Monday, November 14, 2005

Other Items

The possibility that Judge Alito could vote to narrow abortion rights has dominated discussion among both supporters and opponents of his nomination. But Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice and one of the leaders of the coalition, said a poll commissioned by her organization showed the potential to attack Judge Alito on aspects of his record that had received less attention.
In addition to the alliance, a liberal legal group that focuses on judicial nominations, the coalition includes the abortion rights groups Naral Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, as well as People for the American Way, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Sierra Club.
Last week, the alliance released results of a poll that highlighted elements of the judge's record unrelated to abortion that the liberal groups say could have greater resonance with moderate voters.
Among the issues raised by the poll was Judge Alito's support as a lawyer in the Reagan administration for an employer's right to fire someone who had AIDS. Another issue was a judicial opinion he wrote supporting a police strip-search of a suspected drug dealer's female companion and her 10-year-old daughter. Others included his votes as a judge against employment discrimination suits and an opinion overturning part of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The above is from David D. Kirkpatrick's "Liberal Coalition Is Making Plans to Take Fight Beyond Abortion" in this morning's New York Times. Billie e-mailed to note it.

Donnie e-mails to note Dahr Jamail's "Fallujah Revisted" (Iraq Dispatches):

Nearly a year after they occurred, a few of the war crimes committed in Fallujah by members of the US military have gained the attention of some major media outlets (excluding, of course, any of the corporate media outlets in the US).
Back on November 26, 2004, in a story I wrote for the Inter Press Service titled
'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah, refugees from that city described, in detail, various odd weapons used in Fallujah. In addition, they provided detailed descriptions such as "pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the burns."
This was also mentioned in a web log I'd penned nine days before, on November 17, 2004, named
Slash and Burn where one of the descriptions of these same weapons by the same refugee from Fallujah said, "These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt for half an hour. They used these near the train tracks. You could hear these dropped from a large airplane and the bombs were the size of a tank. When anyone touched those fires, their body burned for hours."
On December 9th of 2004 I posted a
gallery of photos, many of which are included in the new RAI television documentary about incendiary weapons having been used in Fallujah.
Like the torture "scandal" of Abu Ghraib that for people in the west didn't become "real" until late April of 2004, Iraqis and journalists in Iraq who engaged in actual reporting knew that US and British forces were torturing Iraqis from nearly the beginning of the occupation, and continue to do so to this day.
All of this makes me wonder how much longer it will take for other atrocities to come to light. Even just discussing Fallujah, there are many we can choose from. While I'm not the only journalist to have reported on these, let me draw your attention to just a few things that I've recorded which took place in Fallujah during the November, 2004 massacre.
In my story
"Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone" published on December 3, 2004 there are many instances of war crimes which will, hopefully, be granted the attention they deserve.
Burhan Fasa'a, an Iraqi journalist who worked for the Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC and who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English.

By the way, the examples above (and others in the rest of the article)? Never reported by Dexter Filkins, the "award winning" Times reporter stationed in the Green Zone. And he was in Falluja. He's an incurious sort of reporter.

Trina e-mails to note Mark Rudd's "Something Happening Here ..." (Common Dreams):

I joined the anti-Vietnam War movement as an 18-year-old college student, a freshman at Columbia University. It was the fall of 1965, just months after the U.S. began sending ground combat troops to Southeast Asia.
The older members of the Columbia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society explained to me that unlike World War II, Vietnam was an imperial war, a war of occupation whose purpose was the repression of a national liberation movement. We were a small group then, but over the next three years SDS became a critical part of a larger antiwar coalition. Our anger mounted, our protests grew and our ranks burgeoned. Unfortunately, we went many bridges too far and got ensnared in the hallucination of revolution. By 1969, it became more important in SDS to fight each other over who had the "correct revolutionary line" than to fight against the war itself. Early the next year, while the war was still raging, my own faction, the Weathermen, made the stupid and ultimately disastrous decision to disband SDS and opt instead for "armed struggle," our middle-class version of urban guerrilla warfare. Predictably, we became isolated and irrelevant over the ensuing years, even as the larger antiwar movement went on to achieve its goal: U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.
I often wonder what would have resulted over the long haul if SDS -- which represented the radical, anti-imperialist wing of the antiwar movement -- had not chosen to self-destruct in violence and fantasy but instead had kept plugging away, encouraging more and more people to understand and oppose the building of an American empire.
This question seems particularly relevant today, 40 years later, as a reawakening antiwar movement prepares to confront many of the same issues. Who benefits and who loses from an American empire? What are the moral and economic and spiritual costs to Americans? Is a system of international law possible as an alternative to endless use of American military power? Viewed against the bleak future that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are offering Americans and the rest of the world, these questions begin to seem more practical than idealistic.
What's hard to understand -- given the revelations about the rush to war, the use of torture and the loss of more than 2,000 soldiers -- is why the antiwar movement isn't further along than it is. Given that President Bush is now talking about Iraq as only one skirmish in an unlimited struggle against a global Islamic enemy, a struggle comparable to the titanic, 40-year Cold War against communism, shouldn't a massive critique of the global war on terrorism already be underway?

Friday, Lynda e-mailed to note something and I wanted to hold it for Monday. It's Joyce Marcel's "Ode To Amy Goodman" (Common Dreams):

O Amy Goodman, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
First, you are the anti-Judith Miller, the discredited New York Times reporter who beat the drums for Bush and Cheney's illegal war, who embedded her journalistic integrity for a chance to play with the big boys. Were they really that big, Judy? Really?
You, Amy Goodman, sneer at the very word "embedded." You treasure journalistic independence. For twenty years, first as news director of WBAI in New York, one of Pacifica Radio's flagship stations, and since 1994 the lovely and formidable one-non-blonde eye at the center of the growing whirlwind of horrible truths that is "Democracy Now!," you have reported news free of corporate underwriting.
"The media should be like a huge kitchen table that stretches across this country, where we discuss life and death, war and peace - and anything less is a disservice to this country," you said at Keene (N.H.) State College this past weekend, to an enthusiastic crowd of over 600 people. "My mission is to make dissent commonplace in this country."
Day after day, "Democracy Now!" reports the news to a growing audience on some 400 non-commercial radio stations, public access stations, on the Dish satellite network and DirecTV (on Link). The show also podcasts on the Web ( so "people around the world can have access to the news from the grassroots level."

Sounds like a wonderful show, no? Which is how we remind everyone to check out Democracy Now! today (read, listen, watch). I never mind adding, "Don't forget to check out Democracy Now! today." But Lynda's highlight allowed us to note a little more.

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