Saturday, April 07, 2007

Never did wake up

Lisa e-mailed asking, "Did you know C.I. was visiting Rebecca on this visit?" Yes, I did and that's why it really killed me that I had a job scheduled for Thursday (and payment accepted for it) and couldn't go. It was presented as, "I'm going to try" but made clear that I could skip Thursday's events and/or Friday's and just hang out with Rebecca. For various reasons, none of the gang could go on that trip and it really bummed us out because, of course, we all love to see Rebecca.

I also regretted not being able to go because it was a grinding schedule. C.I. has avoided the north east section of the country as much as possible since winter began. Ironically, C.I., Ava and Jess ended up in Texas in the middle of an ice storm. (I'm referring to the unplanned visit immediately following the March on Washington last Janurary. The planned visit, which we all took part in, was last month and the week preceding the March on the Pentagon which found us back in DC.) So a number of students and professors had been put off due to the weather and C.I. was trying to grab as many as possible this week (not all, no way for all). I didn't think it was workable and really wanted to be along on the trip because I figured as rough as the schedule was, it would be easier with at least two people.

Ty told us all that C.I. was coming back Saturday instead of Friday due to attending Mike's Iraq Study Group meeting and that bummed us even more because that's Mike, Trina, their family (Trina is Mike's mother), Rebecca, Flyboy and Elaine. We would have all loved to kick back Friday night and enjoy that free wheeling, information packed group discussion and the downtime after.

I honestly can't believe C.I. had the energy for anything other than diving into bed. Something I did tonight, by the way. I was so tired, I ended up taking a three hour nap. And actually on C.I.'s bed. Jim and I were looking for a book C.I. had phoned about (something for an idea at The Third Estate Sunday Review) and I sat down on the bed because I was so tired. Jim suggested I take a nap and, sounding like an elderly woman, I said no, but I would lay down a second and rest my eyes. I was out for three hours.

It was just a really long day. I was dropping off prints and also had a minor shoot to do. I'm rolling in the dough lately (for a change) and thanks for that goes to C.I. and Jim's father who have promoted the hell out of my work. (Jim's father has been visiting the area.) My plan is to get a nest egg to see me through the rest of year so I can concentrate on my art and only take the occasional job but we'll see how that goes . . .

I was talking about that in the roundtable that ran in Friday's gina & krista round-robin and, for those who don't get the round-robin, I do feel I should be doing more there on a very basic level but it's equally true that I should be doing more on Iraq, speaking, protesting, etc.

Okay, let me wind down. I kept thinking I would wake up at some point during this but I've now been awake, or at least had my eyes open, for over three and a half hours and am thinking of nothing. I'm grabbing a guest room and sleeping over. Before I hit the sack again, this is from
Felice Pace's "The Pro-Israel Bias of NPR" (CounterPunch):

Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend edition Saturday, has done it again! He has managed to do yet another NPR News interview focused on the situation in the Middle East in which he completely ignores the central influence of the Palestinian People's plight. This time (3/31) it was an interview with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Ms. Albright was obviously there to articulate the Democratic Party's foreign policy positions.
Simon asked first about Iraq then moved on to the recent speech King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia delivered at the Arab League Summit. He focused on Abdullah's criticism of Arab leaders for letting others define reality on the ground in Arab countries. But Simon spoke as if that comment was focused only on Iraq. Actually the Saudi King listed 5 examples (in order) Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia; Abdullah spent two paragraphs on Palestine and 2 lines on Iraq (
see the text of Abdullah's speech).
Albright went right along with Simon. While admitting that "clearly there is something that's a burr under the saddles of the Saudis" and noting that Iraq was "part of it" she professed to know nothing more about what is bothering the "hard to read" Saudis. But King Abdullah, who is prime minister as well as king, has been clear and direct. Albright--like Simon--has Zionist wax in her ears.
Mr. Simon then moved on to Iran and the nuclear issue. Once again, however, there was no mention of the role the military debacle Israeli Defense Forces suffered in Southern Lebanon or Israel's oppression of the Palestinians play in empowering Iran's hard liners. Again Ms. Albright colluded with Simon. While she sympathized with Iran feeling "surrounded" by nukes she failing to mention that Israel's possession of nukes is also a key to nuclear ambitions in Iran and throughout the region.
These omissions are particularly noteworthy in a week which saw the UN Security Council reiterate its call for a nuclear free Middle East within the very resolution that imposed new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear programs. It appears clear that content areas and content limitations for this interview were negotiated in advance. Or it could be that Simon and Albright have so internalized Zionist prohibitions on discourse that no overt agreements were necessary. For the Democratic Party as for NPR it is forbidden to discuss Palestine-Israel in the same interview as one discusses Iraq, Iran or the Middle East in general.

Mad Maddie, a true eyesore. Betty's "NYC's biggest blight" addresses another an eyesore, Thomas Friedman, so be sure to check that out. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, April 6, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, lies of war get exposed but Cheney continues to lie, the US military aids a terrorist group (designated as such by the US State Department) in Iraq -- aids and escorts, and airstrikes hit the Diwaniya province.

Starting with war resistance, approximately 40 US war resisters have self-checked out, moved to Canada and filed paperwork to be legally granted asylumn in Canada. (Approximately 40 have filed papers, hundreds have gone to Canada and are not attempting to go through the legal process.)
Reuben Apple (Eye Weekly) notes that war resisters appearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board to argue their case are prevented from saying "We think this killing is unlawful" and they "are asking our Federal Court of Appeal for the right to say" those six words. Apple notes that attorney Jeffry House -- who represents many war resisters -- is a Canadian citizen today because of the country's policies during an earlier illegal war (Vietnam) when a real prime minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, didn't cower before Tricky Dick Nixon but instead declared, "Canada should be a refuge from militarism." Tricky Dick's response to that statement and policy was to call the Canadian prime minister an "asshole" and Trudeau's comeback was that he'd "been called worse things by better people."

Apple notes war resisters Ryan Johnson ("wake up and get involved with something, nuclear disarmament, the Canadian Peace Alliance, the War Resisters Support Campaign, anything, because it's the people that can end this"), Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key: "Two weeks ago, three big men in trench coats, claiming to be 'Toronto police,' came with questions to the home of Winnie Ng, a campaigner who once hosted Key. According to Toronto Star reports of the incident, it seems American military authorities would like to speak with Key. If they want to discuss The Deserter's Tale with its author, they can go to his next talk, or they can call his lawyer, Jeffrey House. Key has legal status in Canada as a refugee claimant, and officials should tell the American government that our police, if those men were our police, are not their messengers."

Earlier this week, Monday, on Canada's
Gorilla Radio, host Chris Cook interviewed the War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky on the topic of US war resisters in Canada. Zaslofsky spoke of what was known and what wasn't known -- such as Kyle Snyder was detained by Canadian police (and that was on the US military's orders though Zaslofsky didn't note that) but he was not deported. During this "mistaken arrest," Snyder was told he was being deported. (He legally cannot be deported.) Cook noted that when a war resister appears before the Refugee and Immigration Board, they are not appearing before a group of people, the board has one person designated to hear that case. Like attorney Jeffry House, Zaslofsky came to Canada during Vietnam as a war resister. Zaslofsky noted that Synder's status in Canada has changed as a result of the fact that he is now married. (That would be to Maleah Friesen, whom Zaslofsky didn't note.) As Friesen's spouse, Snyder has more avenues available to Canadian citizenship. March 19th, Zaslofsky noted, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were before the Federarl Court of Appeals and are awaiting a decision which, if necesarry, Zasolfsky states, "We'll appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada."

Snyder, Key, Hinzman and Hughey are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Corey Glass, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Dean Walcott, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake 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.

From war resistance to reality as we dig into some of the lies of the illegal war. From yesterday's

Robert Knight: Also in Iraq, a spokesperson for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is today denying reports that Sistani rejected a new draft law that would allow former members of the Baath party to retain or regain government employment. Sistani's Beriut based representive, Hamed al-Kafaf said, "What some news agencies said, quoting who they described as an aide to al-Sistani about his position on the de-Baathification law was not true." Recent reports that Sistani was against the draft law can be traced to a meeting earlier this week between Sistani and the prevaracating US intelligence asset Ahmed Chalabi who heads the so-called de-Baathification commission and who remains dead set against an easment of the anti-Baath legislation imposed by the occupation forces. Sistani's representative added, "We are surprised by attempts trying to get the Shia clerical establisment involved in a case which is the speciality of constitutional organizations."
And in other news, the overnight release of 15 British sailors by the Iranian government has generated mixed signals in what some say was a quid pro quo that in regard to the 5 Iranian diplomats who were seized last Janurary by American forces in Iraq. Iranian media reported overnight that an Iranian diplomatic official would be allowed to meet with the five diplomatic detainees. But Secreatary of Defense Robert Gates said today that the Bush administration was not planning to release the five who were abducted in a raid on the Iranian consulate's office in the northern Iraqi city of Ibril.
And in a related note, a captain among the detained British sailors who were released was revealed to have admitted that there mission the Shaw al abray waterway between Ira1 and Iran, unsurprisingly did indeed involve elements of intelligence gathering Britain' s Murdoch owned Sky News is reporting today that Sky News went on patrol with Captain Chris Air and his team in Iraqi waters close to the area where they were arrested and just five days
before the crisis began, in an interview recorded the Thursday before the seizure that happened two weeks ago, Captain Air stated to the interviewer that his crew's assignment was "To gather intelligence. If they do not have any information because they're there for days at a time, the people on the boats can share it with us. Whether it's about piracy or any sort of Iranian activity in the area obviously we're right by the bufferzone with Iran." And that's some of the news of this Thursday April 5, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes today that "British Defense Secretary Des Browne defended the intelligence operation. Browne said it was important to gather intelligence to 'keep our people safe'." Goodman also noted that Sky News sat on the story "until the release of the sailors."

Turning to other lies of war,
R. Jeffrey Smith (Washington Post) reports today that a US Defense Department report (declassifired yesterday and written by Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble) states the obvious -- in 2002 the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency both knew the claims that Saddam Hussein had a links to al Qaeda were incorrect. Smith notes the report was released yesterday, "on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq 'before we ever launched' the war". Dick Cheney's remarks are not merely 'incorrect,' they are lies. Peter Speigel (Los Angeles Times) reports that "The Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA each 'published reports that disavowed any "mature, symbiotic" cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda,' the inspector general's report found." AP notes that US Senator Carl Levin "requested that the Pentagon declassify the report prepared by acting Defense Department Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble. In a statement Thursday, Levin said the declassified document showed why a Defense Department investigation had concluded that some Pentagon prewar intelligence work was inappropriate." Strangely in the face of Cheney's lies about terrorism, Michael Ware (CNN) reports that the US military is currently protecting a non al Qaeda group in Iraq that the US State Department has "labeled a terrorist organization" -- Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) -- and that "[t]he U.S. military . . . regularly escorts MEK supply runs between Baghdad and its base, Camp Ashraf." Why? MEK is an anti-Iranian group. Ware reports that the Iraqis government wants the group out and quotes Iraq's National Security Minister Shirwan al-Wa'eli stating, "We gave this organization a six-month deadline to leave Iraq, and we informed the Red Cross. And presumably our friends the Americans will respect our decision and they will not stay on Iraqi land."

Returning to the topic of the lies that led to war, they were lies in real time -- scary lies to some -- they're sad lies now. Another popular lie is "if only we knew then . . ."
US Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Chris Dodd tells that sweet little lie: "Had we known before the war what we know today -- that there were no weapons of mass destruction; that there were no links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda; that there was no imminent threat from Iraq to America's security or vital interests -- Congress would never have considered, let alone voted to authorize, the use of force in Iraq." A comforting lie to some, but a lie nonetheless. In October 2002, (PDF format warning) US House Rep Dennis Kucinich provided an analysis of the US administration's false claims and noted, among other things: "There is no proof that Iraq represents an imminent or immediate threat to the United States. A 'continuing' threat does not constitute a sufficient cause for war. The Administration has refused to provide the Congress with credible intelligence that proves that Iraq is a serious threat to the United States and is continuing to possess and develop chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. Furthermore there is no credible intelligence connecting Iraq to Al Qaida and 9/11." The analysis makes the point repeatedly: "There is no credible intelligence that connects Iraq to the events of 9/11 or to participation in those events by assisting Al Qaida. . . . There is no connection between Iraq and the events of 9/11." 125 Democrats in Congress voted against the Iraq war resolution. Kucinich, who is running for President, was among the 125.

To suggest that 'we were all wrong' is to replace one lie with another. Professor Francis Boyle was interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner for the March 28, 2007 broadcast of
KPFA's Guns and Butter and he shared the experience, from March 13, 2003, of joining former Attorney General Ramsey Clark for a meeting with Congressional Democrats where the subject was impeachment of the Bully Boy and how impeachment could stop the war. Though there was strong interest in that, an appearance by John Podesta deralied it as he screeched that doing so would hurt the Democrats 2004 election chances. As Kat notes of that interview, Boyle and Clark "were both getting their cabs" after and Boyle asked Clark what had happened? Clark explained that Democratic leadership wanted the illegal war. Boyle also discussed the meeting with Dori Smith for Talk Nation Radio in May 2006 (link takes you to audio and transcript via Information Clearing House) where he noted: "The main objection" to impeachment "was political expedience and in particular John Podesta was there. He had been [Bill] Clinton's White House chief of staff. He stated he was appearing on behalf of the Democratic National Commitee and that as far as the DNC was concerned it was going to hurt their ability to get whoever their candidate was going to be in 2004 elected President if we put in these bills of impeachment. I found that argument completely disingenuous when the Democrats had no idea who their candidate was going to be in 2004 as of March 2003."

From Howard Zinn's A Power Governments Cannot Suppress (
City Lights Press), pp. 199-200:

Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war nor trust Bush and his administration, and evidence of official deception has become old news, we might ask: why were so many people so easily fooled?
The question is important because it might help us understand why Americans -- members of the media as well as the ordinary citizen -- rushed to declare their support as the president was sending troops halfway around the world to Iraq.
A small example of the innocence (or obsequiousness, to be more exact) of the press is the way it reacted to Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation in February 2003 to the UN Security Council, a month before the invasion, a speech that may have set a record for the number of falsehoods told in one talk. In it, Powell confidently rattled off his "evidence": satellite photographs, audio records, reports from informants, with precise statistics on how many gallons of this and that existed for chemical warfare. The New York Times was breathless with adminiration. The Washington Post editorial was titled "Irrefutable" and declared that after Powell's talk "it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction."
The truth was that a small army of UN inspectors could not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A large army of 100,000 soldiers marauding through the country could not find them. But back in February 2003 the White House said: "We know for a fact that there are weapons there." Vice President Dick Cheney said on Meet the Press: "[W]e believe Saddam has in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." On March 30, 2003, Rumsfeld said on ABC TV: "We know where they are." And Bush said on Polish TV: "We've found the weapons of mass destruction."
The only weapons of mass destruction in Iraq turned out to be ours: bombs and missiles raining down by the thousands, cluster bombs spewing out deadly pellets, the arsenal of the greatest military power on earth visiting destruction on yet another country.
Self-determination for the Iraqis becomes an ironic claim as the new officialdom, headed by wealthy exiles, is flown by U.S. planes into Iraq and positions of power. In Vietnam there was a similar claim as Ngo Dinh Diem was flown into Saigon to rule South Vietnam in the interest of U.S. hegemony in Southeast Asia.

Which brings us back to the points Robert Knight was making earlier about Chalabi. On Tuesday,
Edward Wong (New York Times) reported that Ahmad Chalabi was stating that al-Sistani was opposed to allowing former members of the Baath party to rejoin the government (Wong notes that Chalabi heads up the commission and that it was "set up L. Paul Bremer III, the American pro-consul who governed Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004. Mr. Bermere's very first order was to purge former Baathists from the government, a task that Mr. Chalabi's commission pasisonately carried out"). On Wednesday, Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported that: "An official spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani distanced the ayatollah from reports published Monday and Tuesday saying that the marjiay, the most senior Shiite clerics, disagreed with the plan, which was proposed jointly by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and President Jalal Talbani." Which begs the question why any serious outlet would take a word from Chalabi's mouth seriously? The exile who helped sell the war is attempting to position himself back to the top of the puppet regime. But, as Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes today, Chalabi's got competition from another US backed exile: "Some politicians say they believe the talk of a new parliamentary alliance is a cover for an attempt by Allawi to take another run at ruling Iraq. Allawi was installed as interim prime minister in mid-2004 by the U.S.-led government in Iraq, but he was swept from office by the groundswell of support for religious parties in January 2005." That's Iyad Allawi a one time prime minister of Iraq who was then and is now also a citizen of Britain. Allawi and Chalabi aren't only exiles (heavily funded before the illegal war with US tax dollars), they're also related. The current puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki (emphasis on "current") is another exile who returned to Iraq only after the US invaded. Which must mean that around kitchen tables across Iraq, children are being told, "Clean your plate, spend some time in exile, and some day you can grow up to be Prime Minister."


Most attemtnion is on Ramadi today where a bombing has claimed multiple lives.
CBS and AP report the death toll at "at least 27" and many more are wounded from "A suicide bomber driving a truck loaded with TNT and toxic chlorine gas [who] crashed into a police checkpoint in western Ramadi". CNN notes at least 30 wounded and that two police officers are among the dead. AFP calls it "the biggest chemical attack by insurgents in Iraq since the invasion" and notes that it took place "next to a market and residential buildings".

Reuters notes a Hawija bombing that left four police officers wounded, two Kirkuk bombings that left six people wounded and mortar attacks in Baghdad which killed three and left five wounded.

Al Jazeera reports that "in the city of Diwaniya, Iraqi and US forces clashed on Friday with fighters loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia leader in a major operation. . . . Residents and an Iraqi security source in Diwaniya said a curfew had been imposed and that troops were blocking streets and conducting house-to-house searches." DPA notes "at least 30 men were killed and many others wounded" and that "US military aircraft flew over the city and all roads were sealed off . . . The local authorities also imposed a curfew all over the city." Steven R. Hurst (AP) reports: "Dr. Hameed Jaafi, the director of Diwaniyah Health Directorate, said an American helicopter fired on a house in the Askari neighborhood, seriously wounding 12 people as the assault began." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports, "A man named Jassim, from Sadr's Diwaniyah office, said that U.S. troops had entered the city before dawn from three locations with tanks and helicopters flying overhead, taunting the Mahdi army fighters. . . . He claimed that two civilians had been killed by snipers as they tried to go to work" which the US military denies. AFP notes at least one dead and that "Polish aircraft dropped leaflets over the city ordering local police officers to stay home, warning that anyone who went out with a weapon will be considered a target, a military spokesman confirmed."


Reuters reports Sheikh Ghazi al-Hanash was shot dead in Mosul, three police officers were wouned by gunfire in Baghdad, Sheikh Karim Omran al-Shafi was injured in an attack in Hilla, and two people were shot dead "in the Amil District in southwestern Baghdad."


Reuters notes four corpses discovered in Tal Afar. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, the corpse of Khamail Khalaf was discovered yesterday. Bloomberg News reports: "An Iraqi reporter for a U.S.-backed radio station has been found dead in Baghdad after going missing two days ago. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said on its Web site that the body of Khamail Khalaf was found with bullet holes in her head and wounds on her body" and the article notes she had worked for RFE "since 2004." This was noted yesterday but she has been reported as a TV journalist -- which she was until the start of the war.

Finally, on Thursday,
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) explored the latest developments in governmental spying "a secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain and question a group of protesters in a downtwon parking garage in April 2002. Some of the protesters were interrogated on videotape about their political and religious beliefs." Excerpt:

Amy Goodman: We're also joined by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney and co-founder of Partnership for Civil Justice. Mara, talk about the significance of this, of the years of denial that the FBI were involved.

Mara Verheyden-Hillard: Well, as Nat said, the FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department have steadfastly held that it didn't happen. We believe our clients. We know that this happens. We have evidence in other cases of FBI involvement in intelligence gathering on political protesters. And in discovery request after discovery request, in sworn responses in hearings before the court, over and over again, the FBI, the MPD have done everything they can to suggest that this is somehow complete fabrication. And we have sought for years, as well, to get a particular document, the document that now places the FBI squarely at the scene of the arrests and doing intelligence gathering. And that's the running resume. It's a document that indicates, line by line, what the MPD and federal police and other law enforcement agencies are doing during protests. We've been able to obtain them in virtually every protest case we're litigating in D.C. And in this case, they actually told us it didn't exist, and they swore it didn't exist -- and now we know why. This document says very clearly FBI intelligence is on the scene and the protesters are being questioned. And the only way this finally came up is they gave it to us the one business day before a deposition we were taking of one of the MPD members who's responsible for developing this document.

Juan Gonzalez: And what has been the response of the law enforcement officials who kept saying that they didn't have any records of this?

Mara Verheyden-Hillard: Well, we want a response. We have filed a motion for sanctions with the court. As well, the FBI has filed a motion to dismiss themselves from the case. We don't see that there can be any basis for their dismissal -- and this situation is really important, because we think it's sort of the tip of the iceberg. We think it's one tentacle coming up that's quite visible of a larger operation. The questions that they were asking protesters, the questions about who were you with, what are your political beliefs, where are you staying -- associational, political questions -- that's programmatic questioning. It's not random questioning. It's the kind of information you collect when you're building a database, an associational database and a network database of information. And it's all purely political. It's all First Amendment-protected political activity, political association.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Guns and Butter

Oh pain in the butt day. I busted one camera (accident) and I used a backup that's not my preferred one but the photos turned out fine. I didn't realize that, of course, until after I had developed the film so it was a long day where I just went through stress mode non-stop. It's over. Everyone should be pleased with the photos. And I get payment in full, in advance, and the bills get paid. It's the life cycle -- of a really bad system.

Guns and Butter airs Wednesdays on KPFA at one p.m. PST. Eddie, I hope you listened already because I'm writing about it tonight. Loren Goldner was the guest. And he's way over my head.
He is an economist and I struggle with balancing my checkbook.

He feels that we're on the verge of a financial disaster (and we includes the world due to the interlinking). This has to do with the paper system we're on -- there's no gold backing the dollars -- and the decline of power in the dollar (which includes the emergence of the Eurodollars). The stagnant wages were discussed and the housing bubble that has burst.

He also addressed the creditor nation aspect and how the US borrows and must continue to do so until everything collapses.

That's about all I can give you because it was way out of my league. I was interested in it and listened, hope he'll be a guest again but I'm the last one in the world who can summarize economics. And you have no idea how long it took me to write just what I've written.

At one point, Bonnie was asking a question and mentioning these economic things that I have no idea about but knew the terms and I was thinking, "Yeah, okay, I can follow this." Then I was lost again. If you're into economics, you'll enjoy it. If you're not, you should hear it. For me, it was like signing up for conversational French and ending up in second year, second semester French. Way over my head and I was mainly grabbing words I recognized. I feel like next time, having listened to this broadcast, I'll understand more. But it was way over my head.

That's not an insult to Bonnie or Goldner. I'm just not the economics type. I bet most people reading this will get way more out of it than I did and I think, if like me, you let your mind wander when you're completely lost, you'll still gather a lot from the broadcast.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2007. Chaos and vionce continue in Iraq,the 15 British soldiers are returned to England but the Iranian diplomats remain held by the US military, a US helicopter is shot down, both the British and the US military announce the latest death tolls, and can a moment be seized?

BBC reports on the return to England of the 15 British soldiers who were captured by Iranian's when the British were in disputed waters off the coast of Iraq. Released after nearly two weeks, the five Iranian diplomats that the US kidnapped in a January raid on a diplomatic consulate (recognized as such by the Kurdish government -- and still recognized as diplomats by the Iraqi government) are still being held. Edward Wong (New York Times) reports that Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, stated, "It was not a clanestine operation. . . . They operated with the approval of the regional government and with the knowledge of the Iraqi government. We were in the process of formalizing that liaison office into a consulate." Wong also notes that 200 Kurdish soldiers attempted to prevent the five diplomats from being taken off by the US military back in January.

Turning to news of war resistance,
Ehren Watada has new legal representation. Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and the first to be court-martialed (in a court-martial Judge Toilet ruled a mistrial over the objection of the defense) is no longer represented by Eric Seitz. William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) quotes Seitz stating, "I think the way to put it is I'm not representing him anymore and he's found another firm" and Bob Watada (Ehren's father) stating, "I have the highest opinion of Eric Seitz. But it's Ehren's decision." Hawaii's KNDO notes that Watada's next court-martial is scheduled for July 16th. Whether it will go foward or not is up in the air because double-jeporady should have attached when Judge Toilet (Lt. Col. Head) declared a mistrial, over defense objection, in the midst of the trial. Cole notes Watada is now represented by Carney Badley Spellman in Seattle. Fort Lewis is in Seattle so that is one plus (Seitz resides in Hawaii). Another is the strong lawyers working for the firm such as Jim Lobsenz. AP notes "Watada is currently assigned to an administrative position at Fort Lewis." Earlier this week, Paul Rockwell (Berkeley Daily Planet) summarzies Watada's case thus far and notes that "Watada never volunteered -- no soldier volunteers -- to violate human rights, to violate American treaties, to destroy the sovereignty of nations, to participate in aggression. A contract to break the law has no legal standing."

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

In Iraq today, another helicopter has gone down.
The Times of London reports that the downing took place "this morning after coming under fire in a Sunni militrant stonghold south of baghdad, an Iraqi army officials said. AFP reports that "four personnel on board a US army helicopter were wounded and 'evacuated' when it crashed south of Baghdad. Five others on board were safe". CNN reports that an unnamed US military official has stated that the helicopter "appeared to be damaged by small-arms fire" and notes that 8 helicopters "have been shot down or forced to make hard landings" since January 20, 2007. Hard landings? Sweeter word for "crash." AP provides a list of 9 helicopter incidents (beginning on January 20th) leading up to today's which, they note, resulted from "an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun" according to an "Iraqi official."

That was only one incident of violence reported today.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports five IED explosions throughout Baghdad that killed 3 people and left 7 injured, and two Baghdad mortar attacks left 4 people dead and 10 wounded. CBS and AP report a car bombing in western Baghdad that left "at least six guards" of "a Sunni Muslim television station" injured. This comes as Reporters Without Borders issues their statement condeming the kidnapping and beating of journalist Nabaz Goran who was kidnapped and assaulted by "five men in military uniforms" in the city of Ebril. On the attack on the Baghdad TV station, Reuters notes one person was killed and a total of 10 were wounded.Shootings?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that "a young man" was shot dead and another wounded in Muqdadiya "near one of the internet cafes and playing centers" while an attempted kidnapping of a student in Baghdad left one security guard at Mustansiriyah University dead and 4 more injured. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports: "A three-year-old child was felled by a sniper's bullet as he sat in his grandather's lap in a car at a south Baghdad intersection, police said. A security guard at Yarmouk Hospital, which receives a steady stream of bloodied victims, said he broke down in tears when he saw the tiny body." AFP reports that seven Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Mosul. Dean Yates and Ross Colvin (Reuters) cite an "army source" (presumably Iraqi army) who says that the soldiers had been surprised in their sleep. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) also notes a rocket attack "near a high school and police station in Kanan" which left 4 children wounded.


AFP reports that Khamael Muhsin's corpse was found today. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports Khamel Muhsin was an "Iraqi radio announcer" who had last been seen "Wedensday in west Baghdad." Reuters reports five corpses were discovered in Baquba and the corpses of two women were discovered "on the main road between Diyala and Wasit province". Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports eleven corpses discovered in Baghdad and that a total of 22 corpses were discovered in Baquba.

Now let's stop for a moment to note that Khamael Muhsin was found dead and two other women were found dead.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) adds to the body of reported violence against women by noting that two teachers (women) and their driver disappeared "three days ago" and Badra police were attempting to determine whether the two missing women were the corpses (heads only, according to Issa) discovered between Diyala and Wasit province. Issa also notes that "a principle of a primary school and her assistant were kidnapped by insurgents near one of the banks in Baquba before the eyes of a combined security patrol." Team all of that up with the three explosions Issa reports "in front of the Institute of Teachers for Girls" in Kirkuk. But let's all pretend that women aren't targeted simply due to their gender.

Today, the
US military announced: "A MND-B Soldier died when the patrol was attacked by small arms fire in the southern outskirts of Baghdad April 3. The unit was conducting a dismounted patrol when the attack occurred. One other Soldier was wounded in the attack."And they announced: "An MND-B Soldier died April 3 when a patrol was attacked with small arms fire in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital. The unit was conducting a presence patrol in the area when the attack occurred." And they announced: "While conducting a combat security patrol, two MND-B Soldiers died and three others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated in a southern section of the Iraqi capital April 4." And they announced: "While providing escort security for another unit, two MND-B Soldiers died and another was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated north of the Iraqi capital April 4. In recent weeks, this unit has successfully found numerous weapons caches and detained several targeted insurgents within their area of responsibility. In a separate incident, an MND-B Soldier died when a patrol was attacked with small arms fire in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital. The unit was conducting an area reconnaissance mission when the attack occurred. No other Soldiers were wounded during the attack."
AFP puts the count of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war at 3261, Reuters puts it at 3,264 and ICCC puts it at 3265.

And the
UK Military annonced, ""It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that four British soldiers and a civilian interpreter have been killed in Iraq today, 5 April 2007. The five were killed in a roadside bomb attack against a Warrior patrol west of Basra this morning. Next of kin are being informed and no further details will be released until this process is complete. " Why the British government begins sentence number two with "The five were killed . . ."? Typo? One more they haven't reported yet? Who knows?
AFP count for British soldiers who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 140, Reuters also goes with 140, as does ICCC.

Al Jazeera reports that the attack also claimed the life of "a civilian translator". Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) reports, "British authorities were trying to determine the nationality of the interpreter who was killed. He was not an Iraqi, and contrary to news service news reports he did not appear to be from Kuwait".

Turning to the US Congress, Tuesday on
Free Speech Radio News, Leigh Ann Caldwell reported on the latest talk of a new Senate bill regarding the war: "Responding to Bush's veto threats to the $124 billion war supplemental, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Russ Feingold have come up with a backup plan, a plan that goes further. It would stop funding US combat missions on March 31st of next year. It's important to note though that troops would remain for security reasons and to fight al Qaeda in Iraq." (Thank you to Micah and another member who both transcribed Caldwell.) On the measures passed by the House and Senate previously, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch) observe, "Although nothing of any significance actually happened on March 32, to read liberal commentators one would think we'd witnessed some profound upheaval, courtsey of Nancy Pelosi's skillful uniting of the various Democratic factions. What she accomplished in practice was the neutering of the antiwar faction. . . . Will Congressional opposition to the war now get stronger, anchored by Pelosi's bill? Not likely. The window of opportunity for that flew open right after the election when antiwar forces roared in outrage after being snubbed by Pelosi and Reid, who omitted the war and the Patriot Act from their must-do agenda. Instead, the Democratic leadership chose merely to appear to oppose the war while continuing to fund it. This they have now achieved, amid the satisfied cheers of the progressive sector."

United for Peace and Justice is advising "We Must Seize the Moment:"

As people of the United States, taking action to right these terrible wrongs is our greatest responsibility. Join us in letting our elected representatives know that we want the war to end and the troops to come home now!
Congress is now on recess, giving us an opportunity to take our message directly to them in their homes offices: Start bringing the troops home from Iraq now, bring all the troops home in 2007, and no war in Iran! The House of Representatives will be on recess March 31-April 15, and the Senate from March 31-April 9. Now is the time to make our voices heard.
Click here for ways to take action.
Scheduled a meeting with your reps?
Please post it on our events calendar.
Suggested reading on the supplemental:
Are We Politicians or Citizens? by Howard Zinn
UFPJ Talking Points: Opposing the Iraq Supplemental & Iran Threats by Phyllis Bennis
CODEPINK is asking that we stop the purchase:

Don't Buy Bush's War! "CODEPINK believes that not one more dollar should be appropriated for continued war and occupation, and will continue to push the position that Congress should only fund the safe, orderly and rapid withdrawal of all troops by the end of this year." Read more of CODEPINK's response to the passing of the supplemental bill. We will continue our broad and exciting Don't Buy Bush's War Campaign. We need to flood the offices, halls, sidewalks and streets of Congress with people opposed to the war from now through this Fall. We're asking for your help to get people to Washington DC and to do similar actions locally. CALL CONGRESS: we're also asking you to call and email your member of Congress telling him or her to stop buying Bush's war. Watch the Washington Post's film about this campaign.

Those who don't see the urgency in ending the war quickly should read
Deborah Sontag's (New York Times) article on Iraq veteran Sam Ross who returned from Iraq blind and missing a portion of his left leg and was left to address mental and emotional issues arises from his time in Iraq and his injuries with no help or assistance from the government that so gladly sent him into an illegal war.

Finally, though the plan is still to address the idiotic article in The Nation (
noted last Friday), Bernadine Dohrn (writing at CounterPunch) has already done so: "Christopher Phelps has written a timely but ultimately disappointing article in The Nation about the vibrant and growing student movement. He transforms the tough challenges of movement-building into a set of tepid forumulas about what not to do. The new wave of student activism in American and around the world is a hopeful development worthy of our active participation and respect." As noted last week, for those not interested in musings from the faux set, check out Doug Viehmeyer's article "Steppin It Up: The New SDS" (LeftTurn) about the SDS.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I can't discuss Bonnie Faulkner today. How come? Jess passed on the e-mails. Apparently KPFA went dead online. KCFC had too many streamers (according to Jonah who said that message came up on winamp). Everyone was going there because KPFA had nothing. You also couldn't access the mono of KPFB. (See, I read the e-mails to me.) How did it happen? A computer glitch of some sort. Judging by the e-mails, it went out during the middle of The Morning Show. It was still out when Guns and Butter came on.

Now I heard most of KPFA today but Eddie was among the people writing saying, "Let me listen first." I didn't know Eddie enjoyed reading what I'd choose to note after he'd listened himself. I'm not sure if he's testing me or just curious as to what stands out to me but I will wait until he and others have a chance to listen. (The topic was money. And, warning, when I do write about it tomorrow, don't expect it to be long or involved because a lot of it was way over my head.)

It's kind of ironic that the website's live stream went out . . . one day after the report to the listeners' was bragging about the website.

On the plus side it is streaming again (I checked -- it runs a bit behind the radio, by the way, or maybe that's just the speed of my computer). Jonah asked me to note something (which I will gladly). He listens to WBAI over the airwaves and KPFA online. He's gotten used to using the archives at KPFA when he wants to hear something again. Like a lot of members he feels KPFA has the best archive system of any of the Pacifica stations. (I'll take his word on it, I visited KPFA today for the first time, I believe.) But his big point was this: Why does WBAI only keep their archives up for 90 days? I have no idea. (He has another point that Ruth may address.) I do know that KPFA mentions their archives on air frequently and notes that it's one of the largest.

Even though I can't answer Jonah's question, I will share my opinion here. If WBAI has to archive the programs to begin with (for 90 days), it doesn't make any sense to me that they then ditch them. This may be an issue of not having the money to spend on the website and I can understand if that's the reason but I still think if you asked your listeners to help out during a pledge drive by giving a little more so that you could maintain your archives, people would donate more. You could even play the East v. West card and point out that KPFA has all their archived shows up and they don't take them down after 90 days "Doesn't WBAI deserve the same?"

A number of e-mails asked if KPFA being out was why C.I. didn't note them today? C.I.'s out of state speaking. You'll get Free Speech Radio, Democracy Now! and anything that someone plays over the phone for C.I. But otherwise it'll be those two (or Zach or Mia could do a transcription and it could be included that way). I really would have liked to have gone on this trip but couldn't do to a photo shoot tomorrow that I had already agreed to do.

Maggie was telling me Monday that she couldn't believe "how much you do these days" and though I do more, I think about all that C.I. does and know I'm not doing enough. That's not, "I must compete!" That is, "Kat, you could do a lot more." And then I read something like Elaine's
"Cindy Sheehan" and am reminded of it even more. Please read that, she did a great job.

That's it for me today. So here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, April 4, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the court battle US war resister Robert Zabala won gets more attention, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates plays Psychic -- or Belated Psychic, and forty years ago today MLK gave his historic "Beyond Vietnam" speech.

Starting with war resisters, yesterday
Free Speech Radio News filed report on Robert Zabala by Aaron Glantz:

Aura Bogado: A federal judge in nothern California has over-ruled the military justice system, and ordered the Marine Corps discharge a soldier who says he wouldn't be able to kill. In his ruling, US District Court Judge James Ware of San Jose ruled reservists Robert Zabala whould be discharged from the military as a conscientious objector. It's extremely rare for civilian courts to over-rule military courts, but Zabala's attorney says it's at least the second time it's happened during the Iraq war.
FSRN's Aaron Glatnz reports.

Aaron Glantz: University of California Santa Cruz student Robert Zabala received money for school because he joined the military. He entered the Marine Corps thinking it would be a place where he could find security after the death of his grandmother in 2003. But when he came to boot camp that June, Zabala said he had an ethical awakening that would not allow him to kill other people. Zabala was particularly appalled by boot camps' attempts to desensitize the recruits to violence.

Zabala: The response that all the recruits are supposed to say is "kill." So in unison you have, maybe 400 recruits, you know, "Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!" And after awhile that word almost becomes nothing to you. What does it mean? You say it so often that you don't really think of the consequences of what it means to say kill over and over as you're performing this, you know, deadly technique, a knife to the throat."

Glantz: In his ruling, Judge Ware noted Zabala's experiences with his first commander, Capt. Sanchez during basic training, Sanchez repeatedly gave speeches about blowing BLEEP up or kicking some BLEEP. In 2003 when a fellow recruit committed suicide on the shooting range Sanchez commented in front of the recruits BLEEP him, BLEEP his parents for raising him, and BLEEP the girl who dumped him. Another boot camp instructor showed recruits a motivational clip video showing Iraqi corpses, explosions and gun fights and rockets set to heavy metal songs that included the lyrics "Let the bodies hit the floor." Zabala he abhored the blood lust his commanders seemed to posses. Aaron Hughes served six years in the Illionis Guard, including one tour as a military truck driver in occupied Iraq. He says Robert Zabala's experiences are typical of basic training.

Hughes: It's a lot of competition and a lot of learning how to not see yourself as a person or others as human beings. It's just, you're a piece of property and that's the way it functions and that's your job is to function like an object under command. I mean, it's a really simple life though when you're under complete complete orders.

Glantz: Hughes says at the time he believed basic training helped capture manhood
he felt he lacked being raised by his mother but after being sent to Iraq, he changed his mind.

Hughes: I think it's wrong now looking back at it. How can you not be see it as a step away from your humanity? I mean basically you get in there and they -- you go -- you -- automatically start isolating you and they tell you how your girlfriend's not going to be there and she doesn't matter when you get home or your husband. Like don't trust anyone but the military. They really start fostering that as . . . your sole relationship in life.

Glantz: When Robert Zabala realized he couldn't kill another human being he submitted a written application to the reserves. He saw two chaplains and a clinical psychologist who all agreed his moral objections were legitimate and that he should be discharged from the Marine Corps. But his platoon commander . . . called Zabala insincere and recommended his petition be denied. So Zabala went to federal court. Geoff Millard is the Washington DC representative for
Iraq Veterans Against the War. He says Judge Ware's decision to force the military to discharge Zabala will make an impact.

Geoffrey Millard: Someone who's sitting back and thinking about c.o. and they really are very sincere, but they're not sure if their claim will make it, then this may give that person hope and will not have them violating their conscience. That's the reason why we have a c.o. process in military relgulations is so that you make sure that you don't ask people to violate their conscience.

Glantz: The Marine Corps has yet to say whether they will appeal Judge Ware's decision. For
Free Speech Radio News, I'm Aaron Glantz.

Todd Guild (Santa Cruz Sentinel) quotes Stephen Collier, Zabala's attorney, "This ruling is important because it lets other potential conscientious objectors know that there is hope." L.A. Chung (San Jose Mercury News) reports, "Steve Collier, Zabala's attorney, hopes the ruling will make it easier to obtain conscientious objector status. And it is a victory for those who do not cite religious beliefs as the reason for appying for conscientious objector status. Judge Ware, who teaches federal jurisdiction at Golden Gate University, took the unusual step of holding the hearing here, so that students could attend. 'The judge thought it was an interesting case,' Collier said."

Zabala is a part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Joshua Key, Corey Glass, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Dean Walcott, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake 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.

CBS and AP report on Bully Boy's White House nonsense yesterday where he called the Democrats "irresponsible." Apparently, the man who convinced himself that WMDs were found has now convinced himself that someone else occupied the White House in 2003 when he illegally went to war on Iraq. Staying on topics of the unhinged, Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense has issued a predicition. Reuters reports that Gates announced today that "one real possibility" of the US withdrawing from Iraq is that it could cause "ethnic cleansing." After sharing that vision, Gates predicted the Indianapolis Colts to win the February 4, 2007 Superbowl and that the Democrats would gain Congressional seats in the November 2006 elections. Going into a deep fugue state, Gates advised that JFK would be shot in Dallas and that Time Warner would merge with AOL "sometime around January 2000" and would live to regret the merger but "I see a rebounding for the long maligned victrola."

In the real world,
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) observes: "The time has come to understand the new de facto US policy in Iraq: to support, fund, arm and train a sectarian Shi'a-Kurdish state, one engaged in ethnic cleansing, mass detention and murder of Sunni Arabs. If this description seems harsh, it is only because our minds are crowded with false or outdates paradigms. First was the dream of Baghdad as an sexemplary democratic domino. Then the kumbaya notion of a unitary neo-liberal state with proportional representation and revenue-sharing among Shi'a, Kurds and Sunnis. All along, the US has described itself as a neutral arbiter among warring factions, a promoter of the rule of law and human rights in the Iraqi jungle. Even as former US ambassador Khalilzad left Baghdad, he was struggling to clinch deals over oil revenue-sharing, reversal of de-Baathification laws, and inclusion of Sunni interests in constitutional reform and local governance. The Shi'a, muttering that Khalilzad was a Sunni apologist, seemed uninterested in anything but window-dressing reforms. Whether by accident or design, the reality since 2006 is that the Shi'a, with Kurdish approval, are carrying out a sectarian war against the Sunni population with American dollars and trainers." Who are US tax dollars supporting?

Why is that lost in a fog of war? That's a very straightforward question that should, after four years and counting of an illegal war, be easily answered.

Also in the real world, today is the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence" speech.
Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon (CounterPunch) note that the "TV ritual" of noting MLK's death doesn't include this speech given April 4, 1967 and observe "You haven't heard the 'Beyond Vietnam' speech on network news retrospectives, but national media heard it loud and clear back in 1967 -- and loudly denounced it. Time magazine called it 'demogogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi.' The Washington Post patronized that 'King has diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people'." The historic speech can be read at Black Agenda Report, at CounterPunch and an excerpt can be read, or listened to -- video of archival footage can also be watched as you listen to the speech -- at Democracy Now! Excerpt:

If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war and set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

The speech big media would like to forget. The lessons hidden away. In Iraq today . . .


Reuters notes a bombing in Mosul that "killed a police major and wounded a civilian" and another one that wounded two bodyguards of Major General Wathiq al-Hamadani. Bushra Juhi (AP) reports, "A suicide car bomber and a mortar attack also hit a police station being manned by U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Shiite Sadr City enclave in Baghdad, wounding two policemen and two civilians, police said," a mortar attack in Khalis killed a woman, left 2 more "and a 4-year-old boy" wounded, while a mortar attack in Baghdad left five wounded.


CNN reports, "Gunmen killed 11 electricity plant workers in northern Iraq on Wednesday after stopping their vehicle and machine gunning them as they sat inside, Iraqi police and army said." Kim Gamel (AP) reports that it's six dead (with 34 reported deaths in Iraq today) and also notes 22 shepherds were kidnapped today. Most reports have the kidnapping taking place on Tuesday. (Reuters asserts 11 shot dead near Hawija and that 18 goat-herders ere kidnapped Tuesday.) Laura King (Los Angeles Times) also reports 11 were shot dead and that "Power plant workers said they would strike in protest of poor security in the area." Bushra Juhi (AP) reports four police officers were shot dead near Baquba and that six of the assailants were killed by police officers, a man traveling in his car through western Baghdad was shot dead, a man driving his car through Falluja was shot dead, and an attack "in the mainly Shiite Kobat area near Baquba" claimed one life and left 7 others injured ("most children").


Bushra Juhi (AP) reports a woman's corpse was discovered "west of Hillah" and two corpses (headless) were discovered not far from Suwayrah.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Guns and Butter

Guns and Butter airs on KPFA's tomorrow at one p.m. PST. And it will be archived for those who miss it. And if I don't have time to write about it, I'll hear about it!

I did listen last week. It was an amazing show, I agree. I haven't been ignoring it, as one person wondered in an e-mail. I was dealing with the NOW PAC nonsense and then started working on my CD review. So there wasn't time.

We'll talk about it right now. The guest was professor Francis Boyle and the topics were everything. The anthrax shots were discussed. The anthrax attacks. You name it, it got discussed. Biowarfare was the topic.

Now in the first Gulf War, anthrax vaccines were forced onto troops. US troops and British troops took the shots and many ended up with Gulf War Syndrome. France did not allow their soldiers to be vaccinated and they didn't have the same problem. Rick Anderson's Homefront the US' War on Soldiers is a book he recommended and Boyle wrote a preface or a foreword for the book (my notes are messy and scattered). Boyle believes we'll see more diseases in returning soldiers due to the vaccines (Anthrax, small pox, etc), the exposure to depleted uranium, etc.

Reagan gave weapons to Saddam. That was discussed and in my notes I have that there's no evidence that Poppy Bush gave bioweapons to Saddam. That was a point Boyle made and it surprised me so I'll include it here.

Biowarfare was something people were moving away from. In Bill Clinton's second term, they were revived. And Bully Boy just amped that up even more.

$40 billion is how much we're spending on biowarfare today. (note, we still do not have universal health care.)

Only a US government (Pentagon, etc.) would have the ability to produce the level of anthrax used in the Senate attacks.

In terms of the personal, Boyle spoke of being visited by government agents. The FBI attempted to force Boyle to be an informant on his students and due to his refusal, he's now on the terrorist watch lists.

In terms of the Democratic party, leadership supported the war. That's no real surprise. But he discussed how, in 2002, he and Ramsey Clark met with Congessional Dems and discussed impeachment (at the Dems invitation). There were no arguments against it and it might have been a done deal if the craven John Podesta hadn't come running in screaming "no!" like a banshee and saying that the DNC opposed impeachment "because it might harm their presidential prospects in 2004." That ended the discussion. He asked Ramsey Clark, as they were both getting their cabs, what happened and Clark said that Democratic leadership wanted the illegal war. He also tied that in with the laughable Pelosi measure that's funding the war but claims to end it.

So it was a really interesting episode and I'm sure tomorrow's will be as well.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, April 3, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, a US war resister receives conscientious objector status, the puppet gets his strings pulled tighter and the lies that led to illegal war.

Starting with news of war resistance, Robert Zabala has received his conscientious objector status.
Tony Parry (Los Angeles Times) reports that the C.O. status was granted, not by the military, but instead by U.S. District Judge James Ware who "ordered the Marine Corps to discharge Zabala within 15 days." Zabala's long journey is outlined in Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq. Zabala comes from a military family, finished boot camp "at the top of his class"
as he grew more and more sure that he could not participate in warfare.

Zarbala tells Sandra Gonzales (San Jose Mercury News) that 'motivational' shorts (music videos) and seeing the swapping of photos picturing dead Iraqis made him sent him on his journey and that, although "evaluated by a pshychologist and chaplains who believe he was qualified" for c.o. status, "the commandant of the Marine Corps" thought otherwise. Henry K. Lee (San Francisco Chronicle) reports a 2004 excahnge "with a fellow Marine" which prompted even more contemplation -- Zabala, "I began to think about the thousands of people who died in the past year in war, who didn't die due to just one soldier or suicide bomber, but largely by an organization. This organization trains to kill human life."

Zabala tells Peter Laufer that about discovering the classification of C.O., "You ever heard that song 'Pina Colada'? The singer is reading off that description and he realizes, 'Hey, this is my wife!' I was reading the CO description and I realized -- hey, this is me! I wanted my conscientious objector discharge. If they put me in a nonfighting job, I still saw myself as a cog in the Marine Corps machine." In 2003, Robert Zabala completed his C.O. paperwork ("I will no longer participate in an organization that sustains war.") Zabala told Laufer, "I will get my conscientious objector discharge. I will make the Marine Corps see me as a conscientious objector regardless of what anybody says. If they reject my claim I'm going to appeal." It took the federal court system's help but Robert Zabala was awarded C.O. status.

Peter Laufer's book is
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq and it provides an overview of various war resisters and peace efforts. Norman Solomon provides the foreward and the list price (US) is fourteen dollars.

Zabala is a part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Joshua Key, Corey Glass, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake 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.

Moving to the lies of an illegal war, last Thursday, on
Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein interviewed Peter Eisner -- deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post and co-auther with Knut Royce of The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq. As Rebecca noted last week, Bernstein and Eisner discussed the false claim by the Bully Boy that Saddam Hussein was seeking yellow cake from Niger. To back and give the briefest overview, one of the lies the US administration used to scare a nation into war was the repeated use of "mushroom cloud" (Condi, Bully) and the claims that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting nuclear programs, biological weaponry, WMDs, blah, blah, blah. In 2004, Joe Wilson began discussing his earlier trip to Niger. He was sent by the CIA to check the validity of a claim coming from Italian intelligence that Hussein was attempting to purchase yellow cake uranium (which would then be used in nukes -- according to the lie). Wilson went, found no proof of the claim. (The claim was false from the start.) As the falsehood continued to be repeated, Wilson spoke with Nicholas Kristof (New York Times) who penned a column. Eventually, Wilson would write "What I Didn't Find In Africa" for the New York Times. Elements in the White House became nervous as Wilson was speaking the truth and an effort was made to send a message. Hence the floating of Valerie Plame's name. Plame is married to Wilson, she was a covert CIA agent. The US administration elected to out her as part of their petty war on the truth. To be clear, that is my summary of the events. For Eisner's thoughts and summary of the events, listen to the interview. (Community members who signed up for Hilda's Brew can read a transcript of it by checking their inboxes.)

Two points from the interview that we'll note here:

1) On the chances that the steps to the illegal war can be unraveled publicly

Peter Eisner: And there are lower ranking people that have stepped foward, many other are bureacrats that . . . fear for their jobs or fear that their lives would be made difficult by stepping forward. But even someone like [former CIA director] George Tenent, interesting case, he's also about to come out with a book. His book has been stopped up in CIA vetting for months and one would think maybe that at the end of the vetting process, he might be toning down some of the other things that he might otherwise be able to say about the Bush administration's march towards war. He, because of CIA rules, he can't speak out openly without getting CIA approval on what he says in his book. So there are many people that are capable of speaking and will speak especially if they're placed under subpoena and required to speak. Remember that during the Iran-Contra period people were called before Congress and ended up, as you and I well
remember, talking about an off the shelf operation which basically was an extra-Constitutional to try to do . . . what needed to be done to win support for the Contras and deal with Iran at the same time. Some of the same players are still in place. Cheney among them. So there are chances to get people to speak, Royce and I didn't have the ability to go beyond those who were brave enough to speak, but under subpoena more people would speak.

2) On press coverage.

Dennis Bernstein: There was a huge publicity campaign at a lot of levels, not only to support the information, get the United States into a war, but also to attack the credibility of those calling into question who knew best about it, like Joe Wilson, calling into question what this information was about, whether it was real and whether the Bush administration was misusing it? And among the things that occurred was an extraordinary disinformation campaign against Joe Wilson which, for instance, found its way into the pages of your newspaper the Washington Post. And your, I guess, op-ed director was willing to stomp all over Wilson to go with the information. So tell us about the selling of this story and how that occurred that anybody who tried to resist got nailed.

Peter Eisner: Uh, the news, fortunately I can say that the news pages of the Washington Post were, uh, skeptical all along about the information. Not only about the purchase of uranium but overall of the concept of Iraq trying to restart its nuclear program. There was another item that included the so-called reconditioning of aluminum tubes that Iraq had purchased for the creation of centrifuges that would spin down lightly processed uranium into
bomb grade uranium and that material was also being bandied, uh, about in the fall of 2002, populary reported in September 2002 by the New York Times --

By Michael Gordon and Judith Miller only one of which no longer works for the New York Times. (I'm cutting it off there. Every community member knows it wasn't just Miller -- or just Miller and Gordon.) Today in the Washington Post,
Peter Eisner probes the subject of the false claim further.

Staying with
Flashpoints, US Senator and presidential candiate John McCain's antics were addressed by Robert Knight on yesterday's program:

In tonight's Knight Report, more turmoil in Somolia and Iraq as John McCain celebrates April Fool's Day in Baghdad. I'm Robert Knight in New York. . . . And finally there was yet another major American deployment Sunday in a Baghdad market where Senator John McCain engaged on a walking tour to promote the Bush administration's current escalation in Iraq. McCain, in defiance of various independent reports that Iraq's daily death toll actually increased last month, nevertheless declared that the so-called 'surge' was "making progress" and that Americans were "not getting the full picture of what is happening in Iraq"; however a zoom out from McCain's photo op shows that he was actually surounded by orbiting F16 fighter planes, three Black Hawk attack helicopters, 2 Apache gun ships, more than 100 US troops, snipers and armed vehicles, a flak jacket and personal body armour. The presidential contender and Congressional comedian concluded his celebration of April Fool's Day by declaring with a straight face that "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today. These and other indicators and reasons for cautious optimism about the effects of the new strategy." And that's some of the news for Monday, April 2, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight.

Also noting the realities of
Crazy John McCain and The John McCain Showboat Express trip to Baghdad on Sunday is Kirk Semple (New York Times) who notes that the stroll through the market required "more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees -- the equivalent of an entire company -- and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military . . . The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit." Semple also quotes Ali Jassim Faiyad ("owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market") on the just-an-average-stroll-according-to-McCain visit, "The security procedures were abnormal! They paralyzed the market when they came. This was only for the media. This will not change anything." CBS and AP report Iraqis residing in Baghdad have called McCain's visit "propaganda" and quote Jaafar Moussa Thamir who states, "They were just making fun of us and paid this visit just for their own interests. Do they think that when they come and speak few Arabic words in a very bad manner it will make us love them? This country and its society have been destroyed because of then and I hope that they realized that during their visit." Michael Luo (New York Times) notes that "365 members of Congress . . . visited the country since May 2003, when Mr. Bush declared the end of major combat operations. But it is unclear just how illuminating the trips have been. The duration and scope of Congressional visits are tightly controlled. Lawmakers from opposing parties often travel together, but draw opposite conclusions from the same trip on the war's progress."

In Iraq today there is news of kidnappings.
CNN reports Jalal Sharafi, Iranian diplomat, was released by kidnappers today after have been kidnapped on February 4th. He should not be confused with the Iranian diplomats the US is holding after storming their consulate and abducting them; however, the Iranian Foreign Ministry sees a pattern between the kidnappings and argues that the US was responsible for the kidnapping of Sharafi. Laura King (Los Angeles Times) reports that video of Hannelore Krause and Sinan Krause (mother and son) has surfaced with a demand that if Germany does not "withdraw troops from Afghanistan" in ten days, the two, kidnapped February 6th, will be killed. Finally, on the subject of kidnapping, Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspaper) notes the kidnapping of Sheikh Wisam Sadoon ("iman of Al Salam mosque") along with a bodyguard following "the afternoon prayers". Turning to other violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Two young men (students in the college of pharmacy) were killed in an IED explosions" and that 3 people were killed (2 wounded) in a south Baghdad explosion. DPA reports a US air attack in Falluja that killed six people.


Laith Hammoud (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that a police officer was shot dead in Tikrit, a person was shot dead on his way to work in Karkuk, another man was shot dead in Baquba (with two more wounded) and, in Baghdad, a police officer was shot dead. Reuters notes two police officers were shot dead in Latifiya, a guard of a gaas station was shot dead in Kut (one more wounded),


CNN reports the discovery of an eleven-year-old's corpse and Reuters notes the discovery took place in Taji. Laith Hammoud (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 10 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 5 in Hibhib.Reuters notes 5 corpses discovered near Ramadi and 7 corpses discovered in Baquba.

Today the
US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died April 2 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A large truck bomb exploded at a police station in Kirkuk, Monday, killing two Iraqi police officers and 10 local nationals. Three coalition Soldiers were injured by the blast and one later died of wounds." And they announced today: "An MNC-I Soldier died at approximately 4:00 pm Monday. The Soldier was wounded earlier in the day when a vehicle-born bomb exploded near his location in Kirkuk." The last two announcements cover the same death.

On the subject of Kirkuk, as Robert Knight (
Flashpoints) noted yesterday, "Kirkuk has become a hotbed of tribal conflict due to the US installed occupation's regime's policy of ethnic cleansing whereby Arabs are now being intimidated or offered payment to move out of Kirkuk" as a result of an "initiative . . .intended to reverse the Baath party's policy of integrating the Kurdish enclave with Arab residents and to stack the voter rolls prior to a referendum over ceding the city to . . . the northern province of Kurdistan." Bassem Mrolie and Wassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) report that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki had the decision "forced on him" at the threat of Kurd walking "out of his ruling coalition" which would "bring down the government".

Finally, noting US Senator Barack Obama's decision to tell AP that the Bully Boy supplemental would go through regardless (see
yesterday's snapshot), Robert Naiman (Common Dreams) observes: "The question here is not just what one predicts will be the outcome of the confrontation between Congress and President Bush. Obama, as a member of the Senate and as a leading Democratic presidential candidate, is a key protagonist in the confrontation. What kind of organizer confides to the media that when push comes to shove, his side is going to back down?"