Saturday, August 12, 2006

NYT: Glanz hits hard, Cave kisses the boo-boos

Beth Karlson got another meeting with Bully Boy. Her son died in 2003 (Warren Hansen) serving in Iraq. Repeat meetings are more likely if you're someone who insults Cindy Sheehan repeatedly (and pens little statements like: "Why does Mrs. Sheehan think she deserves to speak with him [Bully Boy] again?") She's giddy that Bully Boy held her hand for twenty minutes and, while it may beat serving up meat loaf to hungry students, it doesn't bring her son back. She's giddy over the fact that any day now, she'll be getting some answers about his 2003 death -- the answers, like good news of the war, are apparently just around the corner.

Her primary Operation Happy Talk talking point has been to ask the rhetorical question of how many presidents do you know of that met with families of the fallen? She's now added an answer now: "None that I know of."

When you work in school setting you should probably educate yourself. Or has the Bully Boy's success at flaunting ignorance made many want to play dumb & stupid?

Karlson's pimping hard for her Bully Boy and all giddy that she's learned (since 2005) that two helicopters crashed because of evasive measures. Apparently she missed the press coverage of the crash in real time because that detail was reported then. (Or maybe when the US military spokespeople cleaned up reality with their own statements, she was taken in?)

It's an AP article and if you haven't seen it yet, wait, it will come to you. That's how Operation Happy Talk works. When it does, you'll note that the report presents as though this was her first meeting with the Bully Boy. Guess the who-does-Cindy-think-she-is-to-rate-a-second-meeting line got dropped so she could push her "None that I know of." Operation Happy Talk thrives on flaunting ignorance.

Reality is the someone died almost three years ago and Bully Boy could have gotten her the Army's report some time ago. We'll note "Soldier was killed by troops he trained" from Palo Alto News because the AP forgets to note the struggle it takes to get basic truths from this administration:

Army Spc. Patrick Ryan McCaffrey gave up his job at a Palo Alto body shop to join the Army out of patriotism, and was killed in action in Iraq on June 22, 2004.
Almost two years to the day later, the government is now reporting that McCaffrey was killed by Iraqi soldiers he and other Americans had helped train, several news outlets reported today. The initial report was that he had been killed by insurgents during a night patrol.
High-level American officers are scheduled to visit his mother, Nadia McCaffrey, at her home in Tracy today.

2600 plus American troops have died in Iraq -- where was the coverage the last few weeks? Big media broke some stories, independent media provided non-stop discussions of another region.
Week after week because apparently we can only follow one topic. (Or they think we can.)

Folding Star e-mailed (long term members will remember that Folding Star used to run the website A Winding Road) to share thoughts on the lack of coverage from independent media:

It's ridiculous that any news organization has to be shamed into covering whats going on in Iraq, let alone a non-mainstream one. I hate this stupid media bandwagon where it always has to be ONE story all the time, like nothing else is going on in the world. Most people are probably so used to it from mainstream media that now that they don't even notice it even when they see it from the left, which is a big problem.
With things detioriating in Iraq on a daily basis (as the report you mention from Cockburn clearly should be indicating to the media) they're treating Iraq like it's yesterday's news, nothing to see, move it along.
They're enabling the war to continue just as much as the mainstream media and it's disgusting.

Folding Star's referring to Tuesday's snapshot and you can read the Patrick Cockburn article by clicking here.

a chill that bends
this i swear
you're the fiercest
calm i've been in
try infrared
this i swear
you're the fiercest
calm i've been in
-- "Concertina," written by Tori Amos off her double disc album To Venus and Back

The fiercest calm I've been in? We're into the New York Times now and both articles on Iraq appear on A6. Edward Wong notes of the Green Zone:

The four-square-mile Green Zone protected by layers of concrete blast walls and concertina wire on the west bank of the Tigris River here, encloses baroque palaces built by Saddam Hussein that now house the seat of the Iraqi government and the American Embassy.
[. . .]
Western security advisers confirmed Friday that there have been a recent spate of mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone, known to some as the International Zone. It is unclear whether anyone was wounded or killed by the strikes. A spokesman for the American military, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, declined to give details.
"We aren't interested in discussing attacks on the International Zone, their effectiveness or who may be responsible," he said in an e-mail message.

Of course they aren't. If the Israeli government hadn't decided to Bully-Up, it would be one of the more noted events of the summer. (We've noted it here repeatedly and didn't need "security advisers" to do so.) Even with the 'crackdown' and the beefed up on 'roids version 2.0 of the crackdown, it's still a story.

Also in the Times is James Glanz' "An Audit Sharply Criticizes Iraq's Bookkeeping" which has the most e-mail from members. Everyone loves the opening:

An audit by the international accounting firm Ernst & Young portrays Iraq as a country that cannot keep its book straight, where elementary accounting errors of up to a billion dollars are routine and where no one can say how much of the country's oil revenues end up in government coffers.

After that, as Brandon notes in his e-mail, "My mind reels." Not suprising when you're dealing with those dollar amounts. Ernst & Young audited the books and found that deposits are not being tracked properly (leading to some questionable records) and that there is conflict from reports of what amount of oil was pumped from the ground (at the source) and what amount was recorded on the books. Think of this as an inspection that again found failure and, if you get lost in the numbers, take the first paragraph (noted above) and pair it with the last:

The findings echoed those of an earlier audit of the 2004 oil revenues indicating that few reforms had been made in the interim. "The audit reports continue to be critical of the financial and accounting control systems in place," the [United Nations auditing] board said.

When zeroes pile up (after a number), it can be hard to relate to. If you got lost (or squashed) by the zeroes, just focus on the main points (summed up in the opening and conclusion). (There's a paragraph that Jim and I have marked for possible highlighting at The Third Estate Sunday Review. It's the only one that no member's e-mail has commented on but it's making a point that should be noted.) So if you're one of the ones e-mailing about how you've read through the article several times, go to the first and last paragraph. You've got Glanz' report in them. If you're shutting down due to the amounts and want to wade through further, after you review the first and last paragraph, grab paragraphs at random and put it together slowly. Once you've got the main points, the details will fall into place. (Not every member noting Glanz' article wrote to say their minds reeled but enough did to note this. Use it for future articles where the zeroes pile up -- if you're trying to follow the dollar amounts.)

Damien Cave offers "Ex-Iraqi Electricity Chief Named in Graft Inquiry:"

The former Iraqi minister of electricity and several other former ministers and government officials have been charged with corruption or ordered to appear before prosecutors, Iraqi officials announced Saturday, the newest developments in an investigation under way for two years.

Erika notes Glanz' article (in today's paper) and Cave's (online) while wondering whether the latter article on charges are an attempt to distract from the UN audit? Erika, you don't want to make Fool to Cry cry, do you? One report clearly embarrasses the (illegal) occupation (the one by Glanz), the other offers a quick fix. Surely it just happened. We shouldn't doubt our brave Green Zoners, in fact, some would argue they're beyond criticism. No, Erika, I wouldn't argue that and I agree with all the points in your e-mail. The sarcasm was aimed at one person in particular. As for Cave's wonderful writing, it is so wonderful of him to report exactly what he's told. He's doing such an amazing job, isn't he? Aren't we all knocked out by Fool to Cry? It's been an "aggressive" investigation, Fool to Cry tells us and, hopefully, when he leaves the Green Zone, he can write a book about how aggressively federal authorities pursued the Enron case as well. Shining a light where the spokespeople tell him, Fool to Cry is his own lesson in . . . bravery?

Lynda notes "Sheehan Taken To Emergency Room" (KWTX and KTXL via Truthout):

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was being treated Friday evening in the emergency room of Providence Health Center in Waco.
Sheehan, who has been on a liquids-only diet for 37 days as part of a fast in protest of the war, was described as being gaunt and pale as she arrived at the hospital.

[. . .]
Sheehan, who has been on a liquid diet as part of the nationwide "Troops Home Fast" hunger strike, had been treated and released from a Seattle emergency room Thursday night. On doctors orders, she ate for the first time in about 37 days, Burns said.

And KeShawn notes David Swason's "AWOL War Resister Sergeant to Turn Himself in Today" (After Downing Street via Truth Out):

Ricky Clousing, a Sergeant in the US Army, and a veteran of the Iraq War who has been AWOL for a year announced today at the Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle that he will turn himself in later today at the gates of Fort Lewis and face whatever punishment the military chooses to impose.
Clousing said he did not apply for conscientious objector status because he is not certain he would oppose every possible war, such as one fought in self-defense. He said he has spent the past year trying to figure out how to turn himself in, that the military has refused to comment on his status and that he is now choosing to force them to deal with it.
Clousing spoke at a press conference on the campus of the University of Washington. Many supporters of his stand made brief remarks before he spoke. Clousing said he served in Baghdad and Mosul as an interrogator, and that this meant he spoke to Iraqi civilians every day and learned what they thought about the war. Clousing said he witnessed the routine incarceration of civilians with no basis and no ability to contact their families. He spoke in particular of four brothers, the youngest aged 12, locked up for three to four weeks. Physical abuse of civilians and the killing of one Iraqi civilian were among the crimes Clousing said he witnessed.

Links to more reporting on Ricky Clousing are in Friday's snaphsot. And remember that Ehren Watada faces an article 32 hearing on August 17th which is next Thursday. Courage to Resist and are organizing and trying to get the word out for "a National Day of Education" on August 16th.

Closing with some of the reported events in Iraq today. Two US soldiers dead in Baghdad from a roadside bomb (bringing the AP count to 2600). Bombings: AP notes two Iraqis dead when a bomb exploded at a CD shop in Basra. [AFP: "In Basra, Iraq's second largest city, suspected Islamic extremists opposed to Western forms of popular entertainment left a bomb in a shop selling videos and cassette tapes, killing two civilians, according to police." Reuters: "Three die in bomb blast in southern city of Basra, 550 km (340 miles) south of Baghdad, police sources said. Iraqiya state television said the bomb was inside an electronics shop in the mainly Shi'ite city."] Reuters notes two civilians dead in Baghdad from a roadside bomb (three wounded) and seven Iraqi police officers wounded from a roadside bomb in Baquba.

Shooting deaths: AFP notes the shooting deaths of a teacher and irrigation engineer in Amara; two civilians in Baquba; "a clan chieftain . . . Hilla, while a grocer was shot dead in Iskandiriyah";
Reuters notes the shooting death of "Nabil Ghaithan, director of the post office for the Muthanna district" in Samawa; two civilians dead and one police officer in separate attacks in Mosul; "a member of Iraqi intelligence in front of his home in Diwaniya"; and "Police Captain Nuri Juad in . . . Baquba".

Corpses: AP notes twelve corpses were discovered in Suwayrah ("aged between 35 and 45 . . . most had been shot in the head and the rest in the chest") as well as one corpse discovered in Baghdad and two corpses discovered in Kifil. Reuters notes two in Balad ("shot in the head and chest").

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