Friday, December 15, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Friday, December 15, 2006.  Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's been attacked repeatedly by the US military, the US military announces that three troops have died, the US media attempts to ignore the big Iraq story of the day, Kyle Snyder continues speaking out and Donald the Rumsfled leaves an appointed office but he does not complete a 'tour of duty.' 
Starting in England, with the big story.  Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) report that Carne Ross ("Britain's key negotiator at the UN") statement in the Butler inquiry (2004) that's only now been revealed and it exposes the lies behind the 'case' for war in England.  AFP reports that Ross declared "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."  Ross also declared that: "It was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained" (Al Jazeera).
Though Carne Ross' statements have been kept secret (swept under the 'national security' rug), Last month, he did speak to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee and note that the intel offered to the public was "manipulated."  As Brown and McSmith note, the Commons Select Committee is the body that's brought the information public while an unidentified member of the Foreign Affairs committee states: "There was blood on the carpet over this.  I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles ovre Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff."  The Irish Times declares: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for attacking Iraq has been dealt a new blow with the release of once-secret evidence from a former British diplomat who dismissed the threat of weapons of mass destruction."
As the mainstream media in the US bends over backwards to note Ross' statements, many may be reminded of the Downsing Street Memos and how they were greeted with silence and then derision.  AP was the excuse many hid behind with DSM -- claiming they would have run a story if AP had covered it -- if only a wire story . . .  Well AP has covered it.
Turning to peace news, Alex Zdan (Trenton Times) notes Tuesday speech Carolyn Ho, mother of  Ehren Watada, gave to the Nassau Presbyterian Church where she described how her son became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq ("In studying all the literature, he was stunned by what he saw") which included refusing to accept a "desk job" in Iraq.  On last RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho explained that the refusal was for himself as well as those serving under him, "He felt the best thing he could do for his men was to remain behind and speak truth."  She is asking for everyone to contact their members of Congress and put pressure on Congress to carry out their oversight role.  Monday, Carolyn Ho appeared on Democracy Now! and discussed her own progress when meeting with members of Congress. Outside of Maxine Waters, not much.  So those who haven't contacted their Congress members should considering doing so.
Ehren Watada, as Aaron Glantz (IPS) reported, is also the subject of subpoenaes -- the US military is attempting to compell three journalists to testify in court: Sarah Olson, Dahr Jamail, and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin).  Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that Olson is "one of few reporters covering the anti-war movement and the voices of dissent" and that she has not decided yet how to respond to the subpoena -- Sarah Olson:  "Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."
Another US war resister continues speaking out: Kyle Snyder  Washington's Bellingham Herald notes an appearence at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.  Last weekend, at a speaking appearance, police showed up.  Snyder continues speaking out.
Watada and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.

Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
As Aileen Alfandary noted on KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), two car bombs went off outside US bases in Ramadi.
Qais al-Bashir (AP) reports that Muhsin al-Kanan, a cleric who was tight with British forces, was shot dead in Basra and that a civilian was shot dead in Kut.  Reuters reports that "a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency" was shot dead in Diwaniya as was an oil company guard.
Reuters cites hospital sources in Mosul having received 13 bodies today.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's the target of US forces.  Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) reports that that the IRC states there has been "a spate of attacks on its offices over the last three years" and in the most recently, according the the IRC's vice president (Jamal Al Karbouli), about a week ago, "US forces had occupied and nearly destroyed its Falluja office, held staff for hours, and burned two cars clearly marked with its neutral symbol."  CBS and AP report: "'We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times,' Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left.'"
Today, the US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5
and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from wounds
sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."  The US military also announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team,
1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of enemy fire while conducting operations
in Ninewa Province.  Two other Soldiers were wounded and transported to a Coalition Forces’ medical treatment facility."
Tomorrow is the first of two 'big meets' for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki.  KUNA reports that he "will convene another National Reconciliation Conference for political leaders from across Iraq."  While he gears up for his conference, Jawad al-Bolani is in Syria apparently not overly concerned with the opinions of US Secretary of State Condi RiceKUNA reports the Interior Minister of Iraq is there "to discuss security issues as the first Iraqi official to visit Damascus since diplomatic relations were resumed between the two neighboring countries."  This comes at a time when Tareg al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's vice-presidents, is in the US and criticizing Bully Boy's 'plan'  Al Jazeera quotes him saying: "Imagine one day waking up and finding out that your nation's leaders had completely dismantled all police and military.  As a result, there is no one policeman, or state, or federal law enforcement agent, or even one national guard or any soldier to protect you from criminal elements, or terrorists.  It will be total chaos.  Then imagine that instead of calling back the army and security forces, the authorities in this imaginary scenario decided to form a new army and police from racist militias, some mercenaries and organized crime gangs. . . . This is exactly what has happened in Iraq."
In a lengthy talk/performance with the Washington Post editorial board, Condi Rice attempted to buff her image a bit but mainly demonstrated (yet again) that even her fabled 'expertise' in Russia/the Soviet Union is inflated.  The take away should be Rice's declaration, "I find Prime Minister Maliki a strong man."  A statement so laughable it begs for a remix and one that will come back to haunt her.
In other things that should haunt, Donald the Rumsfled began a three-day farewell while most Americans wonder, "I thought he'd left already."  Today it was time to 'salute' him and watch for the media that makes (at best) an idiot of itself or (at worst) spits on democracy by referring to the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense's 'tour of duty.'  The Rumsfled was a civilian.  Civilians are in charge of the military in the US.  He did not complete a 'tour of duty' but fools and those with no respect for democracy will repeat the nonsense.  Roger Runningen and Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) note this remark by the Bully Boy: "He spoke straight.  It was easy to understand him."  File it away from the future War Crimes Tribunal should Bully Boy attempt to say he was confused what was being discussed.

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