Monday, July 10, 2006

Other Items (Robert Scheer on Democracy Now! today)

According to military officials and court documents, the soldiers entered the family's home, took the girl to another room and raped her. They then reportedly shot her and killed her mother, father and 7-year-old sister and tried to set a fire to cover up the crimes. The killings were initially reported as an insurgent attack.
Court documents said the soldiers had previously seen the girl from a roadside checkpoint they manned near the home, and a neighbor said her family had grown concerned that she could become a target.
The incident was the latest in a series of recent accusations against U.S. forces involving unarmed Iraqi civilians, including the alleged shooting deaths of 24 people in the western town of Haditha in November. The military initially reported those deaths as having been caused by a roadside bomb attack that also killed a Marine.
But a Time magazine report in March disclosed that the civilians died of gunshot wounds and that U.S. forces were responsible.

Martha noted the above from Jonathan Finer and Joshua Partlow's "Four More GIs Charged With Rape, Murder: Fifth Soldier in Iraq Accused of Dereliction of Duty for Failing to Report Incident" (Washington Post). We'll team that with an excerpt from Ari Berman's "Recruiting Hatred" (The Notion, The Nation) noted by Joan:

Soldiers in Iraq are being charged with rape, premeditated murder and cold-blooded massacres. Troops with severe mental illness are being sent back into battle. And the Army keeps lowering recruiting standards, roping in high-school drop-outs and now, skinheads and neo-Nazis.
According to a shocking new report by the
Southern Poverty Law Center, neo-Nazis and skinheads are infiltrating the military, perhaps in the thousands, as a result of lax recruiting enforcement.

Sabrina Tavernise and Qais Mizher contribute a report in the New York Times that we're not excerpting from. There are pockets of calm in Iraq. And though not concerned with 'balance' the way the Times is, I'd be happy to note an article about those areas. Provided it wasn't insulting. I called a friend who teaches Middle Eastern Studies to make sure I wasn't reading something no one else would into the the report. He saw it as an insulting article as well and added it "oversimplifies and undersimplifies all at once." So no link, no excerpt.

The fact that there are (and have been) pockets of calm is not a suprise. Is it news? Some would argue "no." With that in mind, Billie notes Arianna Huffington's "Powell on Iraq, Couric on Her CBS Plans, Ephron on Dating a Supreme, and Other Highlights From the Aspen Ideas Festival" (The Huffington Post):

In between panels, I ran into Colin Powell and asked him if we are ever going to get out of Iraq. "We are," he told me, "but we're not going to leave behind anything we like because we are in the middle of a civil war." Powell and Jack Murtha both talking about civil war in Iraq -- shouldn't that be headline news?
The week featured panels that
ran the topical gamut -- touching on everything from TV to Terrorism to Spiritual Transformation. But the overarching theme was a multilayered discussion of all things media -- from looks at the Old Media ("The Future of the Printed Word") to examinations of the New Media ("Consuming the New Media").
As I was making the rounds of these media panels, there was one constant: at some point someone in the audience or on a panel would, without fail, raise the old canard about the supposed inaccuracy of the blogosphere. "We still need a place," some plaintive soul would inevitably say, "where we can go that we can count on for its accuracy." I would nod understandingly and say, Yes, someplace like the front page of the New York Times... or all the other homes to the tragic, above-the-fold inaccuracies reported by the MSM that misled us to war.

Closing out the excerpts, Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Instructor’s Job Threatened over 9/11 Comments" (McCarthyism Watch, The Progressive):

Kevin Barrett is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on occasion. But after he talked about his 9/11 views on radio recently, a state legislator called for his immediate firing, and the governor of Wisconsin called into question his fitness to teach.
Barrett, who has been a lecturer in Arabic language and in folklore, is scheduled to be a lecturer in Islamic studies in the fall. During that class, he was planning on discussing differing views of what happened on 9/11. Barrett has strong feelings on the subject. As he said on the radio show, he believes it was "an inside job."
So he may not get to teach that course.
The controversy began with an interview on June 28 on WTMJ, a popular rightwing talk radio station in Milwaukee.
Barrett, the coordinator of a group called Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth and a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, was asked to come on Jessica McBride's show.
"She called me up and asked me to talk about my activism and was curious about my teaching job and asked for a copy of the syllabus for my fall course, which I proceeded to give her," he tells me. "When I got on her show, I was kind of surprised to hear her introduction. She introduced me as 'Wisconsin's Ward Churchill,' with ideas even worse than Ward Churchill."
During the interview, Barrett said "9/11 is an inside job," and "Vice President Cheney is my prime suspect." He defended many of the claims of the 9/11 conspiracy crowd. He talked about what he called the suspicious collapse not only of the twin towers but of a nearby building. He said there was "very little evidence that foreign terrorists flew planes into buildings," and that "11 of the 19" suspected hijackers are "still alive." He referred to the event as the "9/11 coup d'etat."
McBride asked him about his discussions in class on this subject. "I don't try to inflict my own ideas on the students," Barrett said. The very next day, Republican State Representative Steve Nass called for Barrett to be summarily fired.

Zach notes the following on KPFA today (all times given are PST):

The Morning Show
7:00 am
FCC sets new rules and increases fines from $32,500 to $325,000; discussed with John Crigler, Pacifica FCC attorney and partner in Garvey, Schubert & Barer.Interview with Maise Chin, Executive Director of CADRE, a grassroots organization advocating for the rights of students & parents in the South Los Angeles region of the
Los Angeles Unified School District.Discussion of North Korea missile tests and the US and UN hypocrisy with Alice Slater, President of the GRACE Policy Institute (Global Research Action Center for the Environment).Karen Maezen Miller, author of "Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood" and Opal Palmer-Asida on parenting.
Against the Grain
12:00 pm
Monica Ali has followed up her first, highly-acclaimed novel "Brick Lane" with a new book, entitled "Alentejo Blue". And Thomas Gibbons discusses "Permanent Collection," a play he's written about art and race that's currently on stage at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley.

And remember the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now! is:

Award-winning journalist Robert Scheer on his new book, "Playing President: My Close Encounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan, and Clinton - and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush"

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