Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, November 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with at least 60 reported dead today, Steven D. Green enters a plea, gas bags toss out the word "Iraq" and pretend they've somehow addressed anything, War Hawk Down! -- Rumsfled resigns, "a defector in the petty wars that shell shock love away" ("Hejira") prepares a new release, and the Mennonite church -- not independent media -- discusses conscientious objectors.

Starting with news not coming out of Iraq, the current issue of Rolling Stone (Jon Stewart cover) notes that Joni Mitchell is recording another album of her own compositions. Uncut reports on the upcoming album and quotes Mitchell stating "when the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it's time for artists to make their mark" and noting that the albums is an attempt to provide "courage through tough times." Mitchell's official website notes one song on the upcoming album entitled "Holy War" which includes these lyrics:

There's nothing on earth
As unholy as war,
The rich sacrifice the poor.
If I had a heart I'd cry.
In fairy tales the good go to heaven
And the evil go to hell,
Ring the funeral bell.
If I had a heart I'd cry.
Holy earth, religion has failed us,
It failed to make us kind,
It spoke of light but kept us blind.

The album will be Mitchell's first recording of her own compositions since 1998's Taming the Tiger. And if that doesn't seem important to you, remember that Mitchell's Dog Eat Dog, and not gas baggery, captured the Reagan de-Revolution. Between art and gas baggery, this community will always go with art. Also, it was Mitchell's birthday Tuesday.

The day prior to that, Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reported that the White House had conveyed through Zalmay Khalilzad that yesterday's elections were meaningless -- conveyed to Iraqi puppet leaders. Bully Boy is currently attempting to push that notion right now. On screen, CNN offers a "knowable" -- War Hawk Donald Rumsfeld has resigned as US Secretary of the Defense. Bully Boy has evened out his streaks and his hair now looks much darker but look the other way as the media has for the last six years. Hair dye doesn't make for the 'manly' image the Bully Boy cultivates. (What's he saying? Who knows? I'm having lunch and there are too many people at other tables booing the Bully Boy to hear him and no link at CNN yet.)

For those looking for attempts to make sense of the election (something that really won't happen until all the votes are in and data crunched -- as opposed to skimmed) should refer to Amy Goodman's interview with Ralph Nader (Democracy Now!) and the Feminist Majority blog on the elections. [Feminist Wire addresses the failed abortion ban in South Dakota.] While the White House's message may have been lost on the puppet leaders, Nancy A. Yousseff (McClatchey Newspapers) reports that "Iraqis outside the world of politics saw no change, regardless of the results" as Matthew Schofield (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the reaction was far different for Europeans who are now "a bit more comfortable with their partners across the Atlantic after five years of unease with Americans under the Bush administration." What is known is that the Democratic Party now holds the most seats in the US House of Representatives and may control the Senate provided the candidates in Montana and Virginia (Jon Tester, Jim Webb) hold their leads.

In Iraq today, Zalmay Khalilzad rushed to spin telling a reception in the heavily fortified Green Zone (reception made up of reporters, the puppet government, "American colleagues from the embassy," etc) that "Americans understand that Iraq is import. They understand that this region is important" blah, blah, blah. When even Zalmay-Take-Me-Away grew tired of his own voice, he signed off with "Thank you again for coming and my God bless the people of Iraq" which may not be the best way for American officials, supposedly wanting a secetarian government in Iraq, to conclude their 'official' messages. Reality absent in the rumored to be departing soon Zalmay's pontificating can be found in Missy Comley Beattie's latest (CounterPunch): "This historic smackdown of an arrogant president and his administration will not bring back my nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley, his fellow servicemen and women who have died during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, other dead coalition troops, and so many Iraqis. . . . Nothing can reverse the effects of madmen. The hearts of our dead cannot restart. Limbs can't be restored. Devastating brain damage won't heal."

Absent from the gas baggery by conventional-wisdom loveing pundits and the spin of the White House flacks is the reality on Iraq. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that "at least 25 people were killed and dozens wounded in Baghdad and in Diyala province" on Tuesday. Chaos and violence continues today in Iraq.


AFP reports that a car bombing in Mahmudiyah has resulted in six dead and twenty-six wounded. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reported on a Tuesday bombing in Baghdad that left 17 dead and 20 wounded. IOL reports that four more have died today from Tuesday's coffee shop bombing bring the total number who have died to 21. CBS and AP note that: "A pair of mortar rounds slammed into a soccer field while young men were playing a game in a Shiite district of Baghdad, killing at least eight people." AFX notes 15 people were also wounded in thos mortar attacks. AFP notes a bombing in Iskandriyah that killed two (a father "and his 13-year-old son) and a mortar attack, in Baghdad, "near the health ministry" that killed three and left five wounded. Reuters notes a car bomb in Baghdad that killed three and wounded three more, a car bombing that killed one person, and a car bombing in Ramadi that killed five people.


The BBC notes that four people were shot dead in Baquba. AFP notes five were shot dead "in the village of Dhida near Muqdadiyah," two police officers were shot dead in Tikrit. Reuters notes that that a police officer was shot dead in Samawa.


IOL notes that three corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that six corpses were discovered in Mosul.

In addition, the US military today announced: "One Marine assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Wednesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." ICCC counts 2839 US troops dead since the start of the illegal war and 21 dead for the month.

In other Iraq news, Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) examine the realities of Iraq's Facilities Protection Services and note the belief "that the FPS consists mainly of criminals who looted banks and government offices at the beginning of the U.S. invasion in April 2003."

In legal news, Reuters reports that Steven D. Green pleaded not guilty today "in federal court to charges he participated in a gang rape of an Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family in March." That would be Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi who was murdered on March 12, 2006 in the town of Mahmoudiyah along with her parents Oassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen as well as her five-year-old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza. Green was discharged from the US military before events became public. On Friday, June 30th, he was arrested in Asheville, North Carolina and charged with rape. Five members still in the US military have also been charged. Anthony W. Yribe has been charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident and the other four (Paul Cortez, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and James Barker) have been charged with murder, rape and arson. At the Article 32 hearing for the four, prosecutor Captain Alex Pickands stated: "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." Green, who is being tried in a civilian court, could face the death penalty if convicted as could Speilman and Cortez if found guilty in a court-martial.

In peace news, Chris Arsenault (The Dominion) takes a look at US war resister Corey Glass currently in Canada, at the War Resisters Support Campaign and notes that depite the petition with 35,000 signatures "demanding Canada treat Iraq War objectors the same way we treated Vietnam War resisters . . . the immigration and refugee board, whose mandate is different from the courts, has" refused to rule in favor of asylum for war resisters. Glass tells Arsenault: "I signed up to defend people and do humanitarian work filling sandbags if there was a hurricane; I should have been in New Orleans, not Iraq." Three other war resisters who went to Canada include Kyle Snyder who turned himself in at Fort Knox on October 31st only to self-check out again after the US military lied to him again, Joshua Key who was denied refugee status by the Canadian government and Ivan Brobeck who returned to the US yesterday to turn himself in.

Meanwhile, Gladys Tericho (Mennoite Central Committee) reports on the conference on conscientious objection held October 20-21 and bringing together groups "including Mennoite, Doukhobor, Quaker and Jehovah's Witnesses." She notes Harry Loewen (Professor Emeritus of Mennonite History and Studies at the University of Winnipeg") stating: "It is important that we deal with these issues now. . . . This principle must not be abandoned, it must be strengthened."

CNN reports that Bully Boy announced "Don Rumsfeld . . . superb leader" has resigned and that Bully Boy also stated, "The timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon." Now it's time? Only now? No wonder Condi Rice keeps getting promoted. Rums-fled is out. Zalmay soon will be.

Finally, Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, and his step-mother, Rosa Sakanishi, continue their speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren -- the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Upcoming dates include:

Nov 8, 7PM Albany, NY Sponsor: VFP National Location: TBAContact: Elliot Adams, 518-441-2697,

Nov 9, TBA Philadelphia, PA. Location: Annenberg School of Communication, Penn University, Room 109 Sponsors: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star MothersContact: Bill Perry, 215-945-3350,

Nov 10, 7:30PM New York City, NY Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church West End Avenue and West 86th Streets, Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203, ltbrin@earthlink.netGeorge McAnanama,

Nov 11, 11AM-5PM New York City, NY Veterans Day Parade Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,

Nov 12, TBA Long Island, NY TBA

Nov 13, 7PM Ann Arbor, MI "The Ground Truth" and Bob Watada Location: TBA Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works,Contact: Phillis Engelbert, 734-761-5922,

kyle snyder
amy goodman
democracy now
ivan brobeck
joshua key
corey glass
the new york times
kirk semple
missy comley beattie
ehren watada
bob watada
dahr jamail
ali al-fadhily
nancy a. youssef