Saturday, March 10, 2007

NYT: "U.S. Soldiers Accused of Shooting Civilians in Sadr City" (Kirk Semple)

The Cheney gang didn't change their behavior with time when they decided to invade Iraq. They picked up where they left off three decades earlier, making up convenient "facts" as they went along. Wolfowitz, formerly Deputy Secretary of Defense, admitted as much. "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."
"Cheney ended up incriminating himself with his attempt at slickness."
Like all unpunished criminals, Cheney has only become bolder and sloppier. The Vice President recently told reporters on Air Force Two that he would speak to them only on the condition that he not be quoted directly but instead be identified as a "senior administration official." Like any common, not so smart crook, Cheney ended up incriminating himself with his attempt at slickness. His words made it clear to anyone paying attention that the Vice President was the
mysterious official:
"I've seen some press reporting that says, 'Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.' That's not the way I work."
His attempt at secrecy was rendered moot by his stupidity. Cheney's comfort with such gross ineptitude is actually quite understandable. He has not only gotten a pass on his past wrong doing, but profited from it. Why worry about looking stupid now?
Even when these men appear to go away they really haven't. Donald Rumsfeld allegedly resigned as Defense Secretary back in November 2006. He is now a "
non-paid consultant" with an office near the Pentagon and seven paid staffers. He is entitled to this arrangement as part of his transition and he still has access to top secret materials. His predecessors managed to clean out their offices quickly and didn't need to hang on indefinitely. Then again they weren't committed to permanent warfare.
Rummy is different, a career criminal who refuses to give up his way of life. Is he shredding proof of "ghost prisoners" kidnapped by the U.S.? Perhaps he is helping plan an attack on Iran. Like bad pennies, he and his friends will keep showing up.

The above is from Margaret Kimberley's "Crazy, Greedy White Men" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report). Kimberly generally gets the last word on Saturday but a new member wondered about that so we'll open with her today. (Having the last word, as Pru can tell you, isn't a bad thing.) So Donald the Rumsfled is still advising the administration? And how many were aware of that?

Vince notes Heather Allen's "A deserter tells of horrors in Iraq war" (Penticton Western) on US war resister Joshua Key's new book The Deserter's Tale:

Joshua Key joined the U.S. army in 2003. At the time, he was a patriotic American who believed the scourge of terrorists in Iraq needed to be stomped out, and that his country needed protection.
But after serving six months, Key’s opinions changed.
"This is the story of what I did to the Iraqi people and what I saw other Americans do to them ... I was made to be a criminal in Iraq, but I am a criminal no longer and I am never going back."
The Deserter's Tale, Key gives an insider's view of the war in Iraq -- and it isn't pretty.
At the recruiting office, he was promised that as a father of three he would never be deployed overseas.
In a matter of weeks, Key was on the ground in Iraq.
He began his tour in Ramadi, a city on the Euphrates River.
Each night he and others from his unit raided between two to four houses -- looking for terrorists or evidence of terrorist activities.
They ripped apart homes, beat the occupants, stole money and possessions, herded the woman and children outside at gunpoint and sent any man five-feet or taller off to prison.
In all of the hundreds of raids, Key says he never found any evidence of wrong-doing.
Because it was so difficult for the Americans to find the real enemy, the soldiers took their aggression out on civilians.
They terrorized them in their homes, on the streets and at checkpoints -- viciously beating them and sometimes killing them.

It's a strong book, worth reading, and it also sets us up for today's New York Times where Kirk Semple offers "U.S. Soldiers Accused of Shooting Civilians in Sadr City:"

American soldiers were accused Friday of opening fire on a car carrying a family in the Baghdad district of Sadr City, killing a man and his two young daughters and wounding his son.
The allegations were made by the man's wife, who was in the car, and members of the Iraqi police, who were at the scene. The American military command said in a statement on Friday that it was investigating an episode in Sadr City involving "an escalation of force," but it could not confirm any details of the account given by the man's wife.
The woman, Ikhlas Thulsiqar, said her family had turned from an alleyway onto a mains treet guarded by American soldiers. Seconds later, she said, a fusillade of bullets ripped into the car.
"They killed the father of my children! The Americans killed my daughters!" she sobbed, sitting crumpled on the floor of Imam Ali hospital in Sadr city where rescuers had taken the victims, including her daughters, 8 and 11, and her son, 7.

If you're thinking this is a front page story, think again. It runs on A6. Apparently "Google, Master of Online Traffic, Helps Its Workers Beat the Rush" -- it doesn't pass for consumer reporting (it's called advertising -- soft copy) but the Times obviously felt Google was something that their readers needed to know about, the deaths of a father and two children were far less important to the Times.

Lloyd notes Karen DeYoung's "Reports of Progress In Iraq Challenged" (Washington Post):

President Bush on Tuesday cited "encouraging signs" of military and political progress in Iraq as his new strategy gets underway. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted that "things are going reasonably well." And on Thursday, Rice's special coordinator for Iraq, David M. Satterfield, described a "dramatic decrease" in sectarian attacks in Baghdad since Bush's plan was announced in January.
But a number of analysts and critics said this week that some of those signs indicate less progress than the administration has suggested. Sectarian attacks in Baghdad are down at the moment, but the deaths of Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops have increased outside the capital. Though Iraqi leaders have agreed on a new framework law for oil resources, the details of how the oil revenue will be divided among competing Iraqi groups remain unresolved.
[. . .]
The administration is under public and congressional pressure to justify the troops and the money it says the new Iraq strategy requires, and Bush is anxious to show that events are vindicating his strategy. The deployment of 21,500 additional troops has already begun, even as Congress debates proposals to withdraw U.S. forces and begins considering the president's request for $100 billion in supplemental funds for the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars this spring. The administration also plans to seek $145 billion more in October -- over and above its defense budget request of nearly half a trillion dollars for fiscal 2008.

Elsewhere, Reuters reports: "A suicide car bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi army checkpoint on the outskirts of a Shi'ite district of Baghdad on Saturday, killing six soldiers and wounding 20 civilians, the U.S. military said."

Turning to radio, we'll start with RadioNation with Laura Flanders (Saturdays and Sundays, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST, Air America Radio, XM radio and online). Which Cockburn is it?
Andrew Cockburn will be on Sunday's show discussing Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, & Catastrophic Legacy and Sunday will also provide "Finally, our regular bookstore hour with CLAIRE BENEDICT of Bear Pond Books and CLARK KEPLER, Kepler's Books and Magazines. What's hot, what's not, at your local bookstore, plus listener recommendations." So no Patrick Cockburn?

Patrick Cockburn (who reports for the Independent of London) will be on today's show discussing "the reality of the Iraq Occupation." So we'll get both Andrew Cockburn (on Sunday) and Patrick Cockburn (on Saturday). The e-mail Martha passed along notes "It's a family weekend on RadioNation this week. Tune in and find out why."

Rachel passes on 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, March 11, 11am-noon
Post Warholian radio artists Andrew Andrew and guests.

Monday, March 12, 2-3pm
The NY Neo Futurists and producer Bonnie Metzger on performing Suzan-Lori Parks' "365 Days - 365 Plays"; composer Alice Shields on a concert of "Mioritza - Requiem for Rachel Corrie" for trombone and computer-generated sound; feminist and author Alix Kates Schulman on the 25th Anniversary edition of "Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen." Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.

A number of members e-mailed to note how much they enjoyed the special programming (hosted by Janet Coleman) last week where the topic was impeachment. If it moved you enough to write about it and if you have the money to donate, you might remember that during WBAI's next pledge drive. And it wouldn't hurt, if you are able to contribute and choose to do so, if you mentioned the impeachment special when you pledged. If you missed the special, you can go to WBAI, pull up the archives and listen (free of charge) to the program or programs on Monday that aired from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Go by the time and not the title because this was special programming and it may not be listed as "Impeachment Special." If you missed it, there were guests (Debra Sweet, Daniel Ellsberg and others), calls in and a great deal more. You won't catch NPR exploring the topic of impeachment. WBAI's archives aren't, at this point, like KPFA's. With KPFA, they're are making a point to keep all their archives up (over 80,000 programs at this point) and WBAI, unless something's changed recently, is keeping their programs up for no more than 90 days. So if you missed it (or would like to hear it again) don't wait too long. If you're unable to listen, Rebecca's "janet coleman, daniel ellsberg, wbai " and Elaine's "Flashpoints, Impeachment, etc."

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 working her latest report as I type this. And lastly, we'll again note the following NYC events:

Saturday, March 10
8 pm
Readings from
Voices of a People's History of the United States
The Great Hall, Cooper Union
as part of the
Left Forum 2007
Free for conference participants and the general public.
With performances by Staceyann Chin, Deepa Fernandes, Brian Jones, Erin Cherry,
Najla Said, Mario A. Murrillo, and other special guests.
Narration and introduction by Amy Goodman, host of
Democracy Now! and
Anthony Arnove (who, with Howard Zinn, authored
Voices of a People's History of the United States)

Sunday, March 11
10 am
Iraq: What's at Stake?"
Cooper Union
Left Forum 2007
Anthony Arnove, Christian Parenti, AK Gupta, Nir Rosen, and Gilbert Achcar.

Wednesday, March 14
7:00 pm
"Friendly Fire: An Independent Journalist's Story on Being Abducted in Iraq,
Rescued, and Shot by U.S. Forces"
Judson Church
55 Washington Square South
featuring: Giulian Sgrena the Il Manifesto journalist and author of
Friendly Fire who was abudcted in Iraq, rescued by Italian security forces only to be shot at (Nicola Calipari would die from the gun fire) by US forces while en route to the Baghdad Airport; Amy Goodman and the Center for Constitutional Rights' executive director Vince Warren.
Sgrena is calling for the Pentagon to take responsibility for the shooting.

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