Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gordo's war-on, still dripping

My dear friend, Diane Baker, from Dallas-Ft. Worth who is a United Church of Christ Minister and fearless crusader for peace is also a grandmother, has a degenerative disease, and was sweeping garbage in DC for being arrested there this past October protesting the illegal and immoral war in Iraq: to save your children and the children of Iraq. Three grandmas are going to Federal Prison for 1-3 months each for protesting the inhumane and horrifically criminal School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Ga. They compromised the fence line protesting how the SOA (School of Assassins) training of murderers who oppress, torture and kill people all over the world...even throwing in a few South American dictators here and there. They did it to save your children and the children of the world.
My "grannies' in the Granny Peace Brigade get arrested over and over again all over the country trying to enlist in the US military to save your children and the children of Iraq.
Diane was sentenced to eight hours of sweeping trash in DC; which is a filthy city, but the trash that needs to be taken out resides in the White House. Diane was doing what each and every American has the right and the moral duty to do: she was exercising her First Amendment freedoms and her obligation to dissent against an out of control government. The "compassionate" judge ordered Diane, who is obviously physically challenged by her disease, to do this community service in freezing weather. Diane's entire life is community service to her country and to her patients in the hospice where she lovingly helps people go to the other side.


The above is from Cindy Sheehan's "Grannies do Heavy Lifting" (Z-Net) and Susan e-mailed to highlight it and it's a wonderful note to start Saturday on. Two visitors are angry (one writes "outraged") that Friday had nothing from the New York Times. The only story in the Friday paper that was worth noting was Damien Cave (Iraq is our focus here) and we'd noted that in the Thursday snapshot. There were more important things to note and, in terms of the report on Feith cooking intel, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post were highlighted. The New York Times article on that was, my opinion, weak and not worthy of highlighting. (Somebody burp Mark Mazzetti when he spits out what he's been spoon fed.) We're moving to Joan's highlight and, for visitors who are confused, this is the sort of story that qualifies as interesting to the community, from Rick Daysog's "Retrial for Watada unlikely to be soon" (Honolulu Star-Bulletin):


The court-martial of Army Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing deployment to Iraq could be held up a year or more by constitutional challenges, several prominent criminal defense lawyers said.
On Wednesday, a military judge in Fort Lewis, Wash., Lt. Col. John Head, ordered a mistrial in Watada's case and tentatively scheduled a new trial to begin March 19.
Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney, said he plans to seek dismissal of the charges on the grounds of double jeopardy. If military judges reject that argument, Seitz said he's prepared to appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"There's clearly a double jeopardy problem," Seitz said.
Watada, a 1996 Kalani High School graduate, made international headlines when he refused to be deployed in Iraq and called the war illegal. The 28-year-old Watada was charged with one count of missing a troop movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for his public statements.
Watada was assigned to administrative work at Fort Lewis after his unit deployed and is barred from traveling more than 250 miles from base.
Howard Luke, a local criminal defense lawyer who has handled military court-martial cases, believes that Seitz's double jeopardy argument carries weight.
In Watada's court-martial, the mistrial was declared over the objection of Watada's lawyers.
In such cases, a defendant can only be retried if there was a "manifest necessity," meaning there was no viable alternative for a fair trial other than aborting the court-martial, Luke said.
What's more, the mistrial was declared after a jury was seated and the government presented its witnesses and arguments. Once a trial goes that far, the defendant is considered to be in "legal jeopardy," meaning that prosecutors would be barred from bringing the same case a second time, Luke said.
"To me it looks like it should be over," said Luke. "If I were in the shoes of the prosecution, I would not be confident in getting a new trial."


One of the two visitors bothered by the Times not making it into Friday's entries also feels I have been too hard on James Glanz. Considering that I'm usually accused of the exact opposite, that was interesting. It may be true. These are my opinions. I will note that in the last four weeks, a US service member has twice tried to catch Glanz' attention and twice been ignored. I'm sure Glanz is very busy but if he doesn't make time to listen, someone else will get the story.
In terms of the criticism that's gone up here of Glanz' helicopter reporting, the Times is, as usual, focusing on the officals and they're missing reality. That's been my problem with their coverage of that this week. Not only was the issue of the crashes being ignored (the military flack says the military will do an investigation and then the press moves on) but there has been a lot of internal criticism, that has gone up the chain, and been ignored. The story of the helicopters being shot down isn't just a story of them being shot down, it's also a story of how those in the position to make changes in the policy refused to do so even when attacks were increasing. Now that we've finally crossed over from the "emergency landing and we will investigate" nonsense to acknowledging that helicopters were shot down, the questions that need to be pursued is how long did the military realize the risk and how did they deal with it? (For some time, they've known and they dealt with it by ignoring it which has risked many lives repeatedly.)

Some time ago, Bully Boy began pushing the Darwinian notion of 'adapt or die' (that's what we dubbed it here). The reality is that leaders on the ground in Iraq have refused to adapt. There's no 'win' in Iraq. It's not happening, the war is lost. But that's no excuse for leadership refusing to address the rise in attacks (which were only acknowledged, finally, on Sunday and then only in terms of the helicopters that have been shot down -- being shot at has been an issue for some time and the leadership has refused to address that).

Looking at today's New York Times, Michael R. Gordon shows up in drag. It's a wig with pixie bangs and you keep waiting for him to (falsely) snarl, "I was proved f**king right." The propaganda is entitled "Deadliest Bomb In Iraq Is Made By Iran, U.S. Says." He's jetted over to DC, the byline tells you. And he barely stumbled across the runway in high heels before anonymice descended upon him with breathy whispers. They offer him "details" and we're all supposed to buy in.

That requires forgetting previous 'scoops' like September 8, 2002's "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts." He co-wrote that planted story with the help of Judith Miller. How freeing it must be (like ditching a girdle?) to get the byline all to himself. The war pornography of Michael Gordon tells us one thing today -- the blood letting in Iraq is no longer enough to get his war-on up (what ever is?) and now he's signed on to sell the American people a war with Iran.

With Miller, she appeared to honestly believe in what she was saying (cautionary tale for reporters who get too involved in the outcome of their stories -- and Miller was selling war with Iraq long before Bully Boy got into office). Gordo just wants war. He doesn't care where, he doesn't care with who. If the world went up in flames, cameras would have to focus on Gordo to get the money shot.

So Gordo tells us that the pillow whispers he's putting into print today are "expected" to be made "public this weekend" and we'll note the NIE on Iran still hasn't surfaced (maybe they could farm out the rewrite to Gordo?). We'll note, as we did yesterday, that Iran borders Iraq which is why you will see weapons made in Iran in Iraq. Why you also see weapons made in America on the Iraqi black market is more of a question but don't expect Gordo to tackle that. It's as though he's covering a domestic police shooting and has traced the bullets from the guns back to Wal-Mart and wants to tell us how shocking that is and tie the entire nation in as a willing and knowning participant in the actual crime itself. (We went over this in yesterday's snapshot.)

As anyone knows, weapons are made to be sold. (US administrations have certainly understood that, Democratic or Republican.) It's a big business. People with money will get a hold of them. Saddam Hussein certainly got ahold of them in the eighties (from the US). If you have money to purchase weapons, you will purchase them -- and you are more apt to purchase them from Iran, which borders Iraq, than Australia, which doesn't. Gordo mentions Robert Gates' laughable performance on Friday. (Rebecca says you can see it in Democracy Now!'s headlines. He was speaking in Spain.) Watch that laughable performance and note how Gates looks down and looks around throughout. Shifty, uncomfortable and afraid to make eye contact. To Gordo that's trust worthy -- probably because that's how most people interact with him.

It's nonsense and making Iran the fall guy for the illegal war is an easy out for the US administration and war pornographers like Gordo. It allows them to avoid the real issues and instead expand warfare.

The point of what is proven by the whisper is made in "Gates says markings tie bombs to Iran" (Los Angeles Times):

Gates' remarks left unclear how the U.S. knows the numbers are traceable to Iran and knows too that such weapons were sent by the Iranian government rather than private arms dealers.

David S. Cloud offers "Inquiry on Intelligence Gaps May Reach to White House" (New York Times). Cloud tells you that Carl Levin is considering asking Stephen J. Hadley and Scooter Libby to testify (Scooter's the busy boy these days) about the cooked intel. Cloud notes that Ike Skeleton declared of that Feith's batch of cooked intel led to "extremely poor judgment for which our nation, and our service members in particular, are paying a terrible price." Left unstated is that Gordo was one of the country's servers. (Hopefully, no one left a tip on the table.)

Same topic, Greg Miller and Julian E. Barnes' "CIA doubts didn't deter Feith's team: Intelligence agencies disagreed with many of its prewar findings:" (Los Angeles Times):

Analysts from the CIA and other agencies "disagreed with more than 50%" of 26 findings the Pentagon team laid out in a controversial paper, according to testimony Friday from Thomas F. Gimble, acting inspector general of the Pentagon.
The dueling groups sat down at CIA headquarters in late August 2002 to try to work out their differences. But while the CIA agreed to minor modifications in some of its own reports, Gimble said, the Pentagon unit was utterly unbowed.
"They didn't make the changes that were talked about in that August 20th meeting," Gimble said, and instead went on to present their deeply flawed findings to senior officials at the White House.

Lesson to those preaching 'bipartisanship'? Even with the CIA, the 'brain trust' wasn't interested. They go through the motions a bit but refuse to budge. You can't make peace with that group. They will run over you and that's how they've run the country. You stand up to them or you accept that you are responsible for the outcome. Something Democratic leaders need to grasp immediately.

David S. Cloud teams with Richard A. Oppel for "U.S. Accidentally Attacks Kurdish Outpost, Killing Several." The reporters quote Kabir Goran of the PUK saying, "Everybody knows that it is a P.U.K. base and is used for protecting the main road between Mosul and Erbil. We have daily contacts with the Americans and they have been to the base." Even so, "as many as nine" died in a US attack on the post. They also address the issue of the helicopter crashes and note "a Pentagon document" which states that "a shoulder-fired missile may have played a role in bringing down an American AH-64 helicopter on Feb. 2".

In the Los Angeles Times, Louise Roug walks you through the US claims, "Errant U.S. airstrike kills Kurdish guards: An attack that leaves at least five security personnel dead was targeting insurgents in Mosul, military says:"

A statement from the U.S. military said that American troops had received intelligence that bomb makers connected to Al Qaeda were operating in the Karama neighborhood of Mosul. Seeing armed men near a targeted bunker, U.S. ground forces fired warning shots and made several calls in Arabic and Kurdish for the men to lay down their weapons, the statement said.
As the men began shooting at the U.S. forces, an American aircraft "observed hostile intention from the bunker and exercised proper self-defense measures in response to the assessed threat," said the statement, which expressed "deepest sympathies to the families of those individuals killed."
Kurdish officials reacted angrily, saying the airstrike on one of the main roads in Mosul was inexplicable.
"We don't have any explanation for what the Americans did," said Kabir Amir Koran, an official with a local Kurdish party.
Ali Sourchi, a 30-year-old grocer, said he had been watching a movie shortly before midnight when the power suddenly went out. He went outside to check his generator and saw the airstrike. He fled inside, fearing what might happen next, he said.
"Sounds of the bombings continued until 2 a.m.," he said. "In the morning, we found stone and rubble where the guards' position used to be."

Carl notes Kevin Alexander Gray's "A Valley of Buzzwords: Obama's Soulless Book" (Black Agenda Report and in the print edition of The Progressive):


My wife, Sandra, warned me, "Don't be hating." Now San (as we call her), who has worked in retail sales, selling ladies shoes, throughout her working life, is not an overtly political person. She is one of those old-timey, "salt of the earth" types. But when she doesn't like a person, there is usually something wrong with that person. For instance, before it became evident that Al Sharpton's effort in South Carolina was going nowhere fast, she coined the now-popular phrase "scampaign" to refer to the reverend's run. I know it is ill-advised not to take heed of her warning.
With San's admonition in mind, I tried to table her (and my) Oprah-tainted, media-hyped preconception of Baraka Obama so that I could read The Audacity of Hope with an open mind and with the same hopeful spirit as the title seeks to portray.But the book is like those two solid yellow lines on a two-lane mountain road. They're just there in the middle and never-ending, with a stop sign as the only relief.
[. . .]
Overall, the treatise reads like a very, very long speech of sound bites and clich├ęs arranged by topic and issue and connected by conjunctions, pleasantries, and apologies. Pleasantries like wishing for a return to the days when Republicans and Democrats "met at night for dinner, hashing out a compromise over steaks and cigars." Or, leading with apologias to describe painful parts of United States history or softening a rightfully deserved blow as when he describes racist southern Senator Richard B. Russell as "erudite." Or accusing his mom of having a "incorrigible, sweet-natured romanticism" about the ‘60s and the civil rights era as he waxes romantically about Hubert Humphrey's Democratic Party. It's like he did not have a clue about the 1964 struggles of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
The shame of Obama's lack of depth is that Hamer's conflict over representation pretty much set the table for how the Democratic Party deals with blacks today. But of course he was only three years old and living in Hawaii when Lyndon Johnson went on national television to give a speech so that Hamer's image and the MFDP challenge would be off the airwaves. Hamer's fight was a precursor to the candidacy of Shirley Chisholm, the first black to seriously run for President in 1972 (if you exclude Dick Gregory's 1968 bid). Chisholm continued Hamer's fight for a greater black and female voice in politics and government.

Throughout, Obama proffers an unnaturally romantic view of the Democratic Party for a person of his age. His appreciation of party seems as times deeper than his understanding of the civil rights movement, which comes across as antiseptic. And he goes out of his way to comfort whites with a critique of black Americans that could tumble out of the mouth of William Bennett. "Many of the social or cultural factors that negatively affect black people, for example, simply mirror in exaggerated form problems that afflict America as whole: too much television (the average black household has the television on more than eleven hours per day), too much consumption of poisons (blacks smoke more and eat more fast food), and a lack of emphasis on educational attainment," he writes. "Then there's the collapse of the two-parent black household, a phenomenon that...reflects a casualness towards sex and child rearing among black men."

Carl suggests another roundtable at The Third Estate Sunday Review and is interested in Betty's comments. We are planning (planning, key word) a roundtable for Sunday's edition. The topic is media and I passed on Carl's comments to Betty last night while Kat and I were both on the phone with her. She said if we do the roundtable, it will be covered by her.

Turning to radio. RadioNation with Laura Flanders (airs on Air America, online and on XM satellite radio, Saturdays and Sundays, 7:00 to 10:00 pm EST):

The mayor who would be President. As Rudolph Giuliani woos Republicans out West, we get the low-down from one of Rudy's hometown reporters, ROBERT POLNER, journalist and editor of America's Mayor: The Hidden History of Rudy Giuliani's New York.
The Nation's DAVID CORN has the latest on the Libby trial and PHYLLIS BENNIS says we need a new Boland Amendment to stop covert war with Iran.
And recording artist/activist MOBY is live in studio with a new "Very Best of MOBY" album and his own answer to global warming.
All that and what's hot at your local bookstore...

Rachel notes these upcoming programs (Sunday and Monday) on WBAI -- over the airwaves in the NYC area (and beyond) and also available online (times given are EST):

Sunday, February 11, 11am-noon
THE NEXT HOUR
Actor/author/raconteur Malachy McCourt holds forth.

Monday, February 12, 2-3pm
CAT RADIO CAFE
Jazz pianist Stefano Bollani; poet Honor Moore on Paul Schmidt's posthumous translations, "The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems"; Choreographer Danys "La Mora" Perez and Music Director Francisco Mora Catlett on "Oyu Oro," the Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen

Ruth is planning to do a report this weekend (hopes to do it today) and the only qualifier there is that if she participates in the roundtable (we're still trying to figure out when to start that), there won't be a report. Those things go on too long to expect her to participate and do a report.
Also, Seth posted "Checking In" this week.


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