Monday, May 29, 2006

Democracy Now: The hour with Steve Tatham, (British Royal Navy's Media Operations head 11-02 to 5-03)

Today Democracy Now! devoted the hour to a look at the military and media via an interview with Steve Tatham:

Ex-British Navy Spokesperson Steve Tatham on "Losing Arab Hearts and Minds: The Coalition, Al Jazeera and Muslim Public Opinion"
From November 2002 to May 2003, British Lieutenant Commander Steve Tatham was the head of the British Royal Navy's Media Operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf. He served as the British Navy"s spokesperson in the critical months leading up to, during and after the launch of the Iraq invasion. He was responsible for war correspondents embedded with British troops and for responding to the flood of media inquiries during the invasion. He worked alongside U.S. military planners in the Gulf, coordinating the huge media campaign that foreshadowed and accompanied the Iraq war.
Steve Tatham has written a book - published in the US this month - called "Losing Arab Hearts and Minds: The Coalition, Al Jazeera and Muslim Public Opinion." In it, he exposes the US military"s handling of the Arab media and its treatment of journalists from the Arab world, in particular from Al-Jazeera. He says the US military ignored the Arab media and demonized them through repeated accusations of anti-Western bias.

The AFP reports that "[a]t least 52 peoplce" died Monday in Iraq due to bombings and violence.
Journalists who have died are noted in Rhonda's highlight, Robert Verkaik's "British journalists and soldiers killed in attacks in Baghdad and Basra" (Independent of London):

Two British journalists and two British soldiers have been killed in Iraq in one of the bloodiest periods of violence since the start of the conflict. The four men died in two roadside bomb attacks which also left an American woman journalist critically wounded. In seven further bombings across the country, at least 40 Iraqi civilians were killed, and dozens injured.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the dead soldiers were in the Royal Dragoon Guards, attacked on Sunday night during counter-insurgency operations in Basra. They were in an armoured Land Rover in Gizayza, in the north-west of Basra.

Genie notes Krista Larson's "2 CBS team members killed; reporter hurt" (Associated Press):

Cameraman Paul Douglas had spent more than a decade covering the world's hot spots for CBS News. Freelance soundman James Brolan was part of a CBS team honored for its dispatches on the earthquake in Pakistan. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier had reported on the deteriorating situation in
Iraq for nearly three years.

The two British men were killed Monday in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded as they were working on a story about American troops in Iraq on Memorial Day. Douglas, 48, and Brolan, 42, died at the scene, the network said.
[. . .]
Dozier, a 39-year-old American, was in critical condition at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad and underwent two surgeries for injuries from the bombing, said Kelli Edwards, a CBS News spokeswoman. By early Tuesday, doctors had removed shrapnel from Dozier's head but said she had more serious injuries to her lower body, CBS News reported on its Web site.

Turning to the Bully Boy who got the United States into his illegal war, Micah steers us to Jason Leopold's "George W. Bush and Kenneth Lay" (Truthout):

The Bush administration knew Enron was on a collision course two months before the high-flying energy company collapsed in a wave of accounting scandals that wiped out $60 billion in shareholder value and left thousands of company employees penniless.
It was August 15, 2001, when Enron lobbyist Pat Shortridge met with then-White House Economic Adviser Robert McNally, one day after Jeff Skilling made a stunning announcement that he was stepping down as president of Enron.
Shortridge confided in McNally that Enron was headed for a financial meltdown - one that could very well cripple the country's energy markets - and urged the White House economic adviser to alert President Bush about the company's financial problems so he could help put together a federal bailout, according to thousands of pages of documents about the meeting released by the government's Enron Task Force.
It certainly made sense for Enron to seek help from the White House. In August of 2001, Ken Lay was still known as "Kenny Boy" to President Bush, a nickname Bush bestowed upon him when the two men were up and comers in the Texas energy and political industries respectively.

When Bush announced his intention to run for president, Enron and its employees gave more than $1 million to Bush's 2000 election campaign, the Republican Party and the Bush Inaugural, and Bush aides used the Enron corporate jet during the post-election fracas in Florida.
With Thursday's guilty verdicts against Lay and Skilling on numerous counts of accounting fraud, conspiracy, and dozens of other charges, perhaps Enron should be remembered as - in addition to a symbol of greed -- the first in what has become a long list of scandals that can be directly linked to the White House.

And today was Memorial Day. Everyone was supposed to "kick back" (everyone doing sites in the community, so this is just an easy post and one without tags -- I hate tagging). We have two highlights on Memorial Day itself. First, Kevin notes Danny Schechter's "Don't Forget: Memorial Day is About Memory, Not Amnesia" (

We all know, all of us in America anyway, that Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer. It's about the downtime ahead, the vacation that’s coming, the shutting down of the serious in anticipation of fun in the sun.
Officially, it is also about honoring the dead, and there will be parades by veterans and flags flying on TV newscasts. Most of it is set in the present with little referencing of the past or memory itself.
Memories work on us on every level, especially when they slip out of mind. A memory exhibit at the Exploratorium Museum touches on the usual: "You get to school and realize you forgot your lunch at home. You take a test and you can't remember half the answers. You see the new kid who just joined your class, and you can't remember his name. Some days, it seems like your brain is taking a holiday--you can't remember anything!"
But memories are not just individual properties. Societies have memories, or should, and our news world and information technologies could, or should, have the capacity to keep us in touch with our collective memory, our recent history, the only context in which new facts find meaning.

Second highlight is noted by Brenda who steers us to David Lindorff's "A Memorial Mother's Day Note" (This Can't Be Happening):

Memorial Day brought me an angry call form my usually upbeat and cheerful mother, who expressed outrage that the Memorial day celebrations honoring America’s war dead and war heroes rarely if ever mentions the women who served and in some cases died serving their country. We hear about Rosie the Rivetter, but not about Nancy the Navy WAVE.
Well, my mom spent two years during World War II as one of 80,000 Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), mostly based at the Naval Station in New York City.
Like the rest of the women in this group, she wore a Navy uniform, did the jobs that men had done previously--everything from clerical jobs to aircraft mechanic--and like them she got shortchanged when it came to post-war benefits. Where my Marine father qualified for a home loan, a year’s unemployment benefits, and college tuition, my mother got a small lump sum payment and that was it--at least until the American Legion made the government even things out for women...and for African-American vets.

Finally, with more on the Olympia activism from last week, Ron Jacobs' "One, Two, Three Many Olympians" (CounterPunch) -- noted by Mia:

In Olympia, Washington, a small town with a sizable number of citizens that are opposed to Washington DC's wars and other excesses of the imperial state, there have been a number of actions that attempted to prevent the loading of ships that were bound for the battlefields of Iraq. These actions stepped up a notch or two during the week of May 22-28th, 2006. For those of you a little thin on US geography, Olympia is at the southern-most tip of the Puget Sound--the part of the Pacific Ocean that serves the much larger ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Yet, the Port of Olympia does a fair amount of cargo business. Given the close proximity of Fort Lewis, one of the larger US Army bases that is home to the so-called Stryker Brigade, it has become on e of the ports used to keep the troops in Iraq supplied with weaponry and other tools of war, most notably the Stryker Fighting Vehicle itself.
I used to live in Olympia from 1987 until 1992. During that time, we organized several protests and direct actions against the US wars in Central America and the middles East. There were several other radical impulses growing in town at the time, as well. Without delving into those, let it suffice to say that the movement that was built against the first Gulf War in 1991-1992 created enough stability among anti-imperialists and other folks opposed to war to organize a permanent anti-imperial and anti-racist group in the town. That group, known as the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP), dissolved and then reformed after the events of September 11, 2001. OMJP serves as an umbrella for many other groups with parallel philosophies. It is one of these ad hoc groups within OMJP that organized the aforementioned actions. That group calls itself the Port Militarization Resistance (PMR).

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