In May of 2004 I interviewed a man who had just been released from Abu Ghraib. Like so many I interviewed from various US military detention facilities who’d been tortured horrifically, he still managed to maintain his sense of humor.
He began laughing when telling me how CIA agents made him beat other prisoners. He laughed, he said, because he had been beaten himself prior to this, and was so tired that all he could do to beat other detained Iraqis was lift his arm and let it drop on the other men.
Later, he laughed again as he told me what else had been done to him, when he said, “The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house.”
But this testimony is not about the indomitable spirit of the Iraqi people. About the dignity and strength of Iraqis, we need no testimony. This testimony is about ongoing violations of international law being committed by the occupiers of Iraq on a daily basis in regards to rampant torture, the neglect and obstruction of the health care sector and the ongoing failure to allow Iraqis to reconstruct their infrastructure.
To discuss torture, there are many stories I could use here, but I’ll use two examples indicative of scores of others I documented while in Iraq.
What does it take to get a Saturday entry out of me after I've started assisting The Third Estate Sunday Review? Something really important. Like Dahr Jamail's testimony before the World Tribunal on Iraq which we've quoted from above. It's an excerpt. Read "World Tribunal for Iraq, Culminating Session Testimony" in full.
The New York Timid's not interested (thus far). Apparently few are. That's why you should be interested. Where there is silence on a subject, it should peek your curiosity.
The World Tribunal on Iraq doesn't appear to merit much commentary in this country (US, to clarify for our foreign community members). Is it unimportant?
You tell me.
It's apparently unimportant to the mainstream. They're still refusing to tell you about the increased bombings beginning in May of 2002. (As reported by from Michael Smith's "RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war." Also note, as Charlie pointed out, Jeremy Scahill's "The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun." )
The World Tribunal on Iraq is going on right now. You can watch or listen online.
A number of e-mails came in on Baby Cries a Lot who got all teary eyed and spoke of his children as the reason why America needs to stay in Iraq. No, they aren't over there and, no, it didn't make any sense but does anyone expect sense from Baby Cries a Lot?
He whimpers, he whines, he tears up, he chokes up. Put him back on the shelf already because amidst all the drama, there's no functioning brain there.
Baby Cries a Lot resulted in over 800 e-mails on Friday so we'll note him here in terms of those who speak truth and those who gatekeep. Yes, he's so dumb that he's still claiming the Pottery Barn has a policy that it doesn't have. Yes, he's so wimpy he can't "fight" (or make a case) for anything without faking tears.
Baby Cries a Lot pimps his AEI friends. Baby Cries a Lot couldn't decide from one day to the next in January if he thought there was a problem in Ohio or not. Some days he did and spoke with (fake) passion, some days he resorted to calling those questioning the vote "tin foil hat conspiracy" types.
Here's a question. Why are some of you still listening to Baby Cries a Lot?
He angers you, I don't blame you. But you're not getting anything from him. So just walk on, walkon.org. Watch or listen to Democracy Now!, go to Pacifica, go to NPR, play some music. Go to Air America Place and check out the archives for The Laura Flanders Show, The Mike Malloy Show, The Majority Report, The Randi Rhodes Show, Ecotalk, So What Else Is News?, The Rachel Maddow Show, Ring of Fire and others.
Baby Cries a Lot is a nasty person, as you've noted in countless e-mails.
Baby Cries a Lot didn't serve but now wants to act as not just the troops' supporter but as the War Cheerleader.
Baby Cries a Lot has a meltdown when, for instance, Bob Somerby begins offering criticism of a policy or a politician. (And Somerby's not invited back.) Baby Cries a Lot freaks when in the midst of "IS REAGAN STILL DEAD!" coverage, Greg Palast offers a sound critique of Reagan's Latin American policies. Baby Cries a Lot rushes to cut Jeremy Glick off (though not by saying "Shut up!") when Glick attempts to speak.
Baby Cries a Lot was perfectly happy to pimp Glick's late father and to use that to settle a score with his nemisis. He just wasn't happy to let Jeremy Glick speak beyond what happened on Fox "News."
He's a whiney ass gatekeeper who's peddled sexism to get where he is. Quit listening.
There's nothing he's ever going to say that will matter.
But here's something that does matter, The World Tribunal on Iraq.
And you can hear it live, right now.
"They were telling us get out, get out, and then the roof collapsed on us. . . . They went away, the house is no longer there, I do not have a car, I have nothing. I saved my children from the rubble. . . . The ceiling collapsed on us. . . . Nobody came and asked us what we were doing. . . . Nothing was told us. They say that we can bomb anything we want to, we can interrogate anyone we want to. Now they've left us houseless. What right do they have to do this?"
You won't hear about that from Baby Cries a Lot.
He's working the clampdown, in diapers, but he's working it.
He's the court jester to the Bully Boy. You mention in your e-mails that he worked up, as he worked up those phoney tears, a defense for the Bully Boy. Well that tells you everything you need to know, now doesn't it?
He wants to be a player in his new field (there's very little left to him elsewhere which is why he entertains corporations). If you've got time, and some of you appear to have that time, to write and complain about what Baby Cries a Lot did this week, then you've got time to go online and listen or watch the testimony that's ongoing.
Mike Malloy, last night, offered that even if the Democratic Party gained a majority in the 2006 election, they wouldn't impeach the Bully Boy. He's right. That won't come from D.C. If it comes, it will have to come from outside D.C. -- pressure will have to be brought on your representatives to force the issue. And if you're willing to do that, you need to know what happened. You're not going to learn about it in the New York Timid. (Or on Baby Cries a Lot's show.) You will hear about this on Democracy Now! (and they noted it Friday and I'm sure will address it next week). But if you're online right now for whatever reason and you're at a computer with speakers or have a pair of headphones, you probably are able to listen to the Tribunal.
You can moan next week in e-mails about what Baby Cries a Lot pushed as "liberal" or "progressive" and how he yucked it up with his centrist and right-wing "pals." You can complain about how he shoots down any idea other than "stay the course." (While the "course" is killing Iraqis and the Coalition of the Coerced whose "brave" leaders, including the Bully Boy, don't seem concerned with the body count.) But if you want to do that, I want to see something in the e-mail that suggests you took the time to inform yourself. You can do that by following the Tribunal. Give it fifteen minutes. You gave Baby Cries a Lot three hours a day for five days this past week.
You're pinning your hopes on something that's not going to happen. There will be no awakening for Baby Cries a Lot until the troops are withdrawn. At that point, he'll sob and say he wanted it all along. You've all heard the inconsistencies in his day to day discussions. Because, despite the fact that he pushes himself as it, he's not a political person, you've failed to realize that he twists in the wind and always has.
Next week, Baby Cries a Lot will no doubt tear up again and give yet another "fathers & son" talk. And it will be as meaningless next week as it was this week as it was the week before as it was the week before that . . .
It has nothing to do with reality.
The Iraq World Tribunal has to do with reality. People are offering testimony. There's no Baby Cries a Lot there to rush in and stop them or to change the topic or say "We have to go to commercial" and nurse his wounded ego throughout the following segments.
This is reality and you can listen to (or watch it).
From Democracy Now! Friday:
World Tribunal on Iraq Opens In Turkey
In Turkey, the World Tribunal on Iraq is opening its three-day session today. The gathering is modeled after the International War Crimes Tribunal that British philosopher Bertrand Russell formed in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Russell's tribunal was charged with conducting 'a solemn and historic investigation' of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam in order to 'prevent the crime of silence.' Speaking at the World Tribunal on Iraq will be Indian writer Arundhati Roy, former UN Assistant Secretary General Dennis Halliday, independent journalist Dahr Jamail and others.
Baby Cries a Lot channels Robert McNamara via the sixties. That says everything you need to know about Baby Cries a Lot. (Who will probably emerge from a Fog of War years from now to speak out against the invasion/occupation of Iraq while still justifiying some similar action that's going on then.) (Yes, there will be future similar actions. Those like Baby Cries a Lot make that possible. This war and the next brought to you by the Babies Cry a Lot.)
We can complain about someone who's useless or we can focus on what does matter. While I understand the e-mailers complaints, no, I'm not going to fact check Baby Cries a Lot. Life is too short for me to put up with his nonsense. And while it's true that others have pushed him as a brave liberal voice, we haven't done that here. We've largely avoided him. Let's continue to do that and focus on what matters.
The World Tribunal on Iraq matters. You can follow it online.
As I type, Tim Goodrich is about to continue speaking. Goodrich is a founding member of IVAW -- an organization committed to ending the occupation. And though they don't feel the need to trumpet it in constant advertisements, "they were there."
How people are recurit into the military, who joins the military and why. . . . Military life is glorified and soldiers are seen as role models. In my case, I wanted to join the military since I was five-years-old . . .
He's speaking of the socio-economic draft right now. And you won't hear him saying that seated across from Baby Cries a Lot. You won't hear Jim Massey or Diana Morrisson or Michael Hoffman or any of the others. You will hear the clampdowners telling you that you can't speak because you weren't there or telling a Vietnam vet that they don't know what they're talking about because it's "not Nam, man." Your information flow with Baby Cries a Lot is severely restricted.
So you can wait until Monday and get upset that Baby Cries a Lot is goofing around for three hours with the occassionally teary sob, or you can make the effort to find out for yourself what's going on. Member can complain about Baby Cries a Lot but if you're going to do that, put something in the e-mail that demonstrates that not only do you realize the would-be Bob Hope has nothing to say, but also indicates you did make a point to get actual information you can use somewhere else.
Here's where I think (as always, I could be wrong), we are in the testimony to the Tribunal:
12:00 – 12:20 Witness - Tim Goodrich: The Conduct of the US Army
12:20 – 12:40 Amal Sawadi: Detentions and Prison Conditions
12:40 – 13:00 Witness - Fadhil Al Bedrani: Collective Punishment
13:00 – 13:20 Questions from the Jury
13:20 – 14:30 LunchFourth Session / Cont. ... (Moderator: Joel Kovel)
14:30 – 14:50 Joel Kovel: Effects of the War on the Infrastructure
14:50 – 15:10 Herbert Docena: Economic Colonization
15:10 – 15:30 Mohammed Al Rahoo: Iraqi Law Under Occupation
15:30 – 15:50 Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty: The Transfer of Power in Iraq
15:50 – 16:10 Niloufer Bhagwat: The Privatization of War
16:10 – 16:30 Questions from the Jury
16:30 – 16:50 Coffee Break
16:50 – 17:10 Nermin al Mufti: The Occupation as Prison
17:10 – 17:30 Barbara Olshansky: Covert Practices in the U.S. War on Terror and the Implications for International Law: The Guantanamo Example
17:30 – 17:50 Witness - Mark Manning / Rana M. Mustafa: Testimony on Falluja
17:50 – 18:10 Abdul Wahab Al Obeidi: Human Rights Violations and the Disappeared in Iraq18:10 – 18:30 Johan Galtung: Human Rights and the U.S./U.K. Illegal Attack on Iraq
18:30 – 18:50 Questions from the Jury
THIRD DAY, 26 JUNE 20
0509:00 – 09:10 Summary of the Previous DayFifith Session / Cultural Heritage, Environment and World Resources (Moderator: Hilal Elver)
09:10 – 09:20 Hilal Elver: The Framework of the Session
09:20 – 09:40 Gül Pulhan: The Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Report from the Istanbul Initiative
09:40 – 10:00 Witness - Amal Al Khedairy: Testimony on the Destruction of Cultural Heritage
10:00 – 10:20 Joel Kovel: The Ecological Implications of the War
10:20 – 10:40 Witness - Souad Naji Al-Azzawi: Tes. on Radioactive Contamination in Iraq
10:40 – 11:00 Questions from the Jury
11:00 – 11:20 Coffee BreakSixth Session / Global Security Environment and Future Alternatives (Moderator: Ayşe Gül Altınay)
11:20 – 11:40 Ayşe Gül Altınay: Militarism and the Culture of Violence
11:40 – 12:00 Nadje Al-Ali: Gender and War: The Plight of Iraqi Women
12:00 – 12:20 Liz Fekete: Creating Racism and Intolerance
12:20 – 12:40 Samir Amin: The Economy of Militarization
12:40 – 13:00 Ahmad Mohamed Al-Jaradat: Relationship between Iraq, Palestine and Israel.
13:00 – 13:20 Questions from the Jury
13:20 – 14:30 LunchSixth Session / Continues
14:30 – 14:50 Wamidh Nadhmi: Polarization and the Narrowing Scope of Political Alternatives 14:50 – 15:10 John Ross: Collateral Damage: The Mexican Example
15:10 – 15:30 Christine Chinkin: Human Security in Iraq
15:30 – 15:50 Ken Coates: The Future of the Peace Movement
15:50 – 16:10 Corrine Kumar: Towards a New Political Imaginary
16:10 – 16:30 Biju Matthew: Alternatives for an Alternative Future
16:30 – 17:00 WTI İstanbul Coordination: The WTI as an Alternative: An Experimental Assertion
17:00 – 17:20 Questions from the Jury
17:20 – 17:40 Coffee Break
17:40 – 18:00 Richard Falk - Closing Speech on Behalf of the Panel of Advocates
18:00 – 18:20 Arundhati Roy - Closing Speech on Behalf of the Jury of Conscience
18:20 – 18:30 The Closing of the World Tribunal on Iraq, Istanbul.
27 JUNE 2005
11.00 Press conference announcing the decision of the Jury of Conscience at Hotel Armada
You can complain about Baby Cries a Lot (as many of you have) but you can also make a point to inform yourself. The World Tribunal on Iraq is being conducted right now. You can see it as a symbolic action or as a resource for information or however you want to see it. But you can also follow the proceedings online.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.