Thursday, March 17, 2005

Grab Bag & Democracy Now: Jim Lobe & Njoki Njoroge Njehu, Jeff Chester, Irish Peace Activists

Via BuzzFlash, I saw this on Medea Benjamin from the Chicago Tribune:

In early 2003, as the Bush administration pressed its case for invading Iraq, Benjamin and a handful of female activists went to Washington to try to stop the war. Calling themselves Code Pink, a reference to the color-coded terror alerts, they donned pink clothing and held vigils in front of the White House.They didn't stop the war, of course, but their movement caught on. Code Pink now has 100 locally organized groups working on causes such as electoral reform and saving local libraries.
Benjamin, a San Francisco resident and an economist by training, puts in seven-day weeks and 16-plus-hour days on Code Pink and other activist causes. She's "pretty obsessed" with promoting peace and other human rights issues, she says.About 17 years ago she co-founded with her husband a San Francisco-based organization called Global Exchange that promotes fair trade, fighting sweatshops and advocating sustainable economic development.Benjamin stopped in Chicago recently on a U.S. tour "to revive the anti-war movement" and to publicize Code Pink rallies that will be held nationwide Saturday to recognize the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
Q. What was the genesis of Code Pink?
A. I just thought we were going to create this group to try to stop the war. We thought we'd be successful, of course (laughing), as naive as we were. And when we weren't, I thought, well, [our efforts] will kind of dissolve. But then we found out that when we were standing in front of the White House for four months in the freezing cold, women were creating these Code Pink groups all over the country. So there are local chapters all over. We have about 40,000 people now on our mailing list.
Q. How do you measure the impact that Code Pink has had?
A. On the most fundamental level, we've failed. We didn't stop the war, ... and now there are threats against Iran. But then on another level, we've woken up a lot of people, we've activated a lot of people. We have women in high school and on college campuses who for the first time in their lives are feeling empowered to be active politically, socially.
We have done some things that have had a direct impact on people's lives. We just took a trip to the Middle East, taking $650,000 worth of humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees from Fallujah, and that has had a tremendous impact on the lives of a lot of women and children. We are on our way to Iran [in March].

The article is by Cassandra West and it's entitled "Pushing for peace, human rights: Code Pink groups gear up for more anti-war rallies" and is worth reading. (,1,7864191.story?coll=chi-leisurewomannews-hed)

Yesterday, we noted this re: Code Pink:

March 19-20 marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. After all of the death and destruction and with the Bush administration claiming a mandate to continue their war, there's a new urgency and a stronger determination within the global antiwar movement to bring the troops home now.CODEPINK will organize vigils, rallies, marches and nonviolent civil disobedience throughout the country to call an end to the needless suffering, devastation, and loss of life. Help us let the Bush administration know loud and clear the world’s mandate has been and continues to be one of peace. Read the renewed Iraq Pledge of Resistance.
Organize vigils, rallies, marches, or nonviolent civil disobedience in your community and let us know by emailing and publishing it on the United For Peace and Justice calendar - or join an event near you.
There will also be a major regional demonstration in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg - ground zero for the 82nd Airborne Division and many of the Army's elite units. Beyond Fort Bragg, North Carolina hosts four other of the nation's largest military bases, making the state one of the friendliest to the military-industrial complex.
For more information about CodePink, visit their homepage as well as the CodePink alert notice.

Also from BuzzFlash, check out Teresa Chambers' latest (

By now, you may have heard the news about the Department of the Interior suddenly finding a performance appraisal which was prepared by my previous supervisor but never given to me. This appraisal is key to my defense. The Department denied its existence until recently when they were reminded by my legal team that my supervisor testified under oath that he had prepared this evaluation. Now, the Department of the Interior is deciding whether they will relinquish a copy of the appraisal to me. You can read the latest regarding this matter on and hear an audio version of the story in the audio library, accessed by the top button on the home page.

Also recommended is "Refuge Has Long Been a Major Environmental Battleground" (,0,6111307.story?coll=la-home-headlines) by Julie Cart and Ralph Vartabedian. This LA Times article begins:

No environmental battle in the last 25 years has aroused more passion than the seesaw struggle over the future of a strip of coastal tundra at the northern tip of Alaska.
The Senate's vote Wednesday to allow oil and gas drilling there did not seal the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Legislative hurdles remain. But for the first time in more than 20 years of debate, the president and Congress have signaled that they agree the nation's energy needs justify tapping into the nation's largest wildlife preserve, a place many Americans believe should be untouchable.
Moreover, both proponents and critics of drilling in the preserve see Wednesday's vote as the opening wedge in a broader campaign, reflected in pending legislation to open other areas currently off limits to energy exploration, including areas off California's coast.

Also from the LA Times, check out "Tribe Opposes Appeals Court Nominee" (,1,2629583.story?coll=la-headlines-politics) by Henry Weinsteain:

A California Indian tribe has accused a controversial nominee for the federal appeals court in San Francisco of lying during his confirmation hearing.
The latest charge comes on the eve of a vote today in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of William G. Myers III to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. An attorney for the Quechan Indian Nation sent a letter to members of the Judiciary Committee this week saying that Myers had told "untruths" in his March 1 testimony in response to questions from the committee about actions he had taken while he was the Interior Department's top lawyer.
"Mr. Myers continues to try to rewrite history" regarding his actions on the proposed Glamis mine in Imperial County, the letter from attorney Courtney Ann Coyle of La Jolla states.

Rod calls our attention to an article from The Guardian:

Some of the regulars at the bar also complained that the McCartney murder and the bank heist had been used unfairly as a stick with which to beat a nationalist icon.
"Gerry Adams seems like a straight-shooter," said Brian Butler, a teacher from New York. "I have no reason not to believe him."
Fellow teacher Thomas Morris agreed. "Do I think Adams was involved? No. Was he behind it? No. Is he controlling things? No," said Mr Morris, whose grandfather had fought in the old IRA.
Mr Morris said he followed events in Ireland more closely than most - certainly more than his five children, who "know more about U2 than Gerry Adams".
He agreed there would be a big turnout on Monday, but believed that, for most people, it would be an opportunity for a reunion and nostalgia for a time when the struggle in Ireland bound them together.
"The Irish when they settled here, they settled in Newark. Now they're scattered to the four winds, so it's a reason to come together," he said.

That's from "Irish-Americans open hearts -- and bars -- to Adams" (,2763,1435943,00.html) by Julian Borger. It ran on March 12, 2005 (the same day as the NY Times editorial, Rod notes). (Like USA Today, The Guardian has a free archive.)

Over at Guerrilla News Network, you'll find "Italian journalist investigated infrantry group that shot her"
( From that article:

Giuliana Sgrena among few who dug into rape charges against 3rd Infantry Brigade.
On International Women’s Day, we women’s groups demand justice for Giuliana Sgrena and the Iraqi women raped and killed by US troops.
We have just found out that the US troops who shot Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena—and killed Nicola Caliperi whose sacrifice saved her life—immediately after her release from kidnap, were from a military unit under investigation last year for raping Iraqi women, according to US army documents. Ms Sgrena had published in her paper testimonies of Iraqi women ex-prisoners who had been raped and sexually abused in Abu Ghraib, and other prisons.

(Note this in terms of crediting the article: "[Posted By alpinestar]
By Black Women's Rape Action Project (BWRAP) and Women Against Republished from Straight Goods.")

The New York Daily News' Rush & Molloy are useless to readers as they repeat a story from London's The Daily Mail and can't even figure out the details on their own (

Vadim even suggested she [Jane Fonda] come on to women in bars using techniques she gleaned from her Oscar-winning performance as a prostitute in "Klute," the Mail claimed Fonda wrote.
But Fonda's mouthpiece, Pat Kingsley, told us that the paper's account contains "huge inaccuracies."
Kingsley declined to get into specifics, but said, "The information did not come from the book, as people will understand when they read it."
Meanwhile, Kingsley confirmed that the 67-year-old star will undergo hip surgery in the summer for osteoarthritis. The rep said the operation wasn't the aftermath of all those years of "feeling the burn."
"It has nothing to do with her working out," said Kingsley. "It's a family condition she inherited."

Hint to Rush & Malloy, Fonda was involved with Donald Sutherland by the time of Klute and her marriage to Roger Vadim was over. It's basic information and something that "madcap gossips" should be able to suss out on their own.

On the plus side, more publicity for Fonda's book.

Over at The New York Review of Books, check out James C. Goodale's "The Flawed Report on Dan Rather" ( From that essay:

Lost in the commotion over the authenticity of the documents is that the underlying facts of Rather's 60 Minutes report are substantially true. Bush did not take the physical exam required of all pilots; his superiors gave him the benefit of any doubt; he did receive special treatment and Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush's commanding officer, was unhappy with the loss of ANG's investment in him when Bush informed Killian he was leaving for Alabama. Before the broadcast, Mary Mapes, the CBS producer of the program, confirmed the facts in the documents with retired Major General Bobby Hodges, who had been Killian's superior in the ANG. Later Hodges told the panel he did not think the documents were authentic, but did not disagree that the facts were substantially correct.
Following the broadcast, Marian Carr Knox, who was Killian's secretary at the time, confirmed the facts of the broadcast, saying, "There's no doubt in my mind that [the] information is correct." When the panel cross-examined Knox she seemed less certain of what she had told Rather but she did not contradict any of the broadcast. Since the broadcast, no one has come forward to say the program was untruthful.
[. . .]
Mr. Pierce had said that the signatures were authentic and he has never modified his conclusion. The panel never interviewed him. If the panel never talked to the one expert upon whom CBS principally relied, how could it determine whether he was credible?
Moreover, if lawyers know how to hire appropriate experts even if journalists don't, why didn't the panel, which was backed by a huge law firm, hire its own experts to determine the authenticity of the documents? One suspects that if the panel had done so, it would have ended up with some experts saying the documents were reliable, others not sure. And that would have put the panel back where CBS was.
The report criticizes CBS for not being able to present evidence of a "chain of custody" for the documents. Since the CBS source, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett, only had a copy of the documents, CBS, the panel said, should have known where this copy came from, or, indeed, the source of the originals. Burkett later confessed he had lied about his alleged source, George Conn, whom CBS clearly should have taken more pains to reach. After the program had been broadcast, Burkett said he received the documents from a woman named Lucy Ramirez.
For seized drugs to be introduced into evidence, a lawyer must prove who had the drugs from the time they were seized—that is the "chain of custody." While such proof is relevant in the courtroom, it is often irrelevant for journalists. Few stories based on documents would ever be written if that were the standard.
One of the greatest concerns facing The New York Times in publishing the Pentagon Papers was their authenticity. A major fear was that the papers had been forged by an antiwar group. If a strict standard of "chain of custody" had been applied to the Times's possession of the Pentagon Papers, this standard would have made the story unpublishable. It would have required a call to the Department of Defense or the Rand Corporation, known to have custody of the originals. Such a call would have brought the FBI to the Times's door in a second.

From the BBC we learn "Afghanistan's elections delayed" ( and note it's not Hamid Karzai delivering the news:

Speaking in Kabul after talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, President Karzai blamed the delay on "technical matters".
Ms Rice said in her opening statements that the poll would take place later in the year, apparently not aware that the new date had yet to be made official.
She said it would show "the Afghan people's commitment to democracy".
When asked for clarification, Ms Rice said: "I hope I didn't break the story."
Mr Karzai then confirmed the elections would take place in September.

Over at CounterPunch, Alison Weir has "We Won't Forget Rachel Corrie: Uprising on the Anniversary of a Death" (

There is a quiet battle going on for the memory of a young woman who could have been my daughter, or perhaps yours.
On one side are those who would like to erase her from history her actions, her beliefs, her murder. If they are unsuccessful at that, they will settle for posthumous slurs on her character, falsifications of her death.
On the other side are those who feel her shining principles should be praised, her courage honored, her death grieved. On this side are those who believe that heroism is noble, bravery admirable, and compassion for others the most fundamental form of morality.
To those of us on this side, Rachel Corrie will never be forgotten. She was 23 when she was killed.
We won't forget her young idealism, her sweet bravery, her needless death. And we won't forget her beliefs, the third of which killed her: that good would triumph, that justice would prevail, that Israel would not kill her.
She was wrong on that last one. On March 16, 2003, two Israeli soldiers drove a house-crushing bulldozer over her twice crushing her into the Gaza dirt. With five other nonviolent human rights defenders, Rachel had been sitting in front of a family home in Palestine, pleading with Israeli soldiers not to demolish it. They didn't (until later); they demolished her instead.
Her friends ran to her screaming. They dug her out of the dirt. One told me that Rachel's eyes were open; her last words were, "My back is broken."

Also from CounterPunch, we'll note Ralph Nader's "Restarting the Anti-War Movement" (

Political movements require momentum, they need to consistently build and aggregate. When they take a lengthy break from organizing and stop the momentum it is difficult to re-start.
During the Vietnam War there was a consistent expansion of anti-war efforts. Every year the movement built and grew. Anti-war activists did not take breaks during election years. In fact, they targeted members of both political parties for their support for the war. Indeed, their work led to a sitting president, Lyndon Johnson; dropping out during the primaries as it became evident the Vietnam War would destroy his chances of re-election. This occurred even though Johnson was elected in what was the largest landslide ever in his previous 1964 campaign. And when that election year was over even Richard Nixon was pressured to announce a withdrawal plan.
The anti-Iraq war movement showed its power before the war putting millions of people in the streets. We were years ahead of the growth of the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. Now that the Iraq war and occupation have unfolded all of the predictions of the anti-war movement have come true [. . .] Iraq is a quagmire, has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and more than 1,500 U.S. troops, hundreds of billions of tax dollars are being spent resulting in cuts of many stateside domestic programs. U.S. corporate interests have invaded Iraq and the widespread corruption related to corporate business is being exposed. But yet, the anti-war movement with few exceptions chose not to have a demanding impact on the presidential election and John Kerry.
The Iraq War and occupation have made the United States less secure. . . .

Danny Schechter's News Dissector is always worth reading but make a point to check out today's ( which covers a wide range of topics. Here's one topic:

I went by one of the vigils last night, one more protest in a week that saw more demonstrations around the world with more than 700,000 marching in Spain. You would think that the emergence of this global movement would be big news. And yes there was TV coverage in the form of collages of images. But to the top-down worldview of the NY Times, they are a treated as a nuisance. The lead story on Sunday devoted one line in the 13th paragraph on p 14, the jump page. ("Around the world, including in Washington protesters assembled to demonstrate against the impending war." A story about he demos appeared on p 15 under a large photo of Iraqis marching with a photo of Saddam Hussein. The headline refers to the marchers as "throngs."
The Times was more worried abut the warnings that al Qaeda is using the war on Iraq to step up its recruiting -- totally predictable. One of the more bizarre media moments occurred during an LA Times sponsored debate aired live on CSPAN Saturday night. Just a columnist Robert Scheer was speaking, CSPAN reported they were having technical difficulties. The screen went black, and within seconds we were being treated to a prerecorded urgent warfare exercise from Fort Polk hosted by a soldier. A promised rebroadcast of the ANSWER anti war rally promo'ed for midnight was never shown -- at least not in the East. Huh ???????

Hopefully, this will post on the site. Again, there were nothing but blog problems this morning.
[Note: This post was attempted several times via e-mail by myself and several members this morning. It never did hit the site.]

Turning to "always worth watching" (Marcia) Democracy Now!:

Headlines for March 17, 2005
- Bush Nominates Wolfowitz to Head World Bank
- Senate Oks Oil Drilling in Arctic by 51-49 Vote
- Kevin Martin Named New FCC Chairman
- Bomb Kills Five in Afghanistan; Election Delayed
- House Oks Spending $82B in New War Spending
- Navy Expressed Concern Over Guantanamo Interrogation Techniques
- Bush Defends Practice of Extraordinary Rendition
- European Nations Investigate CIA Abductions
- UN Warns of Humanitarian Crisis in Congo

Bush Names Iraq War Architect Paul Wolfowitz to Head World Bank
President Bush named Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to become the new president of the World Bank. Woflowitz is one of the chief hawks within the Bush administration and was a leading architects of the Iraq war. We speak with journalist Jim Lobe and Njoki Njoroge Njehu of the 50 Years is Enough network.

Kevin Martin Appointed FCC Chairman, Ken Ferree Named to Leading Post at Corporation for Public Broadcasting
President Bush named conservative commissioner Kevin Martin to head the Federal Communications Commission. Separately, Ken Ferree was named as Chief Operating Officer for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We speak with Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy.

St. Patrick's Day Special: Irish Peace Activists Protest U.S. Use of Shannon Airport in Iraq War
To commemorate St. Patrick's Day, we take a look at the use of Shannon airport by U.S. troops en route to Iraq as well as the case of three Irish peace activists recently acquitted after their arrest during a protest against President Bush.

Just realized that Democracy Now!'s latest was probably posted at their web site so we'll put that in this e-mail as well.