Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Today, Wednesday, August 9, 2006, violence and chaos continue in Iraq with Allister Bull (Reuters) noting that the central morgue in Baghdad received nearly 2,000 bodies in July while Centcom's announced that a US helicopter crashed Tuesday in the Anbar province ("60 Blackhawk helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircrwaft Wing") which had six crew members of which two are still missing. 
Elsa McLaren (Times of London) reports: "A desperate hunt is under way in Iraq today for two American servicemen whose helicopter crashed inside the 'triangle of death' west of Baghdad."  As the search goes on, an Article 32 hearing concludes into the murders of  Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members with military prosecutor Captain Alex Pickands arguing of the four US troops accused of rape, murder and arson, "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl.  She was young and attractive.  They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol.  She was close.  She was vulnerable."
Speaking with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA's The Morning Show, John Stauber discussed the results of a recent Harris Poll which found 50% of all respondents wrongly believed that Iraq had WMD which is "an increase from 36 prercent in February 2005."  Stauber noted the pre-war coverage (unquestioning) and pre-war propaganda (which never panned out.)  "If voices of authority repeat a huge lie [. . .] that gets people supporting a war [ . . .] then that lie sticks.  And this war was sold to the American public on two huge lies: that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that he was behing 9-11." 
"What is going on here?" wondered Andrea Lewis. Which is a good question. Stauber pointed to Rick Santorum falsely claiming that WMDs were found and Fox "News" and the right-wing echo chamber running with the lie.  Because, not stated, the right-wing will continue to sell this war and peddle lies.  While the coverage of Iraq vanishes from the media (in all its forms) it doesn't vanish from the right-wing echo chamber..  
Note this finding from the poll: "Seventy-two percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (slightly down from February 2004 when 76 percent said this was true)."  Why would poll respondents think that when the UN estimates 100 Iraqis die each day from violent attacks?  Don't they know the reality and status of the 'reconstruction' projects?  No.  They generally don't and when the media decides they need to ALL pick up and go after another story, when the coverage of Iraq is a one-story-a-day thing (New York Times)  or one topic a week (radio, magazines, etc -- once a week when we're lucky -- we're supposed to be grateful for the once a week treatment of an illegal war launched by the US administration) then the problem really isn't the people -- the problem's the media.  One quite proud to pat themselves on the back in every venue and forum but not too interested in focusing on Iraq.
People care about this topic (now more than ever as a CNN poll demonstrates most recently), it's the media that either is bored or just doesn't give a damn.  Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) reported yesterday on the surprise of a returning Iraqi vet who spoke to a group of young adults -- his surprise that they were interested in the topic and interested in his injuries and all the injuries that the press doesn't have time to cover. 
Al Jazeera reports on a mortar attack in Baghdad which "collapsed a three-storey building" and left some worried that "some people were still trapped in the rubble."  Five people are known to have died. Reuters reports three Iraqi police officers dead in Habaniya from a roadside bomb; the death of a civilian in Kirkuk from a roadside bomb; the death of a civilian by a roadside bomb in Baghdad; three civilians wounded by a roadside bomb in Ramadi; and, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb wounded three Iraqi soldiers.  Also CBS and AP note that, in Samarra, a police officer died on Tuesday while attempting "to defuse a roadside bomb" and another police officer was injured in the blast.  Associated Press reports that a US solider was wounded by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad
Pay attention here because you know the New York Times doesn't bother to include shooting fatalities in their 'rounded' daily undercount these daysReuters reports the death of "Army Colonel Qasim Abdul Qadir" in Basra ("on his way to work").  CBS and AP report that Abedl-Qadir was attacked by "gunmen on two motorcycles".  Reuters notes that, in western Baghdad, five civilians were shot dead.
Reuters reports that, in Baghdad, nine corpses were discovered ("killed by gunshots"),  two corpses ("shot in the head and chest") were found in Dour. and, in al-Zab, a behaded corpse was discovered.
In the case of  Abeer Qasim Hamza?    From CNN: "Iraqi authorities have identified the girl who was raped and shot to death as Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Her father, mother and 5-year-old sister were also killed, and the 14-year-old's body was set on fire after she was killed."  The Article 32 hearing has concluded.  CNN reports Alex Pickands (military prosecutor) making his closing argument with the following: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."  As the BBC notes, the Article 32 hearing was to determine whether or not  should be charged with rape, murder and arson.  CNN notes that the deterimination will be made by "investigating officer, Col. Dwight Warren" and that' "Warren's report will likely be at least a few days in coming". 
Ehren Watada is the first known commissioned officer serving in the US military to have refused to deploy to Iraq.  Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports: "The army has rejected 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's offer to resign instead of facing a possible court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq."  The concludes: "[i]t's looking more likely that Honolulu Army Lt. Ehren Watada will be court martialed for refusing to serve in Iraq."  Hoyt Zia (publisher of Hawaii Business Magazine) addresses the case of Ehren Watada with "Having the Courage of Your Convictions."
Kakesako notes: "Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is scheduled to face an Article 32 pretrial hearing at Fort Lewis, Wash., on Aug. 17. That hearing is equivalent to a preliminary hearing in a civilian criminal court, and is expected to last a few days."
The 17th is when the hearing is scheduled to begin.  Remember Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
Cindy Sheehan is in Crawford, TX with Camp Casey.  Why?  As Missy Comley Beattie (OpEdNews)  writes: "Thousands of Iraqis are dying each month.  Coalition troops are perceived not as liberators of grateful Iraqis free at last from the grip of a tyrant.  Instead, we are occupiers and our incursion has unleashed sectarian violence that shows no sign of abating. Life is so bad in Iraq that its citizens long for the days when Saddam Hussein was in power."  For those reasons and many more, Camp Casey III matters.  Alison Sterling Nichols tells Chris Durant (The Times-Standard) that, "There are more people here than there were in the first few days last year."
Today is day 37 of the Troops Home Fast action which will continue until September 21st.  Today, 4, 549 people are taking part from across the world.  Remember you can do a one-day fast, a one-day-a-week fast or longer.  More information is available at Troops Home Fast.
With CNN reporting the results of their latest poll -- "Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in Iraq, the highest number since polling on the subject began with the commencement of the war in March 2003" -- the sea of change on the Iraq war is obvious to all but the Bully Boys and Joe Liebermans
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