Monday, July 03, 2006

Democracy Now: Pete Seeger; Iraq snapshot -- Steven D. Green arrested on rape & murder charges

Democracy Now! devotes the day to Pete Seeger:

We Shall Overcome: An Hour With Legendary Folk Singer & Activist Pete Seeger

Today we spend the hour with the legendary folk singer, banjo player, storyteller and activist Pete Seeger. For over 60 years Pete Seeger has been an American icon.
In the 1940s he performed in the Alamanac Singers with Woody Guthrie as well as the Weavers. In the 1950s he opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch hunt and was almost jailed for refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He helped popularize the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome." In the 1960s he was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War and inspired a generation of protest singers. He was later at the center of the environmental and anti-nuclear movements. At the age of 87, Pete Seeger continues to perform and be politically active.

Iraq snapshot.

Chaos and violence continue. The usual bombings, the usal corpses. The parliament continues to be split into many directions and news is breaking about a United States soldier arrested Friday.

First up, KUNA reports that Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE president (United Arab Emirates), met with Nouri al-Maliki today and "voiced . . . utmost concern on deterioration of security position in Iraq".


Al Jazeera reports a car bomb went off in Mosul and took the lives of at least five today. The AP offers an update with the number of dead climbing to seven and the number of wounded to be at least 28. Reuters reports a home invasion that resulted in the death of "two women and a teenage girl" in Najaf. The Associated Press reports that a market in Mahmoudiya was bombed for the second day in a row ("three people were killed and 22 were wounded"). The AFP reports that, while in Saudi Arabia, al-Maliki was attempting to interest foreign investment and stated, "the majority security concerns are centred on Baghdad but there are plenty of other opportunities elsewhere". Apparently that area doesn't include "northern Iraq" where another bombing attack on the oil pipeline has taken place.


In Mandali, the Associated Press reports, five corpses were found ("bullet-riddled bodies") near "a sanitation plant." In Hawija, Reuters reports the discovery of "a beheaded body."

Developments in the Mahmoudiya incident where four Iraqi civilians died, allegedly at the hands of the US forces, in March continue including the age of one of the alleged victims and the arrest of a US soldier. To recap, one of the four was allegedly raped
and this morning Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) broke the news that the town felt the "woman" was a fifteen-year-old girl who had complained about the 'interest' some US forces had in her. Sandra Lupien noted on today on KPFA's The Morning Show, the military had put the age of the female at 20 years-old when they announced their investigation last week (Friday). Reuters reports that the mayor of Mahmudiya declared today that the woman "was no more than 16 years old when she was killed along with her parents and young sister". Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Asheville, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, "the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death" while, if convicted on the charge of rape, "the maxmium statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison."

In Parliament news, KUNA reports, the Iraqi speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani is visiting Iran "accompanied by heads of parliamentary committees and other figures". This as Reuters reports that members of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front continued their boycott and say they will not return to parliament until Taiseer Najah al-Mashhadani is returned released. al-Mashhadani was kidnapped on Saturday. And, closing out news of Iraq's parliament, the AFP reports that Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the lartest bloc of Shi'ites, has stated that amnesty should incluse "insurgents who may have killed US troops."

In the United States, as the 2006 Congressional races heat up, some feel more heat than usual such as War Hawk Maria Cantwell who is trying to keep her Senate seat but facing very vocal constitutents. The Associated Press notes 64 year-old Joe Colgan ("With all the information that is out now that shows the war was a terrible mistake, she will not admit that her vote was wrong. That's a fairly serious flaw.") and Howard Gale, 51 ("What I would be concerned about if I'm her staff is that in November, a lot of people might be so conflicted, they'll just sit it out."). The article also notes the state party's Democratic chair (War Hawk Cantwell is a Dem): "Dwight Pelz acknowledged that Cantwell's support for the Iraq war is hurting her campaign, turning away volunteers and grass-roots support."

And in peace news, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg, Tammara Rosenlef and Charlie Anderson are suing McLennan County "over roadside camping and parking bans" near Bully Boy's ranchetta in Crawford. The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit was filed on Friday. Cindy Sheehan writing her reflections as the Fourth of July is upon us:

BushCo and the neocon regime embarked on this disastrous misadventure in Iraq to prove to the world how strong and virile Pax Americana is. Their abjectly failed mission, which was evil and corrupt from the beginning, has not proven how strong our nation is, but, on the contrary, how weak. However, the neocons have managed to prove, that how, with the "mightiest" war machine in the world an insurgency in a country smaller than the state of California can hold their false freedom and deadly democracy at bay. One other thing that the neocons have proven is that America is no longer the moral touchstone of the world but is a nation that commits torture and crimes against humanity with the presidential seal of approval. BushCo has destroyed any credibility our nation ever had in the world and all of us need to fight to regain it and thereby redeem our own souls.

And finally, CODEPINK is calling for a day of action tomorrow:

On July 4, we will launch an historic hunger strike called TROOPS HOME FAST in Washington, DC in front of the White House. While many Americans will be expressing their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we'll be fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq. Read an interview with Diane Wilson to learn more. We're inviting people around the world to show their support for this open-ended fast by fasting for at least one day. Please sign here to join us in DC or to support us in your hometown and encourage your friends to do the same.

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