two parents, a 14-year-old and a 5-year-old. Cortez, confronted with evidence and the confession of Barker wants to blubber in court -- he should and it doesn't change the fact that they stalked Abeer, they planned to rape her and he can kid that it was "sex" all he wants but it was gang rape.

Let's repeat that because the press seems to have a really hard time doing so: GANG RAPE. Three men taking turns raping a female is GANG RAPE. It's not just rape -- as bad as rape is -- it's GANG RAPE. Abeer was gang raped and while she was being gang raped she could hear the gun going off as her parents and her sister were shot dead. Barker and Cortez both say that Steven D. Green killed the three, then he joined them in the living room where he raped Abeer and then shot her dead. Green will get to offer his version in a civilian court.

But a 14-year-old girl was gang raped and murdered, while she was being gang raped she heard her own parents and her five-year-old sister being murdered. And all the little enablers from May to now, the ones who helped shut this story down, need to step into the real world and own up to the fact that despite their denials and their silences, Abeer was gang raped and murdered by US soldiers. In retaliation, US soldiers who had nothing to do with the gang rapes were killed. But for some of the big babies (and this includes the Big Babies of the left) it was more important to live in denial than to acknowledge what happened to Abeer.

Cortez states of his part in the gang rape, "She kept squirming and trying to keep her legs closed and saying stuff in Arabic. During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard five or six gunshots that came from the bedroom. After Barker was done, Green came out of the bedroom and said that he had killed them all, that all of them were dead. Green then placed himself between Abeer's legs to rape her". Somehow the report leaves out the drinking before and after, the changing of clothes after, the grilling of chicken breasts and the party atmosphere that followed these crimes. Hopkins tells you he was tearful. So was Abeer back when she could still cry.

As CNN reported during the August Article 32 hearing, Captain Alex Pickands' closing remarks included: "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable." It's really amazing that these war crimes received a stronger rebuke from the military than they did from much of the so-called left press.

Meanwhile the Iraqi government is much more involved in the allegations of another rape. As noted yesterday, a 20-year-old woman told Al Jazeera that she was detained by a Shia militia and gang raped. Recapping, Nouri al-Maliki voiced some of the same strong statements he made when Abeer was in the news last year. However, he backed off even quicker. After promising a full investigation, he then issued a statement calling the woman a liar, saying she would be charged criminally, and denying that anything had happened. The US press still can't report what the European press reported yesterday -- that Omar Jaburi maintains an "initial hospital report confirmed what she has said." However, Marc Santora (New York Times) reports: "A nurse who said she treated the woman after the attack said that she saw signs of sexual and physical assault. The woman, according to the nurse, could identify one of her attackers because he was not wearing a mask, as were the others, and could identify a second attacker by a mark on his genitals."

This as Hamza Hendawi (AP) reports that Nouri al-Mailiki has fired the head of the Sunni Endowments, Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, for calling "for an international investigation into the rape allegations leveled by a Sunni Arab woman against three members of the Shiite- dominated security forces." CBS and AP report that Willie Caldwell, Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, has confirmed that the US military took the woman to a hospital but says that patient privacy prevents him from adding much more. They also note a 'report' al-Maliki faxed to the media which is one page of a three page report that has no name on it and appears to prove nothing. al-Maliki has been teetering for months with many of his US handlers eager to dump him. The way he's botched this incident makes that very easy to do so now.

iraqehren watadaamy goodmandemocracy nowagustin aguayo

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Moonbat drools over the crotch of America

There are some things that you're just better off realizing you'll never grasp. That came home to me again when, flipping through the latest Rolling Stone, I came across page 26 which featured a photo of Pete Wentz (not handling his cock, for a change) and just had to shake me head in dismay. Look, I thought Jo was very cool on Facts of Life. I was never one of the ones saying, "Oh, get rid of Jo!" But just because I liked the character doesn't mean I was awaiting the day when some guy who loos slightly like her would come along and attempt to look a lot like her. Pete Wentz is from the emo group Fall Out Boy -- a group whose title became more comical when Wentz was sending nudie shots of himself around and then some ended up posted online.

He talks about Fred Hampton Jr. in the Q&A so at least he's trying to raise awareness. The band probably has two more years before it breaks up. When the press dictated 'front man' is the bass player, there's always going to be conflict in the band. Usually the singer and lead guitarist battle it out and one wins or an uneasy truce sets in. But the reality is that when it's a drummer or a bass player, it throws the group dynamics off.

By the way, before I forget, Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyers Guild will be on KPFA's The Morning Show tomorrow (from seven to nine in the morning, PST). (And Bonnie Faulkner addresses Iran tomorrow on Guns and Butter.)

heroicehren And if you missed it, the illustration is to The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Ehren Watada's heroic stand" and Ty and I will claim credit/blame for Ehren Watada's package. We worked on the body. I didn't see anything wrong with it, I know C.I. and Ava found it humorous (C.I. and Ava were working on the window-pane effect in the background) but Ty told me today there have been a number of e-mails and a few are of the "How dare you!" nature. Super heroes are traditionally drawn larger than life, I don't see it as scandalous.

Neither does Betty who laughed when I called her to tell her of some of the moralizing e-mails. And mentioning Betty, her latest chapter is "Blame it on Betinna" -- read it if you haven't already.

An e-mail to me asked if I was going to review Diana Ross' new CD. That was the plan. It's a time issue and it's also that it won't be an up review which I'd prefer not to write. But I was at the drug store today with Jim (we were getting some cold medicine and a throat spray for C.I.) when both our jaws dropped. "Did you see that!" I asked him. He did.

A large man was wearing a t-shirt with Diana Ross' boxed set as the transfer -- I'm convinced he made it himself because that boxed set came ou in the early 90s and this t-shirt was obviously new. And pinned to it, he had a button with the cover of Diana's new CD.

Jim said, "You've got to write the review." I do. I will do it shortly, hopefully in the next seven days.

Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! SHOW BOATING MCCAIN BACK AT IT AGAIN!" and Cedric's "The show boating John McCain" joint-post on the say-anything-to-be-elected John McCain.

Just called Mike, to tell him Cohen was on the radio tomorrow, and he said he and Elaine were really in "blah mode" tonight. That's cool, it happens. I called Rebecca and she said, "Well, we'll have to rise to the challenge!" Agreed. I was considering stopping the post before I got on the phone even though I had a bit more to write but I really think the community works as a group and when one of us doesn't have much to offer, another can step up. So tonight, it's Rebecca and me.

She was actually planning on tackling something but said I could have it and I will grab it gladly.
Who is George Monbiot and why is he so obssessed with 9-11? Monbiot is a British journalist, which I knew. I didn't know a great deal more. I knew he was mocked a great deal, called "Moon bat." I never thought ill of him. He never made much of an impression on me when he popped up on radio but I didn't dislike him.

So what's his problem these days? He's now written his second column where he thinks he's debunked the 9-11 Truth Movement. If I could, a suggestion, if you're not American, focus on your own goddman country. Seriously.

I'm sick of bloggers from (or supposedly from) countries other than America who bore the hell out of us all with their dopey nicknames for the Bully Boy (such as "blinky") while avoiding ever writing one damn word about the country they live in (or supposedly live in). Seems to me if John Howard is your leader, you've got enough problems in your own backyard without obsessing over Bully Boy and Tony Blair. Seems to me if David Hicks is still a prisoner in Guantanamo, if your civil rights are being destroyed, you write about your own damn country.

But the same token, Monbiot needs to focus on England. He's not a film critic, he's not a deep thinker (I'm told that results from parentage and that his entire being is in response to his upbrining -- a boomer-rang effect), he is a reporter who can go somewhere and dig up a story -- which requires leaving his desk.

I really don't think the world awaits his thoughts or feelings on 9-11. If you don't believe in it and you also don't support the inquiry, write about something else. And if you're a columnist for a British paper and you're writing about it, it strikes me as you're brain's gone so light-weight that it was write about that or churn out one of those "last night, at a dinner party" op-eds.

Really, if you don't believe in something, why are you writing about it? Is it a pressing issue in England? Then how about taking your goddamn nose out of America's business? I called Pru and her take was Monibot thinks England is so unimportant that it's not worthy of serious attention "he's always globe-trotted and he's a bit of joke." Well I can see why. It's as annoying as Thomas Friedman thinking he can break down every country in one column. People don't need it. They don't need your crap and your bullshit.

Start covering your own countries. If you're covering another, get off your ass and do some real work, not the "I rode in a taxi cab" or "I made one phone call" bullshit.

What's really motivating Monibot I have no idea but Pru said Alexander Cockburn's thing about the involvement, in whatever manner, by Israeli intel has just burned through London since Amy Goodman interviewed Cockburn on Democracy Now! Whatever the deal is, stop you're op-eds on America. Really, we are not the center of universe. Write about your own countries, we can all learn something that way. When I was in Ireland last fall, there was a lot to catch up on and I'm getting letters from relatives and phoning them all the time. But Ireland gets practically no coverage in the United States (unless it's to attack the Catholics). I really think people who make the US their focus but live elsewhere are trying to write about something "hot" and avoiding the very real conditions in their own countries.

The US isn't the center of the universe but treating it like it is will convey that impression to others.

I have no respect for Monibot. Like a snide little trumpet, he blares:

Let me give you an example. The column I wrote about Loose Change two weeks ago generated 777 posts on the Guardian Comment is Free website, which is almost a record. Most of them were furious. The response from a producer of the film, published last week, attracted 467. On the same day the Guardian published my article about a genuine, demonstrable conspiracy: a spy network feeding confidential information from an arms control campaign to Britain's biggest weapons manufacturer, BAE Systems. It drew 60 responses. The members of the 9/11 cult weren't interested. If they had been, they might have had to do something. The great virtue of a fake conspiracy is that it calls on you to do nothing.

You're bad writing may account for the lack of response as well as you're going to town in your Truth Movement columns. You're a bad writer and from now on when you're called "Moon Bat," you're on your own. Isn't it always the scared little mealy mouths who are called 'conspiracy nuts' who work over time to find another person to finger point at in order to prove that they are really 'rational'? "Moon Bat" is not rational and he's wasted his time with two columns that he reportedly doesn't believe in. Just one more Brit sucking on the balls of America to try to get attention when he should be covering his own backyard.

(It should be noted that when he covers his own country, such as in the example he provided, Common Dreams doesn't link to him.)

So he drools over the crotch of America to get a little attention and the whole thing comes off like covering the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Try covering your own area, seriously.

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq as the crackdown (yet again) cracks up, AP examines which US communities are most directly effected by the US death toll, an Iraqi woman states that she was raped and US media carry the puppet's denial but somehow miss the statements about what the hospital examine actually indicated, the efforts to privatize Iraq's oil continue, and Hillary Clinton demonstrates that she is not her husband, that she is not interested in your vote, and that she is not scripted.

Today on Democracy Now! the topic the New York Times runs from was addressed. Amy Goodman noted that, early on in the illegal war, Gallup polling found that 43% of Iraqis thought the illegal war was about robbing Iraq of its oil. This was the introduction for a discussion of the privatization of the Iraqi oil industry that the US administration has attempted to push through repeatedly. Raed Jarrar has obtained a copy of the latest version of the proposed law and translated it. He emphasized three points: 1) Unfair, long-term contracts that can run for "thirty-five years and cause the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars from Iraqis"; 2) Since Iraq will not be allowed to set production limits it "cannot be a part of OPEC anymore" but its production levels would instead by set by "the Federal Oil and Gas Council, that will have represantives from the foreign oil companies on the board of it, so representatives from, let's say, ExxonMobil and Shell and British Petroleum will be on the federal board of Iraq approving their own contracts"; 3) By bypassing the centeral government and giving authority to the provinces, it makes possible "splitting Iraq into three regions or even maybe three states in the very near future."

Also participating in the discussion was Antonia Juhasz who noted that "at the very basic level," this law will "turn Iraq's nationalized oil system, the model that 90% of the world's oil is governed by, take its nationalized oil system and turn it into a commercial system fully open to foreign corporate investment on terms as of yet to be decided. . . . And, as Raed said, it introduces this very unique model, which is that ultimate decision making on the contracts rests with a new council to be set up in Iraq, and sitting on that council will be representatives, executives, in fact, of oil companies, both foreign and domestic." Goodman questioned whether the claims that such measures were needed in order "to kick-start" Iraq's oil development and Juhasz responded that, before the start of the illegal war, Iraq was producing "2.5 million barrels of oil a day" and that, since the start of the war, the figure has been roughly "2.2 million barrels of oil a day". The tiny difference can be attributed to the unrest going on in the war torn country and underscores that there is no "kick-start" needed.

Goodman and Juhasz then discussed the three countries with the largest oil reserves, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Juhasz: "Oil is about profit and it's about the money that the oil interests in the United States -- which, of course, also include members of the Bush adminstration -- can get. But controlling the second and third largest oil reserves in the world also has a tremendous amount to do with imperial power and global power that the Bush administration wants. Controlling that oil denies it to other countries that want it, like China and India, countries that the Bush adminsitration now sees itself in rivalry to."

Staying on the topic of Iran,
BBC reports that the US administration has plans for air strikes on Iraq and that they "would target Iranian air bases, navel bases, missile facilities and command -and-control centres" which would be triggered by one of two things: 1) Confirmation that a nuclear weapon is being developed or 2) "[A] high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran." The latter may explain the fixation on baseless, undocumented claims that the US administration continues to make about Iran and, should Bully Boy get his own Gulf of Tonkin, you can be sure little Mikey Gordon will be there to rah-rah it from the front page of the New York Times.

Turning to news of war resistance,
Agustin Aguayo faces a March 6th court-martial in Germany. As noted Monday on Democracy Now!, Aguayo's civilian court appeal has been rejected. Matt Apuzzo (AP) reported that the US Court of Appeals rejected the request "to overturn the detention" of Aguayo who now faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of all counts (desertion and missing movement) in his court-martial next month. Meanwhile, AP reports, Susana Aguayo, Agustin's mother, is asking the Mexican government to assist her son: "In an open letter to Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Susan Aguayo
asked for 'consular assistance.' 'It is urgently necessary that the Mesican Ambassador in Berlin, Jorge Castro Valle, provide a lawyer to give him legal aid . . . before it's too late,' the letter said." Agustin Aguayo holds dual citizenship in the US and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Monica Benderman, wife of Kevin Benderman, wonders "
America, Where Are You Now?" In Friday's snapshot, while noting Ehren Watada, the following appeared: "John Catalinotto (Socialist Worker) observes: 'Watada's military defense lawyer -- appointed by the Army -- Capt. Mark Kim, said that he agreed with Seitz's interpretation of military law'." That was incorrect. John Catalinotto's article appeared in Workers' World, not Socialist Worker, my apologies. Matthew Cookson (Socialist Worker -- honest) examines war resistance in Canada and focuses on Patrick Hart who self-checked out of the US military after serving in Iraq and went to Canada who states: "If your government is going to put troops in harm's way, you better have a damn good reason. We have already lost too many British and American youth, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, which our government calls 'collateral damage'. Don't be a part of it." Another war resister in Canada is Jeremy Hinzman and Edward C. Corrigan's (Media Monitors Network) explains where his case currently stands: "Jeremy Hinzman lost his 'conscientious objection' refugee case at the IRB. He then applied to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the Immigration and Refugee Board decision rejecting his claim. However, the Federal Court upheld the negative decision but the case has been referred to the Federal Court of Appeal. The key issue is whether or not the legality of the war is a relevant issue to the claim for protection. It will be interesting to see the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal. This legal question may ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada."
Aguayo, Watada, Benderman, Hart and Hinzman are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, and Tim Richard. 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 Iraq, the news trickles out slowly but the crackdown that was praised at the end of the last business week is no longer the be-all, end-all so many had pinned their hopes on. In fact, the crackdown has yet again cracked up.


BBC reports that a man killed himself and seven others at a funeral in Baghdad while leaving 20 more people injured while two car bombings in Baghdad killed 8 people and left 31 wounded. Claudia Parson (Reuters) reports: "A bomb destroyed a truck carrying chlorine north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing five people and spewing out toxic fumes that sickened nearly 140 others, Iraqi police said." And Reuters notes: "An oil installation guard was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol in the town of Hawija, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said.

On Monday, a coordinated attack took place.
CNN reports: "an attack by three suicide car bombers near a U.S.-Iraqi outpost killed two American soldiers and eight Iraqi police officers, Iraqi officials told CNN. The U.S. military confirmed the American deaths and said 17 U.S. troops were wounded in the "coordinated attack" north of Baghdad, but it did not reveal the strike's exact location. Iraqi officials said the insurgents targeted Iraqi police headquarters in Tarmiya -- about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Baghdad -- which also houses U.S. troops. After a series of three suicide car bombings, 50 gunmen opened fire on the outpost, the Iraqi officials said. Insurgents fired small arms and threw grenades after an initial car bombing, a U.S. military official said."

the US military announced: "On Feb. 19, an MND-B unit was conducting a combat security patrol southwest of the Iraqi capital when an improvised explosive device detonated, killing three Soldiers and wounding two others." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died Feb. 18 due to a nonbattle related cause."

Staying on the topic of US service members, "
Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility," "The Hotel Aftermath" and "Army Fixing Patients' Housing" make up a three part look at the shambles that is Walter Reed which has been allowed to decay out of the public eye -- Dana Priest and Anne Hull wrote the (now) three-part series for the Washington Post. The series comes as Kimberly Hefling (AP) reports on which communities in America are most directly effected by the US military death toll in Iraq -- almost half of the dead are "from towns . . . where fewer than 25,000 people live" and that "nearly three quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average." Hefling also notes: "While support for the war in rural areas initially was high, there has been a sharp decline in the past three years. AP-Ipsos polls show that those in rural areas who said it was the right decision to go to war dropped from 73 percent in April 2004 to 39 percent now. In urban areas, support declined from 43 percent in 2004 to 30 percent now."

Returning to Iraq, an Iraqi woman (whose real name has not been given in press reports) has stated she was raped by Shia military forces in Baghdad on Sunday. Though promising a full investigation, the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, quickly backed off that promise and took to
issuing an official statement claiming that there was no evidence of rape. The BBC reports: "But an aide of Vice President Tariq Hashimi, a Sunni, said the prime minister's office had acted in haste, and doctors had in fact confirmed rape had taken place." As Al Jazeera notes, the stigma attached to rape in Iraq could allow for the rape victim to be killed ("honor killing") by her own (male) relatives (that's noted for those, like al-Maliki, who immediately want to scream that the charges were made up). Al Jazeera quotes Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, speaker of the Iraqi parliment, stating of the puppet: "By God, if you don't bring justice to this Muslim Iraqi woman, whom you should view as your sister or daughter . . . history will curse us with eternal disgrace." AFP quotes the woman's statements: "One of them hit me. I fell and my head hit the ground. One of them raped me. Then another came and raped, and a third. I was screaming, crying and begging them, but he held my mouth so no-one could hear. Someone came and said to them, 'Are you done? Can we come and take our turn?' But one of them said, 'No, there's an American patrol coming'." AFP also notes that when US troops did discover the woman, they transferred her to a hospital in the Green Zone and quotes Omar Jaburi ("Vice President Tareq al Hashemi's adviser on human rights") stating: "The initial hospital report confirmed what she has said. A panel of medical experts is reviewing the evidence, we expect them to report tonight."

In other rape news,
CBS and AP report: "A soldier from Fort Campbell's 101st Airborne was expected to plead guilty Tuesday to rape and murder charges in the death of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family last year. Sergeant Paul Cortez of Barstow, California reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. The plea means he will no longer face the death penalty." That "14-year-old Iraqi girl" had a name: Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. And she wasn't just raped, she was gang raped. Cortez follows James P. Barker's lead in admitting to his role in it (and both have also fingered Steven D. Green as participating in the gang rape and as being the one who then killed Abeer -- Green has denied charges and faces a trial in a civilian court).

Meanwhile, famine may be the new danger to Iraq.
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) examine the food situation in Iraq and find many problems including the shut-out on local growers, the Bremer laws that allow foreign businesses to make a 'killing' while punishing local producers, John Howard's Australia businesses which 'enhanced' the wheat they sold to Iraq with steel wire, and much more. Jamail and al-Fadhily observe: "The majority of Iraqis still remain dependent on the monthly food ration, a programme set up during the economic sanctions period in the 1990s after the first Gulf war. But a growing number of Iraqis no longer receive their monthly ration due to corruption or sectarian favouritism in the distribution channel." It bears noting that Paul Bremer tried to do away with the ration program but was unable to and that, for almost a year, the malnutrition issue has been ignored. In May of last year, UNICEF found malnutrition to be at "alarming levels" in Iraq noting: "Children are... major victims of food insecurity,"

In US political news, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has underscored that, although politically active for many years, she has held public office for far too few. As
Amy Goodman noted on Monday's Democracy Now!, Clinton, speaking in New Hampshire, not only continued to refuse to term her vote supporting the invasion of Iraq "a mistake," she went further by stating: "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his [or her] vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from." Indeed there are and it takes an arrogance born of campaign stupidity to make such a public declaration. We'll also note that "[or her]" was added here to be inclusive -- something that Hillary Clinton once could have take care of all on her own. But who would have ever guessed she'd waste the opening weeks of her campaign refusing to say something as simple as "I made a mistake"? Probably the same people who would have guessed that a candidate who cannot count on peeling off Republican voters, who may or may not have a hard time with swing voters, would thumb her nose at the Democratic base with one of the most idiotic statements made on the campaign trail. When you are campaigning for a national office, the last thing you need to do is to tell voters "there are others to choose from." Despite rumors to the contrary, Clinton's not scripted but New Hampshire may demonstrate that she needs to be. In one decade, we've gone from Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" to what passes for "Piss off" from Hillary Clinton. (Which may remind many of the health care debacle which went from universal to some managed care option when, as Robin Toner pointed out, Clinton got cozy in the backrooms.)

Sharon Murphy (The La Crosse Tribune) draws a line between the bravery of Watada and the cowardice of Congress: "Ehren Watada doesn't have the power and clout of the freshest freshman senator or representative. Yet he had the courage to stand up and speak the truth. He knew he was up against the power of the military and faced rejection, prison and professional disgrace. But he stood up. Neither Senate nor House is willing to stand, as Watada did, and speak the truth." For those who missed it, the Senate was unable, this weekend, to pass even a toothless, non-binding, symbolic measure on Iraq.

ehren watada
amy goodman
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antonia juhaszraed jarraragustin aguayo
kimberly wilderdana priest
jeremy hinzman
sharon murphy
dahr jamailali al-fadhily