This as KUNA reports: "Iraqi Vice-President Tareq Hashimi called on Sunday for the formation of a joint US-Iraqi or a neutral United Nations committee to probe US troops' violations in Iraq."
We noted the above last night. I'm not seeing anything on it in the Times this morning (still reading). Last night, it was the last item in the snapshot so to make sure members note it, we'll make it the top item in this entry.
Molly notes Monica Davey's "In State Races, Tough Questions About Abortion" in today's New York Times:
Mike Blouin, who is running for governor, has been asked that a lot lately, though abortion bans are more typically the purview of presidents who might pick United States Supreme Court nominees or senators who might confirm them. The Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to abortion 33 years ago in Roe v. Wade.
But with South Dakota this year having passed the country's most restrictive state abortion law in decades and a sense among some advocates on both sides of the abortion debate that a changed Supreme Court could one day leave the abortion question in the hands of the states, tough questions about abortion rights are being raised in local races across the country.
Questions about how to regulate or restrict abortion have long been issues in state races. But in campaigns for governor and the Legislature here in Iowa and in numerous other states, many candidates are being asked not only about limits on abortion, but also a far broader, starker question: to outlaw or not to outlaw?
"The State of South Dakota made it an issue," Mr. Blouin said in an interview in the teachers' lounge at Robert Lucas Elementary School after he had met the sixth graders. He is one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination on Tuesday to succeed Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat who has decided not to seek re-election after two terms.
A former congressman who in the 1970's pushed for a federal ban on abortion, Mr. Blouin would have a simpler path if the questions went away. He said that he had "transitioned on this issue" over the years — that although he remained "very strongly anchored as a person who believes in life," he would oppose a ban if one was passed by lawmakers. "I'd veto it in a heartbeat," he said.
Turning back to the middle east, Kara notes Phyllis Bennis' "Olmert Comes to Washington" (Palestine Chronicle):
* Bush capped Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Washington with a cautious endorsement of Israel's plan for annexation of large swathes of Palestinian territory including major settlement blocs and about 80% of Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
* Bush hailed Olmert's "bold moves," but the visit still highlighted a potential divide between U.S. and Israeli approaches, as well as between the White House and Congressional Republicans. * On the ground in the occupied territories, humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate, and desperation and violence are on the rise.
* A new Palestinian initiative raises the possibility of a referendum on accepting a Palestinian state in territory occupied in 1967, implicitly recognizing Israel.
* Bush promised to defend Israel if it is attacked by Iran; Olmert pushed for international action against Iran, and said he and Bush see eye to eye on the Iran crisis.
Ehud Olmert's high-profile visit to Washington succeeded in winning support for his version of the Sharon-initiated plan for a unilateral Israeli move in the West Bank. The plan would remove about 60,000 settlers from dozens of scattered settlements, while annexing huge swathes of land including three major settlement blocs populated by about 160,000 settlers, to Israel. Despite Israeli claims, all the settlements -- the small scattered "outposts" and the huge city-sized suburban-style settlements outside of Jerusalem -- are equally illegal under international law, UN resolutions and the Geneva Conventions.
Back to the topic of Iraq, Martha notes Thomas E. Ricks' "In Haditha Killings, Details Came Slowly: Official Version Is at Odds With Evidence" (Washington Post):
At 5 p.m. Nov. 19, near the end of one of the most violent days the Marine Corps had experienced in the Upper Euphrates Valley, a call went out for trucks to collect the bodies of 24 Iraqi civilians.
The unit that arrived in the farming town of Haditha found babies, women and children shot in the head and chest. An old man in a wheelchair had been shot nine times. A group of girls, ages 1 to 14, lay dead. Everyone had been killed by gunfire, according to death certificates issued later.
The next day, Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, a Marine spokesman in Iraq, released a terse statement: Fifteen Iraqis "were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha. Immediately after the bombing, gunmen attacked the convoy with small arms fire. Iraqi army soldiers and Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another."
Despite what Marine witnesses saw when they arrived, that official version has been allowed to stand for six months. Who lied about the killings, who knew the truth and what, if anything, they did about it are at the core of one of the potentially most embarrassing and damaging events of the Iraq war, one that some say may surpass the detainee abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison.
The Marine Corps is saying only that it would be inappropriate to comment while investigations are underway. But since that Saturday afternoon in November, evidence has been accumulating steadily that the official version was wrong and misleading. The more military investigators learned about what happened that day in Haditha, the more they grew disturbed.
Also on Haditha, Kyle wanted to note a section of Democracy Now!'s "Haditha Massacre: Was it an Isolated Event and Did the Military Try to Cover it Up?" from last Tuesday:
AMY GOODMAN: They see the same people, for example, in Haditha, who came into their homes, the U.S. military, as the ones who are now coming to ask them about it? Are they afraid of being identified as, for example, eyewitnesses that could be used against the military?
NANCY YOUSSEF: Well, I'll tell you, it's like -- when we went to Haditha, we talked to the uncle of one of the families in which everybody was killed but a 13-year-old girl, and he started to tell his story. And in the middle of his story, he paused and looked up at us and said, "Please don't let me say anything that will get me killed by the Americans. My family can't take it anymore." And I think that says it all. I mean, there is a fear to talk about it. There is a fear to challenge the soldiers, particularly after what they've -- if you were directly involved -- what they've gone through.
AMY GOODMAN: Nancy Youssef is Knight Ridder Bureau Chief in Baghdad. Can you tell us the story that this man told you?
NANCY YOUSSEF: Sure. As was mentioned, there were several houses involved that the Marines entered, and this man is the uncle of one of the men, and his house is next door. And basically what happened was the Marines went in and, according to his niece who’s thirteen and who survived, her father went to the door to try to open it, and they heard the commotion, and they shot her father. And the father had separated -- had put the women and children in a separate bedroom. Her mother was recovering from surgery. She was lying in a hospital. Her sisters were surrounding their mother in the arms of their mother, and she said the Marines came in. They shouted something in English. They didn't know how to respond. The shooting started. She fainted. And when she woke up, her family was dead. Everybody was dead.
And all she heard was her three-year-old brother moaning in pain. He was the only one still alive. And she said to him, “Mohammed, get up. Let's go to uncle's house.” And he said, "I can't." And so, she took him and she held him in her arms, and he was bleeding profusely. And she said she held him until he died.
And she called over to her uncle's house next door. Her uncle heard all the commotion inside; of course, didn't know exactly what was happening. They kept trying to get to the house to help his family, and he was stopped by soldiers, he said. And this went on for several hours. And he never knew what happened until his niece showed up at the door and said, "Mohammed, my three-year-old brother, and the family are dead." And he took his niece, and his wife and him, they cleaned her up. They took her and they fled, and they have never been back to their house. AMY GOODMAN: Nancy Youssef, speaking to us from Baghdad, the Bureau Chief for Knight Ridder, went into Haditha to investigate the story.
Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today. Two other things to listen to. First, Micah gives a heads up that WBAI should be broadcasting Law and Disorder this morning (10:00 am EST). Eddie also notes Law and Disorder and advises that Anthony Arnove (IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) will be among today's guests.
Cindy notes this on KPFA today at one p.m. (Pacific Time):
Women's Magazine talks to two organizers of the art show "Interrupted Life: Incarcerated Mothers in the United States," currently showing at New College, Rickie Solinger and Helene Vosters, as well as two formerly incarcerated mothers: Angela Wilson, who now teaches theater in jails and prisons, and Linda Walker, an activist with All of Us or None.
And we talk to organizers of the 5th Annual Statewide Women in the Building Trades and Fire Services conference (in Sacramento on June 10-11, 2006) from the group Tradeswoman Inc. This conference is designed for women to network and get support, as well as to learn how to advance their careers and improve conditions for all women and men who work in the building trades and fire service.
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