Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ruth's Public Radio Report

Ruth: It was a week where a number of us in the community went to California. Let me pull a C.I. and say "Translation," do not expect much from this week's report because we were all busy speaking to activists and participating in activities. I will be discussing two programs.

First up is one of my favorites, CounterSpin. As always the program began with a look at recent press.

Janine Jackson: The Valerie Plame story found its way back into the the media last week as special prosector Patrick Fitzgerald filed new papers that shed a little more light on how the White House planned to undermine Iraq war critic and foreign ambassador Joe Wilson. According to the court filing, Dick Cheney's former aide [Scooter] Lewis Libby was instructed by the administration to leak portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate. in order to counter Wilson's claim that the White House's story of Iraq's attempts to get yellowcake uranium from Niger was unfounded. Some reporters shrugged it off suggesting that everyone in Washington leaks information. As CBS Evening News reporter Gloria Borger put in on April 6th QUOTE "This is just one more opportunity for the Democrats to charge the White House with hypocrisy. But, as one former intelligence official told me today 'If hypocrisy were a crime in Washington, we'd have to build more jails.' " CLOSED QUOTE. NPR analyst Daniel Schorr summarized the story on April 8th by saying that the Intelligence Estimate QUOTE "came up with the possibility that there was indeed an attempt to buy uranium from the country of Niger" CLOSED QUOTE so the White House was very anxious to get that out. But that's deceptive. Some analysts did think there was something to the Niger story but others vehemently disagreed. The White House wanted reporters to know only about the analysis that backed up there ulitmately bogus case. But the Washington Post was the most passionated administration defender. It's April 9th editorial headlined "A Good Leak" argued the White House was right to go after Wilson since he was the one not telling the truth. Washington Post readers were surely confused to read in the same day's paper a long story reporting that the Intelligence Estimate did not say it what the White House claimed it did and, since the White House itself long ago admitted it shouldn't have made the Niger claims at all, the Washington Post is left defending the administration on a claim even they no longer stand by. Now that's loyalty.

Let me note a second item as well:

Steve Rendall: An ongoing military propaganda campaign aimed at exaggerating the importance of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the purported leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was reported in the April 10th Washington Post. The report "Military Plays Up Role of Zacharwi" says the effort has raised Zarqawi's profile QUOTE "In a way some military intelligence officials belive may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks." CLOSED QUOTE. The propaganda not only targeted Iraqis hoping to turn them against the foreign militants, according to Post reporters Thomas Ricks, it also quote "explicitly lists the U.S. home audience as one of its targets of a broader propa campaign" CLOSED QUOTE and boasts of how "a selective leak about Zarqawi was made to Dexter Filkins whose resulting article ran on the New York Times front page on February 9, 2004." Closed QUOTE. Ricks quotes an Army colonel [James A. Treadwell] seemingly shocked by it all, who tells him "You don't psyops Americans We just don't do that." Indeed PYSOPS or psychological operations -- military speak for propaganda operations which target Americans aren't just against Army regulations, they're a violation of federal law.

This week's CounterSpin also included a hard hitting look at the Massachusetts health care plan via an interview Janine Jackson did with Harvard University professor Steffie Woolhandler. Of key interest to the community would be Professor Woolhandler's critique of the press which, as she noted, seems to operate under the belief that if they include a statement from a Democrat and one from a Republican, they have covered a topic. A better approach would be to actually read the legislation, at least the summary, and to examine it as opposed to rushing from one partisan to another and passing off an article as informed. In the case of the health care plan, the extreme poor, only 11% of the state's population, will benefit, a good thing as Professor Woolhandler noted, however everyone from the working poor on up will not. Add to that the fact that the legislation lacks any teeth that would allow it to be enforced and you have a program that benefits the lobby that supported it, the insurance industry. As Professor Woolandler stated, "This is not fooling anyone who is thinking seriously about universal health care."

Missing WBAI's Law and Disorder Monday was a trade off for me and one worth it due to Monday's activities. We were at a rally when it would have been airing. So I had the Law and Disorder spirit if not the program. I was delighted when a young man stopped by C.I.'s that evening with an iPod. I am, quite honestly, still at a loss on how to adequately work mine. He provided a number of suggestions and tips. Derek had e-mailed a question sometime ago and I was unable to answer it. However, I did get the answer Monday and, though I have already e-mailed Derek, I will post it here in case anyone else is having similar problems. If the program you use, I use Juice, is slow in downloading due to your connection, do not attempt to download feeds you subscribe to while you are using the computer for it will only make it slower. That seems so obvious now but it was not a thought that had occurred to me when Derek asked his question. Instead, create a time for downloading. Derek wrote back that he used the suggestion and what worked best for him was to come home from work, boot up the computer and download the feeds while he ate dinner and took care of odds and ends around the house. Then, when he is ready to surf and do his other activities, the programs are already downloaded and he can listen to them that night. He has dial up and noted that there were many nights previously where he would attempt to download and surf only to discover several hours later that maybe one of his feeds, if he was lucky, had downloaded.

While the young man was answering my questions and demonstrating different options, I saw that one of his feeds was Law and Disorder. He was a technically savy. We ended up listening to the program while we ate dinner. Mike and Cedric have both covered the first segment. To that, I will add that the restaurant in Houston, Texas where co-host Dalia Hashad was treated so poorly was Bubba’s Seafood Grill and Bar. Ms. Hashad was traveling from a conference, in Austin, and had stopped in there for a meal. Upon being seated, she was ignored by the staff repeatedly despite the fact that White diners arriving after her were given prompt service. Ms. Hashad was ignored even when she attempted to address the problem in several ways including repeatedly calling out "Excuse me" and getting her own menu after one would not be brought to her. If you have had a similar experience at a Bubba's Seafood Grill or anywhere else, the hosts invited you to go to their website and share your experience. On that, Eddie advised that there was a registration process and that he had not anticpated it would take so long to receive his password via e-mail. He ended up running out of time and asked that I advise that if you are not registered to comment at the site, you "plan your time better than I did."

As Michael Ratner, "You just wanted to have something to eat and not have a fight." But that was not the case at Terminal C, in the George Bush International Airport. If the rIf that explains it. Ms. Hashad spoke of the question that weighs on the mind "How much does my race play into it?" and spoke of the what it feels like to be faced with these incidents of racial profiling on a daily basis.

The episode began with the announcement that Ms. Hashad has left her post at the ACLU, where she was the Arab-American advocate for the Campaign Against Racial Profiling, to move to the director of US programs at Amnesty International. All four co-hosts are members of National Lawyers Guild, Amnesty Interntational and the Center for Constitutional Rights. I do not think I have noted Ms. Hashad's title here before but I believe we did note her new opportunity. (I believe that Heidi Boghosian and Geoff Brady mentioned it when they anchored a special fundraising broadcast.)

Venita Gupta, with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, was the first guest and she discussed the situation in Rome, Georgia where South Asisan immigrants were being targeted by law enforcement in a sting operation that was supposedly intended to reduce the use of meth. In Georgia, it is illegal to sell more than two bottles of Sudafed as part of their supposed crack down on meth. There have been 49 arrests and, of the 49, 44 were South Asian. The number of stores targeted were 24 and, of those, 23 were owned by South Asians. Large retail giants, such as Wal-Mart and Costco, were not targeted in the sting which utilized informants looking to reduce the length of time they themselves were facing.

In some instances, the "crime" is selling four boxes of Sudafed instead of two and/or selling to people who stated, "I'm going to use this to make a cook." Make a cook do what? Someone of my age wonders that; however, it is slang among users for making meth. Why clerks would know that, no fact sheet was given to them nor were they offered training in Meth Lingo 101, is a question the legal system is not interested in pursuing. Just as public schools earn dollars for each student who attends in the first periods each day, law enforcement can earn federal dollars for each arrest made in the so-called war on drugs. So targeting a community that is a minority in the population and avoiding the big retailers can turn a tidy profit.

When this targeted population is faced with a trial, they will take pleas. A citizen would, for instance, be granted a plea bargain of house arrest and that would be the end of it. For immigrants, that is not the case. Once they have taken part in a plea agreement, they are now at risk of deportation and Ms. Gupta noted the INS was often outside the courtrooms ready to begin proceedings.

In response to Heidi Boghosian's question of what length of sentences they would be facing, if found guilty, had they not entered into a plea agreement, Ms. Gupta responded twenty-five to forty years in prison.

Ms. Hashad: For selling sudafed and matches?
Ms. Boghosian: For selling legal products.

That is probably enough to disturb many, as it should, but in response to Ms. Boghosian's question of whether this was going on outside of Georgia, Ms. Gupta noted reports of it taking place in Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina.

For further information and to see what you can do, visit the Racial Justice Campaign. Ms. Hashad noted that Halle Berry has plans to portray Ms. Gupta in a film on this story.

The next guest was Justice Vegas Torrealba who is a Supreme Court Justice in Venezuela.
This segment led to an intense dinner table discussion on the role of the United States in Venezuela so my notes were spotty. It is a wonderful segment and I will zero in on the 2002 attempted coup backed by the United States.

Justice Torrealba noted that in the early stages of the coup there was a huge difference between what was actully happening on the streets and what was making it to TV screens. Venzuela's big media is controlled by foes of Hugo Chavez. By the palace, there were sharp shooters, "one was North America, they had Columbians," who were killing Chavez supporters but this was portrayed in the big media as if those opposed to President Chavez were the ones being shot at and as though they were shot at on the orders of President Chavez.

At a time when the so-called "Chavez problem" is a concern to such "concerned" people as Pat Robertson, the New York Times editorial board and Simon Rosenberg, this section bears noting.

The sharp shooting, as Michael Ratner noted, "was the beginning of the coup." Justice Torrealba explained that despite the military announcing fourteen people had died, at the time of the announced "no one had died." Mr. Ratner wondered, "Why didn't the military kill Chavez when he was their prisoner?"

Justice Torrealba: I think they got scared. Too many people were on the streets. . . . It was amazing.
Ms. Hashad: That's what we need, that's what we need. Millions of people on the streets.

The hosts noted that this had happened with regards to people fighting back against the scapegoating of immigrants, but that it needed to happen with respect to the illegal occupation of Iraq. That is a feat that we would have difficulty with in some instances due to, as Michael Smith noted, the continued attacks on labor unions and the fact that "we really have two capitalist parties" in this country "and that's it."

Justice Torrealba offered a detail of the coup attempt that I was unfamiliar with, "There were two ships right in front of the coast from this country [the United States] and they jammed the communications."

This knocked out cell phone usage and reminded me of some of the targets the administration sought in Iraq. For members who are new to the coup, in December of 2004, Juan Forero wrote one of his usual pieces of "reporting" and the coup was addressed then. At that time, he went to great strides to ignore details in the public documents that spoke of C.I.A. involvement in the coup. His "reporting" was analyzed then and it has been noted since then that the Times finally eased (carefully) to the position of C.I.A. involvement.

The issue of the United States actions with regards to other democracies was addressed later in the broadcast. Mr. Smith did note that in Venezuela that have multi parties who form coalitions and give voters a greater degree of choice but in the United States we are largely left with the two major parties.

Bertel Ollman was the final guest and one that I hope they will have on again. In addition to many years at NYU, Professor Ollman has written numerous books and created the boardgame Class Struggle. Currently, his project is The International Endowment for Democracy which is not to be confused with the National Edowment for Democracy which relies on monies from the Congress (from our pockets) to interject the interests of a few into democracies in other countries (doing a job that, as noted, was previously done exclusively by the C.I.A.). As Profesor Ollman summarized the NED, it has "been around for over twenty years and it basically gets money from the United State government to subvert regimes abroad that Washington disapproves of all in the name of . . . promoting democracy and nation building." By contrast, Professor Ollman's group, the IEFD, hopes to use money "to support democracy in the country that needs it the most . . . Needs it the most, not because we're the worst dictatorship" but because our actions are creating "a greater negative effect to the people all over the world than the actions of any government on the face of the planet."

Thirty-five people sit on the board of the IEFD, none of whom is paid a salary, and they include
Gore Vidal, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Ramsey Clark, Howard Zinn, Michael Smith and Michael Ratner.
You can find out more information about the IEFD online where their appeal can be read in thirteen languages and where they have created an online library.

I was able to catch a small portion of KPFA's Living Room hosted by Kris Welch and Friday's topic was immigration. One guest that I reconized was James K. Galbraith whose "Morning in America Again" was highly recommended by Ms. Welch. Another guest was Professor Roberto Rodriguez. A caller noted the book Elaine covered Monday's WBAI's Cat Radio Cafe, Rebecca covered Flashpoints on Tuesday and Thursday, and Kat covered KPFA's Guns and Butter on Wednesday.

I had a wonderful time this week and Mike has shared some thoughts on the experience so be sure to read that. There was wonderful music, as Kat has noted. We also watched Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein's documentary The Take which I highly recommend. Afterwards, we discussed the film and at one point, I offered that some of what is done reminds me of a film that many people seem unfamiliar with. Elaine had already left but it turns out this is one of her favorite films which surprised me as much as when C.I. pulled it out so we could all watch. The film is Frank Capra's Meet John Doe. For a film from the forties, its look at journalism and fat cats who attempt to utilize parties to control the people and get them to betray their own interests in a manner which may surprise many. The film stars Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper and, especially for younger members who feel that we are in a new period or that the control of the mainstream media is something new to our nation, I recommend that you check out the film.

My grandchildren Tracey, Jayson and Elijah had as much fun as I did. Whomever taught Elijah to stick out his tongue should come forward because I was thrilled he discovered something he enjoyed more than kicking and his parents prefer it to his kicking as well. So, if it was Ty or someone else, claim your credit and receive your thanks.

KPFA's Sunday Salon will cover the following this Sunday (9:00 a.m. Pacific time, 11:00 a.m. Central, and noon Eastern time) :

First Hour
In our first hour

...Imagine being one of several dozen women incarcerated with thousands of men.Harassment, humiliation, and in many cases, rape, are all a part of thedaily routine. So is being called "sir." Outside of prison, transgenderfolks often face a hurtful lack of understanding; inside prison, that lackof understanding can be life-threatening...Attorney Alex Lee of the Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersex JusticeProject joins us, and others, to be confirmed.
Second Hour
In our second hour...

Its been 100 years since the 1906 Earthquake. And 1989 -- when the last bigone hit the Bay Area -- isn't recent history, either. Time to dust off yourearthquake-preparedness savvy...Our guests Ana-Marie Jones of Collaborating Agencies Responding toDisasters, Kiska Icard of the San Francisco SPCA, and others will remind youhow to get yourself, your home, and your family -- including its non-humanmembers -- ready for a rumbler.
Listen to past shows, get contact and reference info for guests, see announcements of upcoming programs, and more at:

Sandra Lupien of KPFA's The Morning Show will fill in for Mr. Bensky as this Sunday's host.

NYT: Pretend to care, pretend Dexy's not there, pretend it's news

How much fluff are you supposed to swallow before you spit out feathers? A question worth contemplating if you've read this morning's New York Times. If you haven't spare yourself.

Monica Davey's writing about . . . what? The articles entitled "Protest Rallies End in Job Loss For Immigrants." (That is the print headline. Online headline is different. We go by print when there's a difference between it and online.) She offers, as an exampled, that in Tyler, Texas "22 welders lost their jobs making parts for air conditioners." 22 out of over 2000 demonstrators. I've heard from the Tyler members (and the surrounding areas -- shout outs to Longview, Marshall, Kilgore and Chandler -- see, I did read this morning's e-mails).

Is this propaganda intended to scare people because that's quite frankly how it's being read. Davey's got nothing in the article about the 22 fired including what the grounds were for firing them. She also doesn't note who they worked for. Would it be Trane? Would it be Carrier? Is it another company? For members: air quality, "Targaritas," special rates, and threats of pulling business if their product is not used. Put it together and you've got what didn't make it into Davey's story.

What did make it into print is a cautionary tale of victims -- one that never actually includes the victims. She offers a shrugged oh-well of these-things-happen. Whether that's her intent or not (or whether someone else shaped what made it into print), who knows? (I'm not taking calls this morning because I'd like to be done with this entry in less than an hour and out the door.)

Are the 22 (that Davey tosses out, if not explores) taking the attitude that they'd made a mistake? (At least one isn't taking that attitude and would march again.) Who knows? They don't get a hearing on their feelings on anything. As pointed out yesterday, it's a wide shot when it comes to the people effected. But it's always a close up (flattering) for big business in the paper of record, isn't it? So flip from Davey's front page story to A11 for Kate Phillips' "Business Lobbyists Call For Action on Immigration." Lobbyists? The Times is comfortable to speaking to them and for them (check out the editorials) but people effected? Rendered invisible yet again. (Recalling an infamous editorial that the paper no doubt wishes was forgotten -- where they advocated that the minimu wage should be "$0.00.")

And is Alan Cowell lost in London (again!)? Brandon wonders that and whether Pru should return to covering him for the round-robin? Why does Brandon wonder that? There was a court martial in England. Three days. Malcolm Kendall-Smith was sented to eight months. The Times hasn't noted the verdict even in an "international brief." Pru, Brandon may be right and you may need to send out a search party to locate Cowell. Who will locate the news for the paper is another issue.

From Democracy Now!:

RAF Doctor Jailed For Refusing Iraq Service
In Britain, a doctor in the Royal Air Force has been sentenced to eight months in jail for refusing to go to Iraq. Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith maintained he is refusing his assignment in order to not take part in an illegal war. "Now more so than ever he feels that his actions were totally justified and he would not if placed in the same circumstances seek to do anything differently," Justin Hugheston-Roberts, the lawyer representing Kendall-Smith, said after the sentencing.

"Warhols of Tomorrow Are Dealers' Quarry Today" is someone's idea of news. Well at least, as far as we know, the paper's not using its own space on a pet issue of concern. (Tweet, tweet, ring a bell?) It's not exactly front page news, notfor the hard news section. But it ends up there, lets them pretend they've covered the art scene well and maybe someone has an investment to protect? (The Times' conflict in the arts scene, traditional arts, is legendary. Just never covered in the Times.)

What else is there? Kirk Semple reports from Iraq. Not in the mood for it this morning. It's laughable that the Times has yet to apologize to readers for running propaganda that was part of a PSYOPS operation and yet they want readers to trust them on Iraq.

Let's be clear that what Dexter Filkins did in that instance (and just focusing on that one instance) topped Judith Miller because PSYOPS operations can be directed at foreign countries but it is illegal to use them on Americans. So let's be real clear that Dexter Filkins has surpassed Judith Miller. The minute the truth of Dexy's report was reported (not in the Times), there should have been a very prominent note to the readers. It should have offered an apology, it should have named Filkins and should have set out some sort of guideline to prevent readers from being the target of future PSYOP operations. Bare minimum, that should have been done.

The paper's refusal to address the issue demonstrats, yet again, that the mea culpa was meaningless. Their silence, rightly or wrongly, indicates that they have no interest in whether their readers are misinformed or if reporters are accomplices (knowingly or unknowingly) in illegal activies that further lower the paper's credibility and damage the readers chances of true understanding. "All the news that's fit to print"?

A paper that's concerned itself with "tabloid wars" this week should be willing to take a serious (and needed) look at their own actions in what was an illegal activity by the government. As it is, for readers to know what happened, they can't depend on Edward Wong's aside yesterday, but will need to turn to Thomas E. Ricks "Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi" (Washington Post). The most we can hope for, apparently, is circle jerk profiles where Dexter Filkins says he and John F. Burns will be "friends forever" (did they exchange frienship braclets) and Burns notes Dexy's "questing." (Was there a medieval romance in the Green Zone?)

For real news from Iraq, we'll note Dahr Jamail. Read his and Arkan Hamed's "Baghdad Morgue Overflowing Daily" here at IPS or here at Iraq Dispatches:

BAGHDAD, Apr 14 (IPS) -- As sectarian killings continue to rise in Iraq, the central morgue in Baghdad is unable to keep up with the daily influx of bodies.
The morgue is receiving a minimum of 60 bodies a day and sometimes more than 100, a morgue employee told IPS on condition of anonymity.
"The average is probably over 85," said the employee on the morning of April 12, as scores of family members waited outside the building to see if their loved ones were among the dead.
The family of a man named Ashraf who had been taken away by the Iraqi police Feb. 16 anxiously searched through digital photographs inside the morgue. He then found what he was looking for.
"His two sons were killed when Ashraf was taken," said his uncle, 50-year-old Aziz. "Ashraf was a bricklayer who was simply trying to do his job, and now we see what has become of him in our new democracy."
Aziz found that the body of Ashraf was brought to the morgue Feb. 18 by the Iraqi police two days after he was abducted. The photographs of the body showed gunshot wounds in the head and bludgeon marks across the face. Both arms were apparently broken, and so many holes had been drilled into his chest that it appeared shredded.
A report Oct. 29, 2004 in the British medical journal The Lancet had said that "by conservative assumptions, we think about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq."
In an update, Les Roberts, lead author of the report said Feb. 8 this year that there may have been 300,000 Iraqi civilian deaths since the invasion.

Highlight. And, it's not available online yet. However, check here because it's supposed to go online (excerpt) at some point. From Robert Dreyfuss' "The Pentagon's New Spies" (Rolling Stone, April 20, 2006):

Last October, before the public learned that President Bush had secretly ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without a court order, the Pentagon approached the Senate intelligence committee with an unprecedented request. Military officials wanted the authority to spy on U.S. citizens on American soil, without identifying themselves, in order to collect intelligence about terrorists threats. The plan was so sweeping, according to congressional sources who reviewed it, that it would have permitted operatives from the Defense Intelligence Agency to spy on dissidents by posing as peace activists and infiltrating anti-war meetings.
Senators on both sides of the aisle refused to go along with the plan. "The Department of Defense should not be in the business of spying on law-abiding Americans-- period," said Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon. In closed-door deliberations, the intelligence committee blocked the request.
In fact, however, the Pentagon has already assembled a nationwide domestic spying machine that goes far beyond the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of telephone and e-mail traffice. Operating in secret, the Defense Department is systematically gathering and analyzing intelligence on American citizens at home -- and a new Pentagon agency called Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) is helping to coordinae the military's covert efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
[. . .]
"We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America," says Wyden. "This is a huge leap without even a congressional hearing."

The Defense Department, formerly the War Department, has no business spying on Americans; however, it did before and that led to Congressional hearings. Hearings are not required to determine whether they can do this, hearings are required to determine the guilt and the punishment. The militarization of the United States is not in keeping with democracy but maybe it will wake some up (finally?) to the "dangers of an unchecked Bully Boy"?

Martha advises those looking for news in a print newspaper to check out the Washington Post.
From Thomas B. Edsall's "E-Mails Tie Former GSA Official to Abramoff: Safavian Attorney Objects to Disclosure:"

Federal prosecutors last night released hundreds of e-mails documenting the business and personal ties between former White House aide David H. Safavian, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and a network of congressional representatives and staffers.
Within days after becoming chief of staff at the General Services Administration, for example, Safavian began discussions of government property opportunities with Abramoff. In other e-mails, Abramoff suggested that then-GSA Administrator Steve Perry join them on a $130,000 golfing trip to Scotland.

Ruth's Public Radio Report going up after this posts (and publishes). The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, April 14, 2006

Democracy Now: Nepal, Jeff Chester, Scott Horton; Danny Schechter, Katrina vanden Heuvel

We were so psyched when C-SPAN agreed to tape a discussion based around my book  When News Media Lies. Rory O'Connor and I had a great conversation at the Used Book Cafe in New York. The folks at the store told us our packed event was among their best. The CSPAN videographer was enthusiastic.
CPAN 2 advised us that they scheduled the program for 7 AM on Monday the 17th. 7 AM! Well, I will be up. I always am, BUT.... Tape it if you can and send it around. And if you like it, ask Brian Lamb and his team to consider playing it again. Do you think this had anything to do with the subject--ie the role of the media? Rememer, the cable industry pays for CSPAN--or is just bad luck.
Have a great holiday weekend. I will be attending the memorial tribute to the late producer and supporter Al Levin tomorrow night. You can see Al in his son Marc’s doc "The Protocols of Zion."
That is a heads up on the broadcast of Danny Schechter's March 29th discussion.  I'm not a CSPAN junkie.  (I really don't watch TV if I can help it.)  However, things are streamed online.  This event may be (audio only or audio and video).  If you are a member who is a CSPAN junkie and have more to add to the above (which is from The News Dissector's "The Dissector Daily Readers Forum"), e-mail and put "When News Lies" or "CSPAN" in the heading so I notice it right away.
RAF Doctor Jailed For Refusing Iraq Service
In Britain, a doctor in the Royal Air Force has been sentenced to eight months in jail for refusing to go to Iraq. Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith maintained he is refusing his assignment in order to not take part in an illegal war. "Now more so than ever he feels that his actions were totally justified and he would not if placed in the same circumstances seek to do anything differently," Justin Hugheston-Roberts, the lawyer representing Kendall-Smith, said after the sentencing.
Dozens Dead in Iraq Violence
In Iraq, dozens of police officers are feared dead after their convoy was bombed north of Baghdad earlier today. At least six officers were killed. In other violence, at least eleven construction workers were murdered after they were abducted in Basra. Today's deaths come a day after violence killed at least 52 people around Iraq. In Thursday's deadliest incident, at least 15 people were killed and 25 wounded in car bombing of a market in a Shiite area of Baghdad.
White House Maintains Silence on Iraq Weapons Lab Claim
Meanwhile, for the second straight day Thursday, White House spokesperson Scott McLellan could not tell reporters when President Bush or other administration officials were informed a Pentagon fact-finding mission had found no mobile biological weapons labs in Iraq. The timing of the fact-finding mission's report has come under intense scrutiny. Just two days after it was submitted, President Bush cited the trailers as proof the US had discovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The President and other administration officials continued to make the faulty claim for more than a year -- and never once said their claim had been disputed.
Nepal Criticized For Human Rights Abuses
In Nepal, embattled King Gyanendra pledged today he would hold national elections, but did not give a specific timetable. Opposition groups said the King's message was nothing more than a vague repeat of previous promises that have gone unfulfilled. The King's announcement comes just two days after he returned from a two-month vacation to the capital of Katmandu amidst massive protests against his rule. On Thursday, Louise Arbor, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticized what she called the government's excessive use of force and use of arbitrary detention against protesters. Also Thursday, Police fired on a demonstration attended by dozens of lawyers outside the Supreme Court. At least 70 people were arrested.
Immigrant Rights Coalition Calls for One Day Boycott, Walk-Out
A coalition of groups advocating for immigrant rights are calling for a massive one-day job and economic boycott to take place May 1st. Some are calling the event "A Day Without Immigrants." Organizers are calling on immigrants to refuse to work or spend any money on May Day to protest moves in Congress to criminalize undocumented workers. In recent weeks millions of immigrants and their supporters have taken to the streets in an unprecedented wave of protests.
The above five (!) items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and KeShawn, Lyle, Amanda, Sam and Mayra all made strong cases for their selections.  Democarcy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 14, 2006

- Dozens Dead in Iraq Violence
- Nepal Criticized For Human Rights Abuses
- Chad Claims To Have Fought Off Rebel Attack
- Report: Hamas Willing To Recognize Israeli Government
- RAF Doctor Jailed For Refusing Iraq Service
- 6th Ex-Military Commander Calls For Rumsfeld's Resignation
- White House Maintains Silence on Iraq Weapons Lab Claim
- California TV Station To Stop Using VNRs
- Immigrant Rights Coalition Calls for One Day Boycott, Walk-Out
- Audit: FEMA Misspent $1B in Hurricane Katrina Relief
- Federal Judge Criticizes Denial of Muslim Scholar's Visa
Thousands of Protesters, Journalists, Lawyers Arrested in Nepal as Mass Pro-Democracy Demonstrations Continue Against King

For the past week, tens of thousands of protesters have filled the streets of Nepal. King Gyanendra has placed severe restrictions on civil liberties since consolidating power in February of 2005. We go to Kathmandu to speak with a Nepali journalist who was beaten by police and we speak with two activists who have been following the latest developments.
Part II: The End of the Internet? Net Neutrality Threatened by Cable, Telecom Interests

Both Congress and the FCC are currently considering a number of proposals that will have far-reaching implications on the way the Internet works and the vital concept of net neutrality -- universal and non-discriminatory to the Internet -- is at risk. We speak with Jeff Chester of the  Center for Digital Democracy.
Iraqi CBS Cameraman Released After 1 Year Imprisonment by U.S. Forces

We look at the case of Iraqi CBS cameraman Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein. He was shot by U.S. forces while working in Mosul then detained for a year in Abu Ghraib without due process. We speak with Scott Horton, a New York attorney who flew to Baghdad to help defend Abdul Ameer.
Iraq . . .  The Associated Press reports that, near Baghdad, "dozens" of police officers are missing and at least six are dead in the continued waves of chaos and violence that make up the illegal occupation. KUNA notes the death of police officer Lieutenant Marwan Yosef who was killed by gunmen in Kirkuk.   Australia's ABC highlights yet another source of tension from the occupation: Babylon's hanging gardes ("one of the seven wonders of the ancient world") became the perfect place (in someone's mind) for the US to put in a helicopter landing-pad and the military's "sandbags" were the perfect place for "archaeological artefacts."  Donny George head of the Board for Heritage Antiquities, stated that it would "take decades to sort out" and that "using this city for military purposes was [a] huge damage to the history and heritage of the country."  CNN reports at least four dead and six wounded in two separate mosque bombings in Baquba. In Basra, Reuters reports, kidnapped workers were found dead (eleven civilians) and that a bomb near Basra took the lives of two Iraqis and four British troops were wounded. (The Telegraph of London points out that an additional  three were wounded in Afghanistan, a total of seven British soldiers have been wounded.)  On the workers who were kidnapped, the BBC notes the number as ten and reports that seven were killed but three escaped. Al Jazeera reports the deaths of at least thirteen with at least eight wounded as a result of a 7:45 pm (GMT) market bombing.
Highlights?  Death, loss, and 'justice' plus a profile.  On the topic of death, Hilda notes Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Jr: 1924-2006" (The Notion, The Nation):
"Clearly the trick in life is to die young as late as possible," Reverend William Sloane Coffin From his last book, Credo.
Reverend William Sloane Coffin died Wednesday at the age of 81.
Bill Coffin, as his friends knew him, was one of our greatest and most eloquent prophetic voices. For more than forty years, his passionate calls for peace, social justice, civil rights, and an end to nuclear insanity challenged this nation's conscience.
While Chaplain of Yale University in the 1960s, Coffin emerged as an indomitable opponent of the Vietnam War. A leader of the draft resistance movement, a proponent of civil disobedience, Coffin and four other antiwar activists (including Dr. Benjamin Spock) challenged provisions of the Selective Service Act. Tried in 1968, Coffin, Dr. Spock and two of the other three were convicted of conspiracy, but the verdicts were overturned on appeal. In 1978, Coffin was called to the very visible pulpit of Riverside Church and as its Minister led the church into the center of the antinuclear movement. (He was also immortalized as the offbeat Rev. Scot Sloan in Doonesbury. )Though slowed by a stroke he suffered in 1999, Coffin spoke out against the Iraq war and, just last October, he founded a religious organization calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Dallas notes Mischa Gaus' "A Legal Limbo" (In These Times) which deals with one Guantanamo prisoner:
A Libyan, [Abdul Hamid Abud Salam] Al-Ghizzawi was invisible until he passed word through other detainees that he wanted a lawyer. Dozens of new detainees became known this way last year. [Candace] Gorman took his case in November.
"The fact that I’ve been representing my client for four months and yet I can’t communicate with him in any way is just ludicrous," Gorman says.
Gorman cannot see or talk with Al-Ghizzawi without filing a protective order with D.C.’s federal district court--an agreement that warns that she can be prosecuted for sharing classified information. The Justice Department is refusing to let those agreements be filed, because cases currently before the D.C. appeals court and the Supreme Court--Al Odah v. United States and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld--will affect what rights and legal venues detainees can access. The Supreme Court decided two years ago that detainees can challenge their detention, but until the latest cases are cleared everything else--including Gorman's emergency petition to see Al-Ghizzawi--has been sidelined.
Perversely, Al-Ghizzawi may be lucky. Recent disclosures of detainee records show not all even have habeas petitions filed on their behalf yet, says Barbara Olshansky, assistant legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is coordinating their legal fight. These motions allow prisoners to challenge the legality of their detention.
For these prisoners, legal aid may come too late. The Detainee Treatment Act, passed late in 2005 as a rider to a military appropriations bill, strips detainees of their right to challenge their detention in court. The administration is arguing that it retroactively removes habeas rights for all detainees.
Even for those few lawyers who had already filed protective orders, gaining access to their clients is difficult.
Now the 'justice' and loss, Malcolm Kendall-Smith.  Sentenced to eight months at the conclusion of his three day court martial but the issues involved in the case weren't as easily dismissed in the real world as they were in the trial.  James in Brighton notes
Robert Verkaik's "Court Martial highlights importance of legality of the war" (Independent of London):
Few controversies have divided the British people more than the question of the legality of the war with Iraq.
Among those who believe the 2003 conflict to be unlawful are some of the world's leading experts on international law, who maintain that without a second UN resolution the American and British forces lacked the authority to invade Iraq.
Leading the argument for the British Government is Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General. He told the Prime Minister that UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which found Saddam Hussein to have failed to disarm, could be used to justify war without a second resolution being passed, if it could be shown that Iraq was still in direct breach.
But it is now clear that even Lord Goldsmith had his reservations about the Government's position because of worries that 1441 did not explicitly set out the conditions upon which military action could be taken.
Yesterday's court martial in Aldershot is further evidence that the question of whether the invasion was unlawful is not merely of interest to international jurists.
More on the issues can be found in Gareth's highlight, George Galloway's "Rebellion in the ranks" (Guardian of London):
The film Winter Soldier is finding a new audience through the networks of the anti-war movement -- and with good reason. Made in 1972 by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, it depicts the height of the revolt behind the lines that was one of the decisive factors in ending that war, the other two being the popular anti-war movement and, above all, the resistance of the Vietnamese people.
The revolt in the ranks of the US military hamstrung the Pentagon for over a decade and a half. But throughout that time organised opposition to war by military personnel and their families seemed a uniquely American phenomenon. Not any more.
The court martial of Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, an RAF doctor, is highlighting the gathering opposition and incipient revolt within the British armed forces to the Iraq war and occupation. Kendall-Smith is refusing deployment to Iraq. He told the court in Aldershot that disobeying illegal orders is "a duty under international law" and referred to "the Nuremburg principles and the law of armed conflict". That was before the judge cut him off and said the illegality of the war was not the issue. Kendall-Smith's argument caught my eye: I made it three years ago and it was one of the reasons I was expelled from the Labour party.
Now, that sentiment is spreading throughout the British military, their families and many of the relatives of the 103 personnel who have been killed in Iraq. The organisation Military Families Against the War (MFAW) was little noticed in the media when it was launched by a small number of courageous individuals, headed by the indomitable Rose Gentle, who lost her son Gordon in Iraq. But that has not stopped it taking off to such an extent that it now receives many emails and phone calls weekly not only from military families, but also from those serving in the military. It is organising a nationwide protests on next Tuesday outside TA centres, and will be lobbying Parliament and heading for Downing Street on Wednesday April 26.
And Skip wanted to pass on that the verdict is much discussed in his area of Australia.  The verdict doesn't provide anything to be pleased with; however, it has raised the issues. DK notes in an e-mail that he feels as though the verdict is registering in his area (in Germany) because a lot of the people who supported the war early on have had to face "ugly realities."  He says that during the court martial and since the verdict, he's had conversations not just with his anti-war friends but with people who supported the war at the outset.  Polly's going to be addressing the topic Sunday in Polly's Brew so look for that.  Skip noted Malcolm Brown, Deborah Snow and Mark Coultan's "Doctor jailed for following his conscience" (Australia's Sydney Morning Herald):
AN eight-month jail term handed out in Britain to an Australian-born Royal Air Force doctor, Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, has provoked debate on whether an individual's private morality can override the duty to obey orders.
Kendall-Smith, 37, was found guilty of refusing to serve in Iraq by a jury of RAF officers at a court martial in Aldershot, in southern England.
Kendall-Smith was born in Brisbane before moving to New Zealand to study medicine. He also took a doctorate in philosophy, receiving top grades for his thesis on the secular and rational morality of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
Charles Pigden, a senior lecturer in philosophy who marked Kendall-Smith's thesis, said: "Kant was the philosopher who makes doing the right thing of critical importance. People who are interested in Kant's ethics, they're keen on morality.
"Maybe Dr Kendall-Smith thought that in joining the British armed forces he wouldn't be getting into morally dubious stuff. Which sadly proved not to be the case."
While punitive action for refusal to obey orders is rare, in the lead-up to the first Gulf War in 1990, an Australian sailor, leading seaman Terry Jones, was court-martialled after jumping ship in Perth when HMAS Adelaide was due to go to the Gulf.
Outraged by television footage of the then US president, George Bush snr, playing golf and refusing to answer questions on the Middle East crisis, Jones decided he wanted out. "I am prepared to die to defend my country, but not to protect US oil lines," he said.
Despite his protests that it was a moral issue, Jones received a suspended sentence of 21 days' detention, was reduced in rank to able seaman and was docked four days' pay.
In other places and times, the line-of-command reaction to moral resistance by soldiers has varied widely.
Last highlight?  Polly's.  Saturday Seymour Hersh turned 69 years-old.  Sunday, he was pretty much the focus of the entire world in terms of journalists.  As the week concludes (Polly calls it "Hersh Week"), check out Julian Borger's "I feel like I did in the Vietnam days -- I hate to pay taxes just so they can go and bomb more people" (Guardian of London):
A generation ago aspiring journalists looked up to the Watergate team of Woodward and Bernstein as their idols. But times have changed. One half of the Washington Post duo, Carl Bernstein, has moved into academia, while Bob Woodward has grown rich and part of the Washington establishment.
His books on the Bush administration have leant heavily on interviews granted by the president and his top aides. Far from shaking the administration, they were advertised as recommended reading by the Bush re-election campaign.
The only investigative journalist from that era who is still giving the administration sleepless nights is Seymour Hersh, whose scoops in the New Yorker have become a centrepiece in the debate over the US "global war on terror".
This week's extraordinary report alleging that George Bush had not only made up his mind to topple the Iranian government, but was also toying with the idea of doing it with a tactical nuclear weapon, was a telling example of his influence. If any other journalist had produced the story, it would almost certainly have been laughed off. Because Hersh wrote it, it was front-page news around the world, notwithstanding Mr Bush's insistence it was all "wild speculation". The White House stopped short of denying the story, saying only that the Pentagon was conducting "normal military contingency planning".
The problem for the president is that the man known in Washington as Sy has become an institution with more credibility than the administrations that come and go in this fickle city.
Remember these two upcoming Un-embed the Media appearances (one is tomorrow):
* Amy Goodman in Castleton, VT: Sat, Apr 15 *
Tenth Annual Women's Studies Conference
Fine Arts Center, Castleton State College, Castleton, VT 05735
Free and Open to the Public
For more information: contact Dr Sanjukta Ghosh,, 802-468-1445
* Amy Goodman in New York, NY: Tues, Apr 18 *
"Stuff Happens" post show discussion
The Public Theater
For more information:
425 Lafayette St.
New York, 10003
A provocative and thoughtful play about how and why we went to war in
Iraq, Stuff Happens brings to the stage an ongoing story of great national
and international importance, with characters and dialogue seemingly ripped
from today's headlines. Inspired by actual events, both public and private,
that have been authenticated from multiple sources, Stuff Happens is a
powerful history play that brilliantly transforms "real life" into profound
On the Tuesday item, Micah states that it's been stated James Ridgeway will be at that event.
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Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. PC-to-Phone calls for ridiculously low rates.

Other Items

Americans see illegal immigrants as using more public services than they pay for and want the government to do a better job of controlling the borders, but they favor legal status for current illegal immigrants under specific conditions, according to national polls released this week.

The above is from Marjorie Connelly's "In Polls, Illegal Immigrants Are Called Burden" in this morning's New York Times. Which doesn't tell you much of anything but it does demonstrate how the paper continues to portray the issue -- in the wide shot, from a distance. It was true of the demonstrations coverage, it's true of the undocumented workers coverage. Having never made any real effort to portray the undocumented workers, they're now happy to play "A poll says." Some call it reporting (others think of it as the equivalent to a junior high book report).

Cindy notes Juan Gonzalez' "Out From the Shadows" (New York Daily News via Common Dreams):

Jose Chicas had longed for this moment ever since 1982, when as a young man he fled the civil war in his native El Salvador and crossed illegally into California.
Over all those years of pickup construction jobs for low wages, Chicas kept dreaming that all hardworking immigrants like himself would one day step out of the shadows, cast off their fears of being deported and finally demand respect.
Yesterday afternoon, Chicas stood proudly on the back of a pickup truck watching his dream come true in the brilliant spring sunshine of lower Manhattan.
Around him were hundreds of fellow members from Local 79 of the Laborers' International Union, all signing in with Chicas for their union's contingent at the big immigrant rights rally at City Hall. He carefully distributed the union's bright orange T-shirts to each of them.
By 5 p.m., the throngs from the big City Hall rally stretched north along Broadway for more than 15 blocks, as police seemed surprised by the size of the turnout.
The torrent of chanting faces and flags stretched past Canal St., paralyzing rush-hour traffic in every direction.
The same scene was repeated all across America, as hundreds of thousands of janitors, hotel workers, gardeners, nannies and unskilled factory hands streamed into the streets of more than 100 cities.
Never -- not even at the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s - has there been such an outpouring of our nation's huddled masses as during the past few weeks over this immigration debate.
Don't buy for a moment the nonsense that these protests don't matter, that all these marchers are illegal immigrants who can't vote so the politicians can simply ignore them.

Juan Gonzalez? Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today. Also note that the topic will be covered by Kris Welch on KPFA today (time given is Pacific):

12:00 pm
Living Room
The leaders of the Republican Party have awakened a giant: the massive, active movement of immigrants. Meanwhile, the Congress fiddles with immigration legislation, and more marches are coming.

Zach notes Robert Parry's "George W. Bush IS a Liar" (Consortium News) which continues the anti-Connelly nature of the other highlights:

The White House is taking umbrage over new press reports that George W. Bush misled the American people on a key justification for invading Iraq. But Bush's latest excuse -- that he was just an unwitting conveyor of bad information, not a willful purveyor of lies -- has been stretched thin by overuse.
Nevertheless, White House spokesman Scott McClellan lashed out at a Washington Post report that in May 2003, Bush described two Iraqi trailers as mobile biological weapons labs although two days earlier a Pentagon field investigation had debunked those suspicions in a report to Washington.
"The lead in the Washington Post left the impression for the reader that the President was saying something he knew at the time not to be true," McClellan said on
April 12, 2006. "That is absolutely false and it is irresponsible, and I don’t know how the Washington Post can defend something so irresponsible."
But the truth is that Bush has been caught, again and again, relying on lies and distortions to confuse the American people about the Iraq War. Sometimes, he can blame U.S. intelligence agencies for the false information, but other times, he simply lies about facts that he personally knows.
For instance, just weeks after Bush made his false statement about the bio-labs, he also began rewriting the history of the Iraq War to make his invasion seem more reasonable.

If you use the link and would like more, or if you prefer audio, as Rebecca noted in "flashpoints and indymedia," Robert Parry was a guest on yesterday's Flashpoints (audio available at the previous link or at the archives for KPFA or KPFT).

Charlie notes Margaret Kimberley's "McKinney, DeLay and Distraction" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

The corporate media and the American political system have a relationship that can only be described as corrupt. The media long ago rendered themselves incapable of informing the public of anything important or providing any meaningful analysis. They no longer even bother to hide their bias in favor of right wing politics and corporate interests.
The conflict of interest was made obvious when Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney became involved in an incident with a Capitol Hill police officer. At the same time, Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, indicted for conspiracy and money laundering, announced that he would not run for re-election.

If Cynthia McKinney hadn't gotten into a shoving match with a cop, she would have to have been invented. The media would have had to tell us more about Katie Couric's move to CBS, celebrity gossip, or a runaway bride, anything to distract us from Republican criminality.
DeLay continued his snake-like ways until the very end. He stayed in a race he was likely to lose because campaign funds can also be used to pay for legal fees. Tom will have to pay plenty for his lawyers, hence the eleventh hour announcement that he was bowing out.

Also from The Black Commentator, and on the same topic, Carl notes Glen Ford and Peter Gamble's "The McKinney Affair:"

There are profound lessons to be learned from the ongoing travails of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), under siege by white America at large, the leadership of her own party, and the chairman of her own caucus.
In the aftermath of McKinney’s run-in with a Capitol Hill police officer, we have witnessed an orgy of unadulterated defamation that is actually directed at Black women in general. In rejecting and denouncing McKinney's defense, her tormentors demonstrate that the very concept of racial profiling was never sincerely accepted among most white Americans, and that 9/11 is just an excuse for undoing decades of legal and political struggles against the abominable practice.
So virulent and shameless have been the attacks on McKinney -- spewing caricatures of the six-term lawmaker that reflect whites’ own hallucinatory visions of Black people -- it leads us to conclude that racists are conducting a kind of ritual, an exorcism to cast the "militant Black" out of the national polity, once and for all. Disgustingly, a number of Black voices have joined mob, in order to prove that they are reasonable and trustworthy Negroes who won’t intrude on white folks’ illusions of innocence.
Most distressingly, the McKinney affair dramatically demonstrates that the Congressional Black Caucus has been eviscerated as a body. The CBC is revealed as collectively gutless, devoid of any semblance of Black solidarity, without which it has no reason for being.

And we'll close out the highlights with the anti-Dexter Filkins, Brenda notes
David Enders' "Letter From Baghdad: The Growing Sectarian Divide" (The Nation):

The Imam Al-Ridha neighborhood in north Baghdad is one of the city's newest. Its houses have been hastily constructed of cinderblocks, and the streets are unpaved. There are fifty-five families here already, and more are on the way. At the entrance to the neighborhood a photo-mural depicts recent Shiite tragedies: the death of more than 1,000 people during a pilgrimage in 2005, the burial of martyrs during uprisings against the US military in 2004 and the end of the 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein, with his military occupying a holy shrine.
The neighborhood itself is a testament to an event that is not depicted: All the families here have left their homes in other parts of central Iraq, fleeing escalating sectarian violence. "One of my neighbors, a Sunni, came to me and said, 'I advise you to leave this area,'" says Abu Ali, who left his home of fifteen years in Taji, about forty-five minutes north of the capital, for Imam Al-Ridha two months ago, after his brother was abducted.

The problems in Taji, a mixed city with a Sunni majority, began shortly after the US invasion. "We thought the American soldiers came here to protect us," Abu Ali says. "So when someone would plant a bomb or try to attack them, we would tell the Americans." Providing aid to the occupier quickly led to retribution from the Sunni resistance. But the violence has escalated since December's elections, and again following the destruction of the Shiite Askariya shrine in Samarra in February. In the past two months tens of thousands have fled.

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NYT: Fifth General calls for Rumsfeld to step down (David S. Cloud & Edward Wong)

The widening circle of retired generals who have stepped forward to call for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation is shaping up as an unusual outcry that could pose a significant challenge to Mr. Rumsfeld's leadership, current and former generals said on Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., who led troops on the ground in Iraq as recently as 2004 as the commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, on Thursday became the fifth retired senior general in recent days to call publicly for Mr. Rumsfeld's ouster. Also Thursday, another retired Army general, Maj. Gen. John Riggs, joined in the fray.

The above is from David S. Cloud and Eric Schmitt's "More Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld's Resignation" in this morning's New York Times. Bully Boy's probably asking himself what would Andrew Card say? Maybe that you don't change the car model right before the fall rollout?

ADDED: Fifth? Sixth. My count was wrong.

From today's Democracy Now!:

6th Ex-Military Commander Calls For Rumsfeld's Resignation
Here in the United States, another high-ranking retired military commander has publicly called for the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In an interview with the New York Times, Major General Charles Swannack Jr. said: "I do not believe Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person to fight that war based on his absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam in Iraq." Up until 2004, Swannack was the commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. He is now the sixth retired general to call for Rumsfeld's resignation in recent weeks. On Thursday White House spokesperson Scott McClellan defended Rumsfeld, saying he is doing a "very fine job."

On that topic, Mia notes Missy Comley Beattie's "The Boy President Who Cried, 'Wolf'" (CounterPunch):

"Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!" When the villagers came to help the boy who cried, "Wolf," the boy laughed. He had been bored.
"WMD! WMD! Saddam has WMD!"
When no WMD were found, the boy president said: "Regime change ... evil dictator." But he was pulling the wool over the eyes of the public so they couldn't see that he was just trying to get reelected. And he wanted oil.
"Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong!"
George W. Bush is the boy who cried, "Wolf! Wolf!" George W. Bush is the boy president who cried out even though there was no threat from Iraq. George W. Bush is the boy who cried out and spent every bit of his political capital. And now there's nothing left. But there is a whole lot wrong.

As for the White House's position, Martha notes Peter Baker's "White House Defends Rumsfeld's Tenure" (Washington Post):

The White House came to the aid of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday, rebuffing calls from several retired generals for his resignation and crediting him with leading the Pentagon through two wars and a transformation of the military.
"The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said at a briefing. He went on to read long quotations from the nation's top military officer, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, praising Rumsfeld's dedication and patriotism.

As a video reviewer, Edward Wong is lucky to be writing for the New York Times. However, there is an interesting passage in his "Al Qaeda's Man in Iraq Gets Encouragement From His HQ:"

The Washington Post reported this week that the American military started a propaganda campaign years ago to portray Mr. Zarqawi as a towering villain in order to galvanize Iraqi opinion against him. Some military officials have said that campaign has enlarged Mr. Zarqawi's reputation, The Post reported.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a military spokesman who often attributes violence in Iraq to Mr. Zarqawi's group, released a statement in response saying Mr. Zarqawi was a substantial enemy, not a boogeyman concocted by the military.

Years ago? It's an ongoing campaign. And "The Post" (Thomas E. Ricks) reported that and also noted Dexy Filkins, the name that just keep giving (giggles), as someone who was fed, swallowed and . . . let's say spat, okay, spat out the propaganda. This is how it goes. This is how the Times proves, day in and day out, that not a damn thing changed with the mea culpa. The Green Zone press releases remain unexplored. When Dexter Filkins is fingered by the Post and even has a comment for the article as to why he repeated propaganda, the paper of record acts like it just didn't happen. Newsflash for the Times and Filkins, it's not over. It's not going away. What went into print Monday was just the start. It's almost a year since we first noted that Filkins is a joke to his peers. (That would be mainstream reporters.) And warned that velvet finger touch of Terry Gross would be far from the treatment he should expect. So he's outed by "The Post" on Monday and, on Friday, the New York Timid kinda' sorta' addresses it to their readers by noting that "The Post" stated a propagand campaign started years ago but failing to note that "The Post" has Dexy named and has Dexy on the record. The new Judith Miller is named. And the Times' responds how? With a non-response. That ought to build trust between it and the subscribers. Timid think its singing the lines to the Rolling Stones' "One Hit to the Body" (off Dirty Work -- how appropriate). They are mistaken.

Reminder, check inboxes for the latest gina & krista round-robin (should be in them now or shortly) -- among the highlights: Billie and Eddie report on the immigrant rights demonstrations in Texas, Maria and Zach, Cedric, Dona and Jim on the ones in California, Rachel on the big march in NYC; Mike, Wally and Jess on student activism in California and there's a roundtable with members who participated in immigrants rallies and demonstrations across the country.

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)

I have been convicted and sentenced, a very distressing experience. But I still believe I was right to make the stand that I did and refuse to follow orders to deploy to Iraq -- orders I believe were illegal. I am resigned to what may happen to me in the next few months. I shall remain resilient and true to my beliefs which, I believe, are shared by so many others.
Iraq was the only reason I could not follow the order to deploy. As a commissioned officer, I am required to consider every order given to me. Further, I am required to consider the legality of such an order not only as to its effect on domestic but also international law. I was subjected, as was the entire population, to propaganda depicting force against Iraq to be lawful. I have studied in very great depth the various commentaries and briefing notes, including one prepared by the Attorney General, and in particular the main note to the PM dated 7 March 2003. I have satisfied myself that the actions of the armed forces with the deployment of troops were an illegal act -- as indeed was the conflict. To comply with an order that I believe unlawful places me in breach of domestic and international law, something I am not prepared to do.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a campaign of imperial military conquest and falls into the category of criminal acts. I would have had criminal responsibility vicariously if I had gone to Iraq. I still have two great loves in life -- medicine and the RAF. To take the decision that I did caused great sadness, but I had no other choice.

The above are the words of Malcolm Kendall-Smith who has been sentenced to eight months in prison as his three day court martial concluded. James in Brighton steers us to Kim Sengupta's "Prisoner of conscience: RAF doctor who refused Iraq service is jailed" (Independent of London) for the story. Statements on the sentencing from the article:

Kate Hudson, chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "Many people believe the war in Iraq was an illegal war and therefore we would consider he was quite within his rights and it was indeed commendable he believed it was right to stand up to what he considered to be an illegal instruction to engage in an illegal war. We have full sympathy for him and he has our full support. We consider it to be a commendable and moral act."
Lindsey German, convener for the Stop the War Coalition, said: "The majority of public opinion agree this war was not based on international law."

Thursday's KPFA Evening News also contains a lengthy report, from Lonon, on the trial. Some battles are lost, some are won. Zach notes a victory and steers us to Students Against War's "Students Kick Military Recruiters Off UC Santa Cruz: Military Prevented from Recruiting for Third Straight Job Fair" (Santa Cruz Indymedia):

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- It's been over a year and a half since the military has been able to effectively recruit on this UC campus as all their attempts have been met by mass student actions. Today, in spite of the pouring rain and administrative attempts to stifle students' free speech, Students Against War (SAW) organized over 150 students to march from the center of campus to the job fair, where they nonviolently prevented access to military recruiters through sit-ins and other measures. After about an hour and a half of negotiations and students’ refusal to back down, military recruiters left the job fair.
The students' first victory appeared early in the day, as administrators separated military recruiters from other employers, allowing the protesters to block access to the military, while the remainder of the job fair continued. This separation was the only one of SAW's proposals for protecting free speech to be adopted by administrators, who still banned media from the event. The successful protest was also significant in light of the fact that University administrators hired, at great cost to the school, a number of police from other UC campuses. These police, local officers, and a top local official, physically assaulted multiple students without provocation and repeatedly refused to provide identification when requested.
Students were pushed, punched, choked, and a student's hand was slammed in a door. One student, acting as a legal observer, was pushed and arrested for documenting police surveillance, but was released after an immediate display of student support. The student may face charges in the future, which SAW intends to vehemently resist. In the face of administrative and police repression the students remained remarkably peaceful.

More information can be found at

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Thursday, indymedia roundup, focus on the war. Last Thursday, the American military fatality count stood at 2345. Right now? 2369 with forty-one for the month of April. And those aren't the only fatalities. We've been over this before, we'll go over it again (I'm sure) but at some point, a visitor e-mails and says, "Why don't you give the number of the Iraqis who are dead?"
I'd guess it's easily half a million. That's my guess. (Conservative guess.) Show me a reliable figure and we'll highlight it. Which is the perfect introduction to Ned's highlight, Dahr Jamail's
"Learning to Count: The Dead in Iraq" ( via Iraq Dispatches):

I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis.
-- George W. Bush, December 12, 2005, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Does it count?
How many Iraqis have died as the result of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of their country remains an unresolved question in the anti-war movement. It is a question the pro-war camp avoids. Yet what more important question is there?
The above quote made by the "compassionate conservative" shows a disturbing trend in the corporate media and amongst the spokespersons of the current powers that be, to camouflage the true cost of the illegal occupation of Iraq - the cost in blood paid by Iraqis. It is a trend that ensures that the enormity of the atrocity goes unnoticed.
Mr. Bush has cited a figure which is obviously taken from the popular anti-war web site
Iraq Body Count (IBC), which proudly refers to its work on its home page as "The worldwide update of reported civilian deaths in the Iraq war and occupation." This project estimates a minimum and maximum death count, which as of April 12 had the minimum number of Iraqi dead at 34,030 and the maximum at 38,164. We shall provide a brief description of their biased and flawed methodology after looking at the true level of casualties in Iraq.
We begin with a more accurate number provided by the British medical journal
The Lancet on October 29, 2004. The published results of their survey "Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey" stated, "Making conservative assumptions, we think about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths." The report also added that "Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children," and that "Eighty-four percent of the deaths were reported to be caused by the actions of Coalition forces."
The report, whose findings have been strongly criticized, not surprisingly, by pro-war camps as well as, surprisingly, by researchers at Iraq Body Count, has been backed by established, credible sources.

Know who keeps a count? The administration. That was obvious when they gave out a number of fatalties that they stated had died from "insurgents." They've got a number. The claim that they don't "do body counts" is a false one. They do them. They will partially release them when they hope to manipulate public opinion. When Bully Boy used the figure, we noted that the mainstream press would run with it (from Iraqi Body Count). They have. As Dahr Jamail notes, in the must read article, it's an undercount (to put it mildly) that Iraqi Body Count puts out. Here, we have refrained from noting their figure for that reason. It gives a "things aren't that bad" spin.

Whatever the motives for compiling as they do, the war drags on and they are now assisting it. During Vietnam, when the body counts were altered, there was outrage (rightly) and people were very vocal. The fact that IBC is not an arm of the government doesn't mean it's correct or that it should be applauded.

Those who want to justify the occuaption can flip over to IBC and feel that it's not that bad because the number's only X and the war has gone on for over three years. See, they can tell themselves, it is possible for a "win." I can be wrong (and often am) but I would not link to government propaganda if this were the sixites and we were in Vietnam, I won't link to non-governmental propaganda. Whether they inted to be propaganda or not, as Dahr Jamail points out, that's what they've become.

While we're talking figures, we'll note (again) that the fatality count we use is based upon those who died in Iraq. If a soldier is airlifted out and dies after that, it's not counted. These are only deaths that take place on Iraq soil.

What takes place on Iraq soil? Death and dying, wounds and invasions, fear and a cycle of violence that won't stop while the illegal occupation continues. Which is why we need independent media. Voices like Dahr Jamail have been out there truth-telling from the beginning. "Embedded in our heart" was the title the community gave to him in our 2004 end of the year entry. That's because he didn't need a change in perception or a poll to report what was going on. He didn't need courage to be handed to him to practice honest journalism.

But honest journalism is under attack -- always. And one example of the latest attempts to gut independent journalism? Micah notes Democracy Now!'s "Village Voice Shakeup: Top Investigative Journalist Fired, Prize-Winning Writers Resign Following Merger with New Times Media:"

AMY GOODMAN: We are also joined on the telephone by Tim Redmond. He is the executive editor at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Tim, why is this a story that you feel is a national story? We’re talking to you from New York.
TIM REDMOND: I’ll tell you why it's a national story. It's a national story, because the alternative press has always been kind of feisty, independent, challenging the status quo, and the alternative press has always been about independent media, has been about independent voices. And, you know, it sounds kind of hokey, but I got into this business 25 years ago, because, you know, I thought I could help change the world. And I’m not saying the alternative press has changed the world, but I think the Village Voice has made a huge difference in New York, and the Bay Guardian, where I work, has made a huge difference in San Francisco, and that's something.
And what the folks from New Times, now known as Village Voice Media, want to do, they want to buy up alternative papers all around the country and make them all the same. You know, I don't think anyone should own 17 alternative papers. And I particularly don't think a company run by people who despise activism, who are not activists and don't think of themselves journalistically as activists, who don't endorse candidates, who don't take stands on issues, who haven't even come out against the war, should be taking over the Village Voice. It's really sad. I mean, the Voice was always part of the activist tradition of the alternative press. And, you know, in the same way that a few big chains like Gannett have bought up and control most of the daily newspapers in the United States and a few big corporations like Clear Channel control an awful lot of the radio, a few big corporations control most of the TV, if we go that way in the alternative press, it's going to be very sad, particularly, as I say, when it is an operation that doesn't believe in activist politics. That's not what the alternative press has been about.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Tim, a question. New Times has a reputation, supposedly, for hard-hitting local investigative stories in many of their other chains. How do you reconcile that "reputation" with their current moves, in terms of the Village Voice?
TIM REDMOND: New Times has some good journalists, and they have done some good stories. I’ve never doubted that. But they don't believe in providing progressive community leadership on issues. They'll do some investigative reporting, and there's nothing wrong with that. But when it comes to the role the alternative press has always taken, which is to provide activist leadership, they don't believe in it.
Besides, you know, I don't care if Mike Lacey wants to run a kind of neo-libertarian paper down in Phoenix and say whatever he wants to say and do whatever he wants to do. But once he tries to take papers all over the country and make them all the same, you know, it's kind of like the Borg. They sweep into town, they take over a paper, and they remold it in their own image so it's exactly like all of the other New Times papers. If you go from city to city to city, you know, Denver, Phoenix, you go around, Houston and Miami, they all look the same. They all have the same voice. They all have the same tone. And that's not good for the alternative press, and I would say that's not good for the United States. It's not good for progressive politics. This is not what the alternative press is about.

Micah says that the above and the remark about a 'weekly shopper" sum up his feelings on the death of The Village Voice. A visitor pointed out that we had highlighted them. We have. We probably still will (New Times Media). We highlighted an article that appeared in the East Bay Express and that did become a huge story (trading photos of porn for shots of the dead in Iraq was the subject of the article). That's one article. With all their "resources," that's one article.

Prior to the takeover, members were highlighting from the Voice repeatedly. New Times Media is all that is wrong with the alternative weekly scene.

High school drug pusher back in town five years later! Get the scoop on the X-epidemic! Then it's this long winded portrayal of a kid from the suburbs, with what many would see as "breaks," and how he and his peers (also having what many would see as "breaks") ended up on the path they were on. Ladies' Home Journal wouldn't run some of those bad fluffed out features.

Eddie points out that the Dallas Observer used to seriously look at the shortcomings of Belo but that happens "rarely now" and the columnist responsible for those articles has to compete with "boner jokes, 'tude and this week's crisis out of Highland Park for a little space." Eddie also notes that the call made here a few weeks back was correct: "They love their sports stories. They love their drug stories. When they can combine sports and drugs, they are in hog heaven while the readers re left in the pig stye." Will we highlight the Voice again? If they rehire James Ridgeway. If they don't, screw 'em, there's more than enough other things to highlight. As for their other holdings, if, for instance, a member highlights The OC Weekly, and it's a strong highlight, we'll note it. (I believe we've highlighted at least one editorial from it before -- I could be wrong because most New Times publications do not feature editorials -- might offend a shopper, I guess, or interfere with the company's fondness for fence sitting. )

New Times it tabloid journalism (with plenty of 'tude). Can we find sex? Then we can flesh it out into a multi-page feature! And we'll call it "investigative journalism!"

Which only demonstrates how little they know about journalism. (Very little if they don't even know what category their stories fall into.) As for Ridgeway, it's not "about one person." (Visitor's assertion.) It is about the lack of respect for what he did and their need to play it like they're a really crappy cartoon put out by by people who have wrongly been applauded by far too many on the left. Nihilism isn't progressive. And coming off like the last aged, drunken, frat boy hollering out "Hootie!" at the kegger doesn't make for insight.

There are many other things we can highlight and if that's the new direction of The Village Voice, possibly it can be shared between the wanna-so-badly-to-be-bad Docker set and the Soccer Mommas? But not here.

Instead, we'll focus on more worthy outlets. Such as Walter's highlight. From Michael de Yoanna's "Mind Game: Post-traumatic stress disorder is crippling thousands of soldiers, but Fort Carson officials aren't ready to talk about it" (Colorado Springs Indymedia):

In a behind-the-lines job in Mosul, Iraq, former Staff Sgt. Jeff Peskoff hadn't conceived he'd be cleaning up burned-out troop vehicles splattered with blood and skin. But those memories have stuck with him.
Similarly, Mike Lemke, a former National Guard sergeant, will never forget watching dogs scavenge fingers from corpses as he helped secure Abu Ghraib prison for coalition forces.

Former Army Sgt. Jeana Torgerson can't escape the images of the prisoners of war she saw trying to hang themselves from their own sheets and clothing.
And in a prison cell in Washington state, Army Pvt. Adam Kaplan is haunted by hallucinations of the sergeant killed by shrapnel from Kaplan's own grenade launch.
Although now far from Iraq, these one-time Fort Carson soldiers still haven't retreated from the war. All are grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD. Those afflicted with the anxiety disorder compare it to losing a limb, yet the army does not acknowledge it with a Purple Heart.
For its sufferers, PTSD can be crippling.
"I wake up in the middle of the night with cold sweats," Torgerson says. "I can't have walls next to me because I wake up with bloody fists. I talk in my sleep, violently. I have flashbacks of memories, sound. Any moment I can go into crying episodes, and I don't know why."
Of the 505,366 troops who have left the military after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past four years, 144,424 have sought health care through Veterans Affairs. Of that number, 46,571 received preliminary diagnoses of mental disorders, including 20,638 with PTSD, according to the VA.
The numbers don't capture the full scope of the nation's growing PTSD caseload, however. Many former troops seek psychological help from private practices or other sources. Neither does the number account for PTSD sufferers currently enlisted in the military.

That's reality. It may not have a sports angle or a drug angle, but it is reality. We made our feelings known on the weeklies who waste space weeks ago. I read the Jacobson article and thought, "Oh, that's what it would have read like if Kenneth Tomlinson had gotten good press." Probably a feel good piece about him and his Harly. We are at war, as Bully Boy loves to say, but you couldn't tell that from the 'tude writing that New Times Media prefers. (It's doubtful they would have run the article on the photos of the Iraqi dead if the porn angle hadn't been there.) The war drags on and the likes of Lacey rush to assure you that it need not interfere with your night on the town. Sacrifice, the apparent message tells you, is for the suckers.

what good is a man
who won't take a stand
what good is a cynic
with no better plan
-- "Better Way" written by Ben Harper, on the album Both Sides of the Gun

Bully Boy's plan appears to repeat in 2006 what he did in 2002. It's not a "new" plan and it's certainly not a "better" plan but when independent voices are silenced, he stands a "better" chance of deceiving the public again.

Not everyone's all puff and no politics. Sierra notes Judith Scherr's "Protest Condemns UC Berkeley Law Professor" (Berkeley Daily Planet):

A crowd gathered Thursday on Bancroft Way outside UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law to denounce the United States' role in torture, the centralization of federal power in the executive branch and Boalt Hall Professor John Yoo, the man protesters condemn as the author of these policies.
[. . .]
Few students stopped to listen to the speakers or view the images of torture victims. Ima Davis, with The World Can't Wait organization, said she was demoralized "passing out flyers and people just passing by. I've been noticing that these people, who are my peers--because they're just about my age--are not taking flyers and just walking by, or even acknowledging that torturing is going on or stopping to find out what is happening right now.
"It will keep on happening if people don't come out and speak out against it. That's what I'm trying to do," Davis said.
The Thursday protests continue through May. On April 14 Andres Contera, on the staff of the radio news magazine "Democracy Now!," and whose family was tortured in Uruguay, will speak at 4:30 p.m. about United States' torture in Latin American and the relevance to Bush's torture policy today. Information can be found on the Buddhist Peace Fellowship web site.

Well maybe the ones who couldn't be bothered to stop and watch the demonsration or look at a flier did pick up a freebie East Bay Express and figured out what to do that weekend? The mainstream media never followed up on their Sept. 12th promise to get serious (prime example of the sewer that is broadcast mainstream media: Diane Sawyer's much publicized interview with Tom Cruise tomorrow night -- thank God for the "news" magazine Prime Time Live and for Sawyer!). Alternative weeklies shouldn't have to be goaded into covering the events that matter. The protest against Yoo is far larger than a protest in the early nineties that Murdoch publicized and gave national attention to. The Berkeley Daily Planet is covering it. If others were, this might be national news.

Fortunately some do cover the Yoo issue. Last week, Zach noted Erin Podlipnik's "Protesting Yoo" (San Francisco Bay Guardian) and tonight Tori notes Stephen Holmes' "John Yoo's Tortured Logic" (The Nation):

At the Justice Department between 2001 and 2003, Berkeley law professor John Yoo crafted a series of now notorious legal opinions. In them, he spelled out the fundamentals of a secret emergency Constitution under which the President's inherent powers in the "war on terror" are essentially unlimited. In the wake of 9/11, Yoo argued, the United States was at war in a constitutional sense, and consequently Congress and the courts could no longer purport to second-guess or interfere with or even learn about the President's national-security decisions, however momentous. Supposedly vital for fighting mass-casualty terrorism, Yoo's presidential Constitution was never publicly discussed or debated. Instead, it began to leak out, one memo at a time, only after important policy choices had been made on the basis of its presumed authority. The memos claimed to provide legal grounds for a whole range of now hotly contested decisions concerning indefinite executive detention without access to counsel, harsh interrogation techniques, rendition to countries known for torture, the establishment of clandestine prisons for "ghost detainees," the assassination of terrorist suspects by US hit squads worldwide and (we have learned) warrantless surveillance of telephone and e-mail communications between the United States and overseas.
Many and perhaps most constitutional scholars viewed these policies, to the extent that they knew about them, as legally dubious acts of executive-branch overreaching. But Yoo's carte blanche constitutionalism suited the ambitions of Dick Cheney and the other architects of Bush's gloves-off response to 9/11. Adherence to legal principles or procedural requirements, they believed, would have forced them to fight ruthless terrorists with one arm tied behind their backs. Legalistic niceties--such as the presumption of innocence and squeamishness about mistaken identity--only played into the hands of the enemy.
Addressing himself to impatient officials bridling at statutory and other restrictions, the 35-year-old government lawyer proved obliging. Laws that cramp the executive, including requirements of transparency and oversight associated with checks and balances, are unconstitutional infringements of the President's authority, he made clear. The Commander in Chief can confidently dispense with rules that had previously governed the intelligence community. Indeed, he should be freed from all constraints that might conceivably cripple the US side in the battle against transnational terror. The President's ultimate duty to protect and defend the nation, the memos collectively advised, gives him the right, if he so wishes, not only to ignore Congress and the courts but also deliberately to deceive them, and the public at large, for the sake of national security.

Another topic that was under-reported was the March for Peace. Did NPR not cover it? (Laura Flanders did.) If you see something, we're still noting it. Heath asked about that in his e-mail highlighting Jeff Paterson's "241 mile 'March for Peace' report" (Not In Our Name):

I enlisted in the "coalition of the willing" gathered by Gold Star father for peace Fernando Suarez del Solar and Iraq War military resister Pablo Paredes in Fresno, California. By that point they were already nearing the 200 mile mark of their 241 mile "March for Peace" ("Peregrinacion Por la Paz") from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Francisco, California.
From Fresno youth marching and chanting for eight hours straight, to thousands joining our ranks in Watsonville and Salinas, to being met by and speaking to hundreds of students at a half dozen Oakland schools, to finally arriving in San Francisco as thousands of youth had taken over downtown to demand respect for immigrants, everyday was simply amazing.

The link takes you to photos, videos, you name it. And if you come off across coverage that we missed or that is just emerging on the March for Peace, please e-mail to note it. Who would've thought it would be turned into hidden history in real time? With few exceptions that's what's happened.

On the topic of hidden history, a movie that shines a light on reality is working its way across the country. Sir! No! Sir! plays in NYC next week. Judy notes Wanda Sabir's "An interview with David Zeiger, director of 'Sir! No Sir!'" (San Francisco Bay View):

Wanda Sabir: You cover so much in just under two hours. Talk about the way you frame the story with such powerful narratives. How did you locate these people? Were they people you'd met in your own anti-war work?
David Zeiger: It's a big story, (the director states modestly).
WS: It's a huge story! I concur.
I was wondering, since you are in Southern California, if you knew of the art exhibition at the Oakland Museum last year on the Vietnam War and California as a military industrial complex, staging ground, launching pad and resettlement camp for returning GIs and Vietnamese refugees.
DZ: Absolutely! That exhibit is now at the African American Museum in LA.
WS: Many of the artifacts I saw were unclear, with regards to their significance, like the war newspapers, the leaflets dropped on the military bases and much of the unrest, turmoil, especially in 1968. Missed completely were the connections between GIs as aggressors in Asia and GIs as aggressors at home in response to civil unrest after King's murder and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
I was a kid, so I missed all of this. When the war was ending I was about 10 or 11. I didn't know what any of this meant when I went to the exhibit. I didn't know about the newspapers. When I saw the anti-war leaflets dropped on the military bases, Jane Fonda's involvement - I didn't know the huge impact of any of this or the consequences to celebrities' careers.
I wasn't aware of the extent of organization present in the anti-war movement or the war against the war inside the military industrial complex on all levels and all branches -- officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted soldiers -- a fact covered so well in "Sir! No Sir!"
Then there's the pivotal year of 1968 and the "Tet Offensive" (, the year America lost the most soldiers. "Sir! No Sir!" would have given a much broader dimension to "What's Going On? California and the Vietnam War." However, you said that 9/11 made the story you tell with the film more relevant.
DZ: It was the impetus for making the film, yes.
WS: Do you want to talk about that?
DZ: Yeah, you know that's interesting. By the way, you're right that that exhibit doesn't have anything about the GI Movement in it. I think that's reflective of how thoroughly that whole reality has been eliminated from public consciousness in all spectrums -- it's not there. Since I have been making films in the '90s, I know this story because I was a part of it. Again, I think it was a reflection of what I'm talking about, the fact that that time, the '90s, it wasn't the story that I felt would have any resonance that people would pay attention to. Vietnam and that era had been so caricatured and stereotyped, and everyone was kind of sick of it.
Sept. 11 really was on the whole essentially the declaration of war on the world by George (W.) Bush. Particularly the invasion of Afghanistan and the build-up to the invasion of Iraq literally compelled me to make the film. (I thought,) "OK, now this story has to be told!" (The director laughs) You know what I mean?
WS: Right.
DZ: And now the story will not be about the old days; it will be about today as well. That has definitely been the response we have gotten so far, even before its opening in theatres, at festivals and limited screenings we've been doing.

NYC dates for Sir! No! Sir! are:

April 17 -- Preview Screening
New York, NY,
IFC Center
327 6TH AVE.
(212) 924-7771
Click here for more details
April 19 --
327 6TH AVE.
(212) 924-7771

We'll close with Charlie's highlight, Fil-Am Students for Justice's "IN MEMORY OF ANTHONY SOLTERO" (LA Indymedia):

We in the Coalition of Filipino-American Students for Justice and Peace condemn the persecution to death of the eighth-grade student Anthony Soltero, urge that his tormentor be brought to justice, and call for a stop to the fascist intimidation, inquisition and repression by authorities of student protesters for immigrant rights. We express our deepest bereavement to his parents, relatives, friends, classmates, and the hundreds of thousands of fellow student protesters he left behind.
Anthony Soltero, a leader of the heroic April 28 student walk-outs, committed suicide reportedly in direct response to threats by the De Danza Middle School vice-principal to jail him for his leadership in the protest actions.
In a previous statement, we had already denounced the narrow-minded medieval policy of locking down schools and preventing student street protests as effective imprisonment of the students and as a denial of their right to the wider, real-life education in genuine democracy and civic citizenship that the pro-immigrant protests provide. In that statement, we also had registered our opposition to the police-state tactics of sowing fear among students through acts of physical brutality, a policy paralleled by the psychological harassment of Anthony.
Anthony's suicide in a sense was a form of protest against and rejection of this policy. His life has been short in years but long in meaning and depth. Anthony's life and death illustrate that someone as young as he can acquire not merely the education, but more importantly the wisdom and integrity to believe in and join the struggle for social justice.
We enjoin all freedom-loving students and parents to act to ensure that Anthony's martyrdom will be not in vain. Let us turn our grief into courage to carry forward Anthony’s principled fight for full immigrant rights to its just and adequate conclusion. Inspired by Anthony’s legacy of conviction and leadership, let us struggle for anti-racist, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist justice for immigrants and students.

The e-mail address for this site is I will be up in less than three hours. Translation, do not expect much from the moring entries (or possibly entry) tomorrow (actually today).

Oh. Rebecca's "flashpoints and indymedia" and Cedric's "2005's honor (Marian Anderson) v. 2006's shame" and Seth's "Family Tradition" are recommended by Dona. (I've been working on this and haven't read anything but e-mails but I'll second Dona's recommendation.)