Thursday, March 09, 2006

And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)

Join United For Peace And Justice, and tens of thousands of Americans in calling on U.S. media outlets to do a better job of reporting on the war in Iraq and the anti-war movement protests against it.
As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the nationwide Peace & Justice movement is, for the first time, focusing protests on the Pro-War media slant that has made the war possible.

With public opinion shifting from support for the war to calls for immediate withdrawal, the news media has an obligation to reflect on the role it has played in building a pro-war consensus with false and deceptive reporting. Many media organizations have published “mea-culpas” admitting “mistakes” and “flawed reporting,” but the problem goes deeper and is ongoing.
The coverage remains one-sided and excludes anti-war voices from citizens and anti-war groups all over the world. We need real journalism, not jingoism.
It's Time to Make the US Media Accountable!
Click on the link below to send an email to U.S. media outlets now!
Take Action: Demand Better Coverage

The above is from David DeGraw (Executive "TAKE ACTION: Demand Better Iraq War Coverage." And also has an Anti-War Media Action Page. Iraq? Indymedia? It's Thursday, time for the indymedia roundup.

When it comes to obtaining post-combat mental health services, the infamous "fog of war" appears to be following veterans of the 116th Idaho Army National Guard Combat Brigade Team back home to Idaho. With some experts estimating that up to one out of 10 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional disorders, military officers are emphasizing increasing access to resources for those who need them. But other senior staff, spouses and state officials quietly complain that a key component of that system has been dismantled.
At issue is the procedure whereby returning vets are screened and informed of the services available to them. The first set of troops returning through Fort Lewis, Washington, were all given up to one hour of mandatory mental health assessments, performed by a team of Veterans Center counselors. Then, according to a confidential e-mail sent to Boise Weekly by a concerned public health official, "One person of influence made the in-processing screenings (along with many other important 'stations' to tell folks about their vet benefits) optional instead of mandatory."
These claims were partly backed up by Guard Lt. Col. Heather Taylor, a master's level mental health professional, who said that "approximately 3,000 of our 116th soldiers went through all ... 'Phase III' stations which included an additional Vet Center Brief, a Veteran's Benefits Brief, a Tricare Health Insurance Brief, and a Chaplain's Brief that focused on reunion with family and stress management," but acknowledged that "the only station that was made optional was the 'One-on-One Vet Center sessions' during Phase III. When it was made optional, attendance for that one station dropped off significantly."
The need for these services was elucidated in the confidential e-mail, which noted, "It has been the six month 'honeymoon' period for the National Guard in our area and we have major concerns," referring to the time it often takes before symptoms of PTSD and other mental disorders to surface after demobilization.
The licensed professional also passed on a letter from a northern Idaho clinician who treats returning vets, observing that "The soldiers are experiencing 'post-traumatic stress' due to combat fears, morbidity, near death experiences and adjusting to a completely foreign culture," yet "the soldiers do not want to 'complain' or appear 'weak' about their deployment experience, and it is manifesting itself with anger management problems."
But the concern isn't just outside the Guard. An officer within the 116th told BW that the returning soldiers he had spoken with were "pretty pissed themselves, let alone the people in leadership who thought it was an insane order" to make screening optional.
Another guard member insisted that "there would not be any written documentation about the order given to make the information and screening optional." The member added, "Lots of people out at the Guard are pissed about this too, but can't say anything."

The above is from Peter Wollheim's "We Will Have No Problems" (Boise Weekly) and Sally noted it. Another time of the week and I would've slid it over to Elaine to see if she wanted first crack at it because this is one of the issues she discusses at Like Maria Said Paz but she's off on Thursday so we'll note it here. So it's disgusting but what's the likely motivation? Hide the problem? Cut spending? Just doesn't care about the returning? Something else or a combination of all three (and more)? Regardless, it's disgusting and you don't cut back on a needed program. The "war time" Bully Boy continues to be exposed as far less than a "compassionate conservative."

And to touch on that for a moment, I was asked in an e-mail what the term means? Marketing to make them come off as "compassionate." It's meaningless. But think about it for a moment.
"Fiscal conservative." Whether someone agrees with or disagrees with that label, you can understand what it means. But how self-involved and creepy do you have to be in order to go around dubbing yourself "compassionate"? If you truly are, you certainly don't need to self-identify. More importantly, the fiscal conservatives do have a set of beliefs. The "compassionate" conservatives? Read the above item Sally noted again and see how "compassionate" that strikes you.

Brandon writes that Colin Powell's "'blot' should never go away." And on that topic, he steers us to Ann Wisehart's "The Man Who Knew: Colin Powell's Shameful Leadership" (Santa Barbara Independent):

Former secretary of state Colin Powell is coming to town to give a lecture titled Leadership: Taking Charge. I find this extremely ironic considering that at the moment this country most needed Powell's leadership, the moment we were being bamboozled into a war of aggression in Iraq, Powell chose not to lead but rather to follow, loyally championing the Bush White House’s bogus case for war.
Now we are in deep; it is a disaster, and everything Powell said to the UN and the country has proven false. One would think his reputation would be worthless, yet here he comes, peddling his elder statesmanship for 50 bucks a seat.
I can imagine the scene: After a glowing introduction, Powell steps to the podium to enthusiastic applause, his bloody hands well hidden behind the lectern, while the ghosts of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis swirl about his head unnoticed. I will not attend the lecture, but I will be standing out front, peacefully protesting Powell's gall to show his face in public after what he has done to this country and to Iraq.
Let me take you back to February 2003. We were told the administration had done everything it could to avoid war, though many of us were sure then, and all of us know now, that violent regime change in Iraq had been carefully planned for a long time. The administration sent Powell before the UN Security Council purportedly to get support for a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but the real audience for Powell’s speech was the American public. Its purpose was to engender fear and compliance at home. Powell was chosen to deliver it because he had our trust.
The full text of the speech is easy to find on the Internet. It is a depressing read. At that time, before the worst mistakes were made, before all the horrific carnage, when we might have chosen a better path, we find Powell abandoning all his reservations and telling us we must choose war-- he had the proof. A (trust-me) translation of a (trust-me) intercepted communication -- an obscure satellite image that Powell acknowledged was "hard for the average person to interpret" showing a (trust-me) chemical weapons facility, an artist's rendering of what a mobile bio-weapons lab might look like.

Fifty bucks a seat for Powell. For Powell? As Ava and I noted:

Having dismissed the need for facts, the "reluctant warrior" Powell now wants to weigh in on the invasion/occupation. Powell explains that we can't "cut and run" with regards to Iraq. We have to stay. He offers that "I'm not a quitter" himself -- amidst his stay the course nonsense. All this from the former Secretrary of State.

The "cut and run" Secretary of State getting fifty bucks a rear for telling Americans that we can't . . . "cut and run." By the way, Ava and I aren't the only TV "reviewers" featured in this entry. (No, I'm not joking.)

It's the third anniversary of the invasion/occupation (the illegal invasion/occupation) and there are going to be activies all around the country. If you see something you want noted, e-mail and put "Protest" in the heading so Ava, Jess and I don't miss it. Here's one that Melissa noted,
"Over 100 Grassroots Groups Build March 18 Protests to Mark War's Third Anniversary" (Chicago Indymedia):

More than 100 area peace groups, community organizations and grassroots projects -- the largest local peace coalition since the Vietnam War -- are making a final push to bring out people on Saturday, March 18, for protests to mark the third anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. Actions will include over a dozen morning and early afternoon feeder marches, a 3PM rally at Union Park, and a 7PM march south on Michigan Ave from Oak Street to the Loop. Activists have been working on the day's actions for months, with a particular effort on encouraging participation from local neighborhoods. Peace groups from throughout Illinois, as well as Indiana and Wisconsin, are also mobilizing for M18. The real prize for many protesters is Michigan Avenue, down which antiwar activists will be allowed to legally march for the first time since March 20, 2003. On that day, Chicago cops arrested more than 800 who initially had police permission to return south on Boul Mich from a CPD-approved march on North Lake Shore Drive to oppose the beginning of the Iraq war. ["Where We Stood" documentary Photos] That mass arrest of peaceful protesters [2] -- the largest in the city's history -- marked the end of free speech rights for three years on some of Chicago's most prominent traffic corridors. But lawsuits [2 3 4 5], public hearings and permit application battles over issues of civil liberties and constitutional rights appear to have paid off, and this year the City of Chicago grudgingly granted protesters a permit for the street. Protesters will stage a "Festival of Rights" march starting at 7PM Saturday along the route previously reserved only for an annual police march and the Disney-sponsored commercial holiday "Festival of Lights" parade every November. CIMC Video: Activist Andy Thayer explains the Michigan Avenue permit battle: Windows Quicktime Join Chicago Indymedia as a news contributor for the March 18 antiwar protests.
Text: Got a story, hot tip or personal account you want to share? Post to CIMC's
newswire Photo: Post your photos directly to our media gallery
CIMC Radio: Listen to our live March 18 radio webstream from 10am through 9pm -- and call in at 773-384-8544 to add your voice to our broadcast. Or have your radio station or website rebroadcast our stream.
Email our audio team for more info.
Video: Got a video camera or know somebody who does? Shoot on March 18 -- and we'll work to use that footage for our TV show and our broadcast partners around the country and the world.
Email our video collective to learn more.
Questions? Email -- and see you in the streets on March 18!

Need reasons to get active? How about this? Sunday when Jess and Ty were kind enough to fill in and do the "And the war drags on" entry, 2300 was the fatality count for American troops in Iraq. Today? As this is typed, it's 2306. Is that how it's going to go? We're just going to stay silent and let the numbers add up week after week?

Ellis notes "Three Years and Counting" (The Nation):

On March 19, 2003, without the approval of the United Nations Security Council and against the advice of many of America's closest allies, the Bush Administration launched what has become one of the longest-running wars in US history. Now, on the third anniversary of the start of the war, we are just beginning to feel the full effects of the greatest catastrophe in American foreign policy since the Vietnam War. We are all familiar with the staggering costs in lives and money of the Iraq War: 2,300 Americans killed, more than 16,000 wounded or maimed; about 30,000 direct Iraqi deaths and more than 100,000 attributable to the war; upward of $300 billion in direct war expenditures and close to $1 trillion in estimated total costs.
We are also painfully aware of the longer-term damage to US foreign policy and to our standing in the world. The war has bred a new generation of religious extremists, dangerously heightened sectarian tensions in the Islamic world, strengthened Iran's hand in Iraq and in matters of nuclear diplomacy, and created the most serious threat to the world's oil supply since the OPEC embargo--all the while undermining American authority in the region and straining the US military to the breaking point.
But these facts and figures do not capture the full tragedy that Iraq has become or the horror that may yet befall that country and indeed the region. As recent events make clear, Iraq is now on the verge of a full-scale civil war, which US forces are helpless to prevent and for which they are increasingly blamed by all sides. The blood bath following the bombing of the golden-domed Shiite mosque in Samarra claimed more than 1,400 lives, as angry Shiite mobs attacked Sunni mosques and killed their Sunni neighbors. This outbreak followed months of low-intensity ethnic cleansing in many Iraqi neighborhoods and increasing targeting of Sunnis by Shiite militias, many of them operating under cover of the Interior Ministry and the Iraqi army the United States has been training.

What about this from Democracy Now! today:

50 Kidnapped in Daytime Raid in Baghdad
In Iraq, 50 employees from a Sunni-led private security firm have been kidnapped in Baghdad. The men were abducted during a daytime raid by gunmen wearing police commando uniforms issued by the Interior Ministry. The Shiite-led Interior Ministry has publicly denied it OK'd the raid but the Los Angeles Times reports that sources in the ministry confirmed the gunmen were "commandos with the ministry's major crimes division." The mass kidnapping occurred less than a day after police found 18 bodies in a minibus in a Sunni area of Baghdad. All of the men had been shot or strangled.

Want to know the number of Iraqis killed "execution style"? Again, from Democracy Now!:

Shiites Direct Ministry to Stop Counting Deaths Caused by Militias
Meanwhile the Washington Post is reporting the leading Shiite party in Iraq's governing coalition has directed the Health Ministry to stop tabulating execution-style shootings in order to minimize the number of casualties caused by Shiite militias and death squads. According to the paper, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, ordered government hospitals and morgues to continue cataloging deaths caused by bombings or clashes with insurgents, but not by execution-style shootings.

Mike noted that at his site and here's his commentary on it:

Who else is trying to be like the Bully Boy? The governing Shiites. Don't record deaths and they didn't happen. Hide the bodies from public sight and no one knows. That's not democracy but it is Bully Boy so he's exported his own denial and lies to Iraq.

That is like the Bully Boy to hide it away. We won't know the number anymore. It made some people too nervous. Just like we can't know the actual fatality toll for Iraqis since the invasion began. It gets hidden away, as though actual people don't matter. But they do and your voice matters so use it this month. Repeatedly. Otherwise? Sing the song:

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Melissa also noted "Infiltration Alert: FBI Spying at DePaul" (Chicago Indymedia):

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent
Jen Rettig, a member of the Chicago Terrorism Task Force, recently contacted a DePaul student, asking the student to infiltrate "animal rights groups" and report on their activities to the FBI. The Student stated that after her parents told her it would be akin to snitching, she declined. Rettig's sister is a professor at DePaul. The FBI has declared all out war on animal rights and environmental groups, declaring such non-violent groups as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, "the number one domestic terrorist threat to the United States." Recently informants (such as this woman) helped the FBI raid several progressive spaces (such as the Catalyst Infoshop in Prescott, AZ) and arrest suspected activists. We would like to remind everyone of their rights. If you are approached by an FBI agent, you do not have to talk to them. You can simply say, "I have nothing to say to you and would like to speak to a lawyer." Get their contact information if you can, but do not give them yours. Remember, snitching is never acceptable. Read the full article here.

Some might see the above as reason not to take part. I think it's all the more reason to get active. The government (NSA, FBI, Defense Dept., et al) is spying on citizens anyway. Don't let it intimidate you. They work for us, not the other way around. Though they seem to think that. But they've often thought that.

Here's a flashback to the kind of "serious" intel they went after in the Nixon era. This is from the March 2006 Harper's Magazine. It's long and we'll quote from the government record in full because that should be public domain. I'd love to include their intro paragraph but since we're borrowing the public record, we'll leave it at that. Did you know that the FBI fancied itself a TV critic? It did. It watched the March 8, 1971 broadcast of Laugh-In. Here's their evaluation:

A skit concerning the FBI was performed. It was introduced by a shorter skit representing a President and First Lady sitting in the White House chatting. Between them was a large vase of flowers. When their converation turned to the the Director [FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover], it was made obvious that one of the flowers was actually a bugging device and the President spoke directly to Mr. Hoover by means of this device.
The longer skit was unified by means of a production-type number consisting of cheerleaders, complete with sweaters emblazoned with "FBI," who sang a "fight song" pertaining to the FBI. This "song," satirical in nature, was interrupted by various minor skits and short gag situations, all bearing on the FBI.
A great deal of what was purported to be humor related to the Director and his age. For example, the statement, "I don't believe that just because the Director of the FBI is named Hoover that there has been a vacuum in that Department for years." A particularly vicious attack was made by means of a knock-knock joke in which the answer to "Who is there?" is "Hoover." In reply to the question "Hoover who?" a play on words is made in the statement: "Hoover heard of a seventy-six-year-old policeman?" Another sick-type joke pertaining to the Director was an announcement that "J. Edgar Hoover retired one half-hour ago but will be back at his desk first thing in the morning."
Although jokes and sight gags were made in rapid fashion, emphasis was placed on surveillance-type activities and clandestine-type operations. In one minor skit, two Agents were portrayed meeting and being extremely guarded in their conversation with each other, with each trying to elict information from the other.
All in all, this skit pertaining to the FBI was rather typical of the poor fare that is served on this so-called laugh show, a show that has gained some considerable notoriety by its risque jokes and irreverent satirical attacks. Tasteless, sometimes downright vicious jokes and a great deal of forced humor add up to a more telling commentary on this low-grade show itself than on the FBI.

First, where's the FBI review of Room 222? Second, was this review written by Agent Prude or Agent Suck Up? Sounds like the voice of someone who'd go on to pen a poorly selling book comparing the world to soccer. Don't knock the mock. It obviously got to Hoover. Again, that's from the March issue of Harper's which features Lewis Lapham's "The Case For Impeachment" and much more.

On the FBI and spying, here's our second song selection for this entry:

Stay flat, don't rat -- what's a proletariat?
Stalin was a Democrat -- Washington is where it's at
Every politician is a sewer of ambition
Hide me, hide you -- better hide the baby too
We demand an interview
How long have you been a Jew
We can make you testify
Freedom is no alibi
-- "God & the FBI" words and music by Janis Ian from the album god & the fbi

Remember that you need to let Gina and Krista know which songs you're interested in so that they can have the poll for next month's lyrics excerpts. They'll have the poll of nominations in next Friday's (not tomorrow, Friday after) the gina & krista round-robin. We'll go with the top four each month.

"God & the FBI" leads us to Zach's highlight, "Fighting secrecy, from here to DC" (San Francisco Bay Guardian):

It's been a banner year for secrecy. President George W. Bush has condoned a stunning level of covert domestic spying, including warrantless wiretaps. Vice President Dick Cheney shot a hunting buddy, then didn't tell the press or public for 24 hours. The nation's top archivist has had to speak out to demand an end to the quiet "reclassification" of tens of thousands of pages of formerly public records.
In fact, as Steven T. Jones, A.C. Thompson, and G.W. Schulz report on page 15, under Bush and his Justice Department, the federal Freedom of Information Act, the landmark law that kick-started the open-government movement four decades ago, has been eviscerated to the point where it's barely even functioning.
The result: It takes a mighty battle, often involving considerable legal expense, to gain access to information that ought to be provided to the press and public as a matter of course. An example: The Guardian and the American Civil Liberties Union have requested access to federal records showing when and how federal agents spied on student organizations at UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz. The Bush administration almost immediately rejected a central claim -- that the matter had immediate public interest and should be expedited -- which could allow a delay of a year or more before anyone in Washington, DC, responds to the request. (With the help of cooperating attorney Amitai Schwartz, we are appealing that ruling.)
But the open-government forces are fighting back with energy and organization that we haven't seen in years. The Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, based in Washington, is pushing a major FOIA reform bill, along with other bills that would crack some holes in the administration's brick wall of secrecy. The key bills are S 394 and HR 867, House and Senate versions of the Open Government Act, which would substantially improve the Freedom of Information Act by slowing delays, creating an ombudsperson to mediate disputes, and requiring an impact statement whenever Congress tries to carve out new exceptions to the law. The bills, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) are now in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and support for the bills (which the Bush administration will almost certainly oppose) should be a major issue in the midterm congressional elections. For more information, go to

Portland passes on information about events in his area (close to it) via "News" (Eugene Weekly):

March 18 is the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and so far U.S. deaths are tallied at 2,300, U.S. injuries surpass 16,650, and Iraqi civilian deaths number between 28,800 and 32,500. To observe the anniversary, a coalition of local progressive groups is mobilizing a rally, teach-in and gathering the day of the anniversary.
The anniversary coincides with the appearance in Eugene of liberal talk show icon Ed Shultz March 17. Shultz is expected to join in several local events in addition to hosting his nationwide show on KOPT, the local Air America affiliate.
The theme of the March 18 event is "Take Back our America." People will gather at three locations at 10:30 am: Alton Baker Park near the Bike Bridge, Lane County Fairgrounds, and the EMU on the UO campus. Starting at 11 am, the three marches will converge on the Federal Building on 7th at noon for a rally. Starting at 2 pm will be a teach-in with workshops at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 13th and Pearl. And from 6 to 8 pm will be a social gathering at Cozmic Pizza, 8th and Charnelton.
Speakers during the day are expected to include Carmen Urbina, Mayor Kitty Piercy, Rep. Paul Holvey, Hope Marston, Jan Spencer, Dwight Sowers, Iana Mathews-Harris, Gretchen Miller and a "surprise national speaker."
For more information, contact Michael Carrigan, Community Alliance of Lane County, 485-1755 or
Following the Saturday events, a smaller group is planning to conduct civil disobedience actions at three locations on Monday, March 20. They will be "demanding an end to funding for the war while openly and nonviolently breaking the law," says Peter Chaberek. The group plans to hang several very large anti-war banners from prominent downtown buildings early that morning.
A civil disobedience training is planned for the day before, March 19. For information, contact Chabarek at

??? notes this on a story we've been paying attention to, "Update on Homeland Security Sticker Hassle" (Boise Weekly):

On February 16, we reported on an incident wherein Dwight Scarbrough, a local federal employee, veteran and longtime peace activist, was shaken down and shook up by a pair of Homeland Security Agents who didn't like the look of Scarbrough's antiwar bumperstickers (BW, Feature, February 16, "Red State, Meet Police State"). The agents said Scarbrough's stickers violated regulations prohibiting the posting of signs on federal property, and threatened to cite him if he did not remove them or move his car. Scarbrough replied that his car, his stickers and his opinions were all protected by the Hatch Act, a federal statute establishing the personal rights of all federal employees, but he moved his car to another parking lot regardless. In the ensuing weeks, both a whole lot and a whole lot of nothing has happened in the case.
On the "nothing" front, Scarbrough has continued to park in the same spot, with the same stickers on his truck. He's even added another prominent message to his tailgate, reading "Help save America in 2006. Stop the lies, stop the spying, stop the dying. Impeach Bush and Cheney" in 4-inch high letters. But while Scarbrough may seem to be asking for trouble, he told BW he hasn't had any more run-ins with federal agents.
Scarbrough's attorney, Michael Bartlett of the local firm Nevin, Benjamin and McKay, said of the lack of additional action, "Hopefully, that's some indication that they simply had made a mistake."

Eric advises us on protests in Arkansas via Aaron Thomason's "M11: Bring The Troops Home! Anti-War March and Rally" (Arkansas IMC):

Local community members, the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology, and several other organizations are organizing an anti-war march and rally in Fayetteville on March 11th. They are calling the event "M11: Bring The Troops Home!". Arkansas resident, Barbara Porchia, a mother whose son died in Iraq will be the featured speaker at the rally.
The following is a statement from Barbara Porchia:

"As I think of my son and continue to watch and listen to the news daily, it is a constant reminder that we are losing our loved ones in a war to bring democracy to another country.We were led to war for WMD, imminent threat and connection to 911. Now , our president is saying we need to bring democracy to Iraq. I feel we as Americans need to continue to open our eyes and say enough is enough. It is time that we bring our soldiers home. We must remember these proud young men and women volunteered to serve, honor, and protect THIS country. This is not what they are doing.I stand behind these young men and women even after losing my son. I understand he was a part of them. We as Americans must understand that these soldiers cannot and will not speak against their commander in chief. That is not their job. They will perform all duties asked of them regardless of how their hearts truly feel. For after all this is their commander in chief. This is where America comes in and understands that it is our job to speak out for them. I pray that we will unite regardless of political party, for after all this is not about parties. This is about right vs. wrong. We need to come together and say enough is enough. We need to push this administration harder and tell them we will not continue to allow this to happen to our soldiers. Bring OUR soldiers home."
An interview with Barbara Porchia by Intervention Magazine can be found here.
Those wishing to march should meet at 1:30 PM in the parking lot across from the Walton Arts Center on the corner of Dickson and West Streets. From there, the march will proceed down Dickson Street to College Avenue and on to the Fayetteville Square where the march will end, and the rally will begin. As noted earlier, Barabara Porchia will be the featured speaker. The rally will be interspersed with spearker, live music, and poetry.
The organizers of M11 list the following as their Points Of Unity for the event:
1. Bring the U.S. troops home
2. Iraqi sovereignty must be reestablished immediately.
3. The Iraqi people, not foreigners, should make the decisions about the future of their country, including security. Iraqis should decide the structure of their economy and control Iraq's reconstruction. The corporate invasion of Iraq must be ended and the privatizations laws passed under the occupation repealed.
4. The United States should pay for the reconstruction of and reparations to Iraq, in accordance with international law.
The M11 website can be found at
You can also download the following handbills and posters to print and distribute.

Cindy notes Molly Ivin's "The Progress Myth in Iraq" (Truthdig via Common Dreams) where Ivins takes on Operation Happy Talk:

It was such a relief to me to learn we are making "very, very good progress" in Iraq. As the third anniversary of our invasion approaches, I could not have been more thrilled by the news reported by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a Sunday chat show. Vice President Dick Cheney's take was equally reassuring: Things are "improving steadily" in Iraq.
I was thrilled--very, very good progress and steady improvement, isn't that grand? Wake me if anything starts to go wrong. Like someone bombing the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra and touching off a lot of sectarian violence.
I was also relieved to learn--via Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, so noted for his consistently accurate assessment of this war--that the whole picture is hunky-dory to tickety-boo. Since the bombing of the mosque, lots of alarmists have reported that Iraq is devolving or might be collapsing into civil war. They're sort of jumping over the civil war line and back again--yep, it's started; nope, it hasn't--like a bunch of false starts at the beginning of a football play.
I'm sure glad to get the straight skinny from Ol' Rumsfeld, who has been in Iraq many times himself for the typical in-country experience. Like many foreign correspondents, Rumsfeld roams the streets alone, talking to any chance-met Iraqi in his fluent Arabic, so of course he knows best.
"From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation," Rumsfeld said. "We do know, of course, that al-Qaida has media committees. We do know they teach people exactly how to try to manipulate the media. They do this regularly. We see the intelligence that reports on their meetings. Now I can't take a string and tie it to a news report and then trace it back to an al-Qaida media committee meeting. I am not able to do that at all."
No horsepoop? Then can I ask a question: If you're able to monitor these media committee meetings, how come you can't find Osama bin Ladin?

Lewis notes Peter Koch's "Brave Hart" (Buffalo's Art Voice):

Sergeant Patrick Hart spoke calmly into the receiver. "Honey, I'm not coming home," he told his wife, Jill. "It's okay, I'm with friends. I'll contact you in a few days." And then he hung up the phone.
Jill Hart sat dumbfounded in the couple's Fort Campbell, Kentucky home, knowing she was supposed to pick up Pat from the Clarksburg Greyhound station later that day. He’s such a practical joker, she thought after a while, he's probably coming home early to surprise me with Ozzfest tickets or something like that.
But Pat Hart wasn't joking, and he didn't come home, not that night or the next. As it turned out, he was 800 miles away, in another country, where in two days he would officially be AWOL from the United States Army.
Four days earlier, on a Thursday, Pat had boarded a bus for Buffalo, his hometown, where his parents still live. He was on a four-day pass, his "last little fling" up in Buffalo before deploying to Iraq. He planned to see a Bills preseason game with his parents, Jim and Paula--"To see if J.P. Losman is the real deal or not," he told his company commander--and to visit the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. But Pat had other plans in Toronto, too. Unbeknownst to anyone save his parents, the nine-and-a-half-year veteran was considering deserting the Army and claiming refugee status in Canada.
Pat doesn't look like one might expect, or at least he didn't look like I expected him to. When I visited the Harts in Toronto on a misty gray Thursday last month, I was expecting a thin, tightly wound, clean-shaven guy with a high, short crew cut. Though he still has the bulldog build of a career soldier and an Army crew cut that's growing in, Pat has allowed his goatee to grow long and bushy, and he wears a Nike t-shirt that exposes his heavily tattooed arms--everything from an anarchy symbol to Jill's name. As he told me the story of how he and Jill and their three-year-old son, Rian, ended up in Toronto, he smokes cigarettes like a chimney, sometimes setting the ashtray right on his lap. He and Jill are good storytellers--honest, clear and plainspoken--often finishing each other's sentences, quirky details and irregularities cropping up here and there. What they say is both significant and relevant in our war-weary times.

We'll close with Pru's highlight, "Global anti-war protests" (Great Britain's The Socialist Worker):

The London anti-war demonstration on 18 March will be one of a series of events taking place across the world.
Around 200 protests are already organised around this date. They include:
Johannesburg, Omdurman, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Latin America
Caracas, Managua, San Juan, Santiago, São Paulo, Tijuana-San Francisco.
Adelaide, Armidale, Brisbane, Jakarta, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington.
AsiaAdana, Ankara, Baghdad, Basra, Bangkok, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Tokyo.
Aalborg, Aarhus, Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Duisburg, Geneva, Gijón, Göteborg, Helsinki, Istanbul, Lisboa, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, Malmö, Nicosia, Odense, Oslo, Reykjavik, Rome, Rotterdam, San Sebastián-Donostia, Stockholm, Tarragona, Trabzon, Warsaw, Vienna.
North America
Albuquerque, Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Bangor, Battle Creek, Bemidji, Berkley, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington, Calgary, Camden, Chattanooga, Chicago, Chico, Colorado Springs, Covington, Dallas, Davenport, Denver, Detroit, Eau Claire, Edmonton, El Centro, Evergreen, Fayetteville, Fort Collins, Fresno, Gainesville, Galveston, Grand Rapids, Halifax, Hartford, Highland Park, Houston, Indianapolis, Irvine, Janesville, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Kent, Ohio, Lake Helen, Lansing, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Melbourne, Florida, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile-New Orleans, Mocksville, Montreal, Mountain View, Naples, New Bedford, New Haven, New York, Oklahoma, Orange, Ossining, Ottawa, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, Quebec City, Roxbury, Salisbury, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sarasota, Seattle, South Portland, Southold, Stevens Point, Tallahassee, Toronto, Tucson, Vancouver, Victoria, Washington DC, Windsor, Winnipeg.
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