Friday, May 18, 2007

Other Items


If you haven't already purchased your tickets, Steven R. Weisman's "Wolfowitz Resigns, Ending Long Fight at World Bank" tells you that the engagement comes to an end June 30th. No word yet on whether or not this is the farewell tour. But, as Isaiah noted last month, it was a "Limited Engagement." Though still unconfirmed, there are
rumors that the summer dates will be filled by fellow War Hawk, Condi Rice.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Wilkerson, in the Los Angeles Times, argues Wolfie is "The Architect of his own collapse."

Cody notes Sara Rich's "A Military Mom in a Mother of a March" (AfterDowningStreet):

I left the Codepink house with my IMPEACH Bush and Cheney T-Shirt, my peace dog tags and a large strip of pink duct tape on my chest with the number 3,396 written in big black numbers on my chest.
I arrived at Lafayette Park with my friend Cindy K., who is also a military mom. We came little early to be there to meet people and get something to eat before the march, We talked about the possibility of using civil disobedience and what we wanted to convey in our message when we took the stage for the rally part of the event. Cindy's soldier is in Iraq right now and we have all been on edge waiting to hear news of him. It was her first Mother's Day without a call from her son. It added a somber note to our day.
We talked about what kind of group we can start as military mothers to support and advocate for our children in service and how we can take action on their behalf. We started coming up with terms to explain what we go through as military moms. The one we decided on was "deployment depression." How it feels to be a mom knowing your child is far away in a combat zone and not knowing when or even if you will ever hear from them again. It is a miserable existence and we do our best to put on a good face, but inside I remember feeling dark and always in crisis mode.
We joined three more military moms that day. Marty, whose child is also deployed to Iraq, Tina, whose son is now a veteran with severe post traumatic stress disorder and Cindy S., who's living our worst nightmare, her child was killed in Iraq. The sense of energy and support we generate with are hearts open and our mother bear instincts on red alert was extremely energizing and increased my resolve to be fully present for the actions planned for the day. As we listened to people talking and repeating the message of how the United States issues are not just the war, but the torture, the abuse of veterans, the oppression of the poor, the lack of healthcare, the shameful and detrimental foreign policies that this administration has shoved down the throat of the world............only one solution came to light for me: IMPEACHMENT. Impeachment of all of the criminals in the white house and their accomplices in the house and senate. This administration and their minions are responsible for millions of deaths world wide and the extermination and genocide just continues.
With this is mind, I took the stage. The image of my hands drenched in blood leaving hand prints on every Congressional representative and Senators door that voted for this illegal and immoral war flashed in my mind. The White House no longer white but covered in the bright red and dark and crusted black red of new and old blood. When is it going to be enough for the American people? I talked about our troops and how we love them and just want them to come home safe and sound. We want them to be a part of the solution at home by helping rebuild New Orleans and healing our Nation as part of positive social programs. The rate of PTSD would go down if they were doing their real job to protect and serve, not being forced to participate as innocent civilians and children are killed needlessly.
Then I also talked about our own mental health and the state of our own hearts, realizing that it is crucial that we keep our hearts open to the good and the love that we know we all generate in this movement. If you find yourself jaded or full of hatred, take a step back, take a breath and come back when you feel better. We have to stay strong, healthy and remember to take a breath. As I spoke I gazed at the crowd and saw my daughter there watching me. Our mutual admiration took my attention for a moment. How far we have come in such a short time. Here I was speaking with powerful peace activists in front of the "white" house and she was standing there with her IVAW friends looking clear and strong in the moment. How blessed we are to be traveling this life together.

Sara Rich is the mother of Suzanne Swift. Gareth notes the latest scandal brewing in his region steering us to Robert Verkaik's "Kidnap and torture: new claims of Army war crimes in Iraq" (Indpendent of London):

The British Army is facing new allegations that it was involved in "forced disappearances", hostage-taking and torture of Iraqi civilians after the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
One of the claims is made by the former chairman of the Red Crescent in Basra, who alleges he was beaten unconscious by British soldiers after they accused him of being a senior official in Saddam's Baath party.
The family of another Iraqi civilian claims he was arrested and kidnapped by the British in order to secure the surrender of his brother, who was also accused of being a high-ranking member of the party. He was later found shot dead, still handcuffed and wearing a UK prisoner name tag.
Both cases are being prepared for hearings in the High Court in which the Government will be accused of war crimes while carrying out the arrest and detention of alleged senior members of the Baath party.

Staying on scandals, Eddie notes Michael Hedges' "Texas lawmakers say they will probe deaths of soldiers" (Houston Chronicle) and we'll note the sidebar first so everyone's on the same page:

REPORT DETAILS ARMY MISSTEPS The investigation into the kidnapping and murder plot that left three soldiers dead last June concluded there were a series of missteps by their commanders, including:
• The mission was inadequately planned, supervised and executed.
• The observation post was staffed by only three soldiers with one vehicle.
• The soldiers had inadequate training and the platoon's readiness was degraded by combat losses.
• Their vehicle was left unprotected for 36 hours.
• No immediate fire support was available.
• The quick-reaction force was 15 minutes or more away.
• No noncommissioned officer was at the post.
• The soldiers remained at their post too long to be alert.
• The unit failed to adequately assess the risks at that observation post.
• Iraqi army forces were not prepared to offer support at the bridge. -->

WASHINGTON -- Texas lawmakers Thursday said they would seek Pentagon assurances that it had corrected serious deficiencies found by an Army report detailing the abduction and murder of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca of Houston and another soldier in Iraq last year.
"We've been asking the Army for this report for a long time," said Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Brownsville, after the probe's findings were first reported by the Houston Chronicle on Thursday. "Based on what I've read, I can almost assure you we will have a hearing on this."
Menchaca and two other soldiers -- Pfc. Thomas Tucker and Spc. David Babineau -- were manning an isolated observation post near the town of Mahmoudiya June 16 when they were attacked by insurgents. Babineau was killed, and Menchaca and Tucker were captured. Their mutilated bodies were recovered two days later during a massive search by U.S. troops.
Menchaca's family lives in Ortiz's congressional district.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, whose district Menchaca called home, said she would work with House leaders to draft a letter to the Army seeking answers as to why the soldier's patrol was left isolated for a long period of time. The report said the three soldiers were assigned to a 24- to 36-hour mission at the observation post.
"These soldiers were vulnerable and overextended. It is important that the Pentagon provide detailed answers to any questions the family has," she said.

And the fact that Sheila Jackson Lee has to be prepared to fight today for answers to deaths nearly a year old is the strongest argument for the press to do their job right now regarding the missing 3 US soldiers.

Martha and Lloyd noted the same highlighted and Lloyd wrote, "The last report, no one could say 'Chatham House' but this one they can't shut up about." No, they can't. But the report pushes for the privitaziation of Iraq's oil, they can get behind that in the mainstream media. Now for their highlight, from John Ward Anderson's "60 Die in Iraq; Study Warns Of Collapse" (Washington Post):

A report released Thursday by Chatham House, a foreign policy research center in Britain, challenged the notion that violence in Iraq has subsided since the buildup of U.S. troops, saying, for instance, that car bombings had not diminished and arguing that radical groups were simply lying low.
"It can be argued that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation," the report said.
Crocker, in remarks to a group of reporters carried by the Reuters news service, said it would be "a terrible mistake" to conclude that, because al-Qaeda in Iraq was still able to mount suicide attacks, the U.S. strategy "isn't working, it isn't going to work and we just all need to pull stakes."
"If I had to evaluate today, and looking purely at the security situation, as devastating as the al-Qaeda-led chain of suicide vehicle attacks is, that does not in my mind suggest the failing of the state or of society," he said, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that a recent mortar attack on a U.S. Air Force base in Taji, just north of Baghdad, had damaged about 10 helicopters, most lightly. No one was injured in the attack.

Now, if you listen to Flashpoints Radio, you should be familiar with the name John Pilger. If not, hopefully you're still familiar with his work. (He's frequently a guest on Flashpoints Radio.) He has a book due out the first Tuesday of next month.

Please announce and forward widely!
Don't miss award-winning journalist and film-maker John Pilger ( on tour this June. He will be making appearances in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.

John Pilger is one of the world's pre-eminent investigative journalists and documentary film-makers. His best-selling books of reportage have in the words of Noam Chomsky "been a beacon of light in often dark times."

Full details below.

Pilger will discuss his new book, Freedom Next Time (Nation Books),
with Amy Goodman, host of
Democracy Now! They will consider Iraq,
Palestine, India, South Africa, and the island of Diego Garcia, where
the long struggle for freedom has taken place, but the people are
still waiting for its dream to be realized.
June 7
7 PM
Doors open 6:15 PM
The New School
Tishman Auditorium
66 West 12th Street
$5 admission; free for students with ID
A book signing of Freedom Next Time by Pilger and Static by Goodman
will follow the event.
Presented by The New School, the Center for Economic Research and
Social Change, and The Nation Institute, with support from the
Wallace Global Fund.
For ticket information, contact (212) 229-5488 or
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, visit
or e-mail

Pilger will discuss his new book, Freedom Next Time (Nation Books)
and show his film
Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on
. This film, set in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Washington, looks at
President Bush's "war on terror" and the "liberation" of countries
where bloodshed and repression continue.
June 11
7 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (
The JACCC is located at: 244 S. San Pedro Street (between 2nd and 3rd
Streets) in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los
Angeles, just blocks away from the Los Angeles Music Center and the
new Disney Hall. Followed by audience dialogue and a book signing.
$5 admission
A book signing of Freedom Next Time and other books by John Pilger
will follow the event.
Directions, maps, and parking info at:
Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and
The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.
For ticket information, call or visit the JACCC. Box office:
213-680-3700 (Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: Noon - 5 pm)
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, email

Pilger will discuss his new book, Freedom Next Time (Nation Books)
and show his film
Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on
. This film, set in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Washington, looks at
President Bush's "war on terror" and the "liberation" of countries
where bloodshed and repression continue. Followed by audience
dialogue and a book signing.
June 13
7 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (
701 Mission Street at Third
$15 general, $5 students
A book signing of Freedom Next Time and other books by John Pilger
will follow the event.
Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The
Nation Institute, and KPFA, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.
For ticket information, call 415-978-2787 or order online at In person tickets at YBCA Box office located
inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third.
(Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun: noon - 5 pm; Thu: noon - 8 pm.)
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, email

In his morning session, Pilger will discuss his new book,
Next Time
(Nation Books) and also engage in a conversation with
Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. Followed by
audience dialogue and a book signing.
In his evening session, Pilger will speak at a rally with other
prominent international activists fighting for justice.
June 16
two appearances at the Socialism 2007 conference
11:30 AM (followed by book signing) and 7:30 PM
Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare
5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018
Regular registration - whole conference: $85
Weekend Rate - Saturday and Sunday only: $70
Single day: $35
Single session: $10
Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The
Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.
Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker,
Socialist Review
, and Haymarket Books.
For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, email

* About the book:
"This highly informed, thoughtful and passionate work is an important a thread in the world's growing tapestry of political counter-narratives as those of Dee Brown or Howard Zinn."
--Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
"Pilger draws on meticulous research and interviews to uncover the human cost of the skullduggery of the imperial powers in Diego Garcia as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, South Africa, and Palestine as the U.S. and Britain have heartlessly put their interests ahead of those
citizens of weaker nations." --
"Freedom Next Time allows us to hear the personal testimonies of those challenging power. The array of interviews with the voiceless and abused provides an indispensable corrective to the litany of disinformation we are fed by the media, and for this achievement Pilger is surely the most outstanding journalist in the world today. --The Guardian (UK)

Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire is award-winning journalist John Pilger's vital examination of five countries' struggle toward freedom. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, elation swept South Africa as its people finally dared to dream that
a different world was possible. But as John Pilger movingly describes, true freedom remains a dream deferred.

In Freedom Next Time Pilger examines five counties -- South Africa, India, Palestine, Afghanistan and the forgotten Chagos Islands -- to reveal populations for whom the promise of true democracy remains elusive. His vivid eyewitness reporting and incisive interviews
expose the lies of our rulers, turning a piercing searchlight onto events that would otherwise be consigned to the shadows by an unrecognized, yet virulent censorship.

With his signature compassion and keen eye for detail, Pilger gives his reader a close study of the realities of these war-torn nations. In one of the most revealing chapters, Pilger offers one of the few journalistic studies of Britain's forced depopulation of the Chagos islands in the 1960s and 1970s. He describes a document drawn up by British planners in 1968, titled "maintaining the fiction," that argued that the islanders were not permanent inhabitants. When Pilger
asks Olivier Bancoult, the Chagossians' leader in exile, "What upsets you most?" He replies, "the lie that we didn't exist." Today the island remains a U.S. military base, to which the Chagossians have been unable to return, despite a grant from the High Court.

In Freedom Next Time Pilger gives voice to those who would otherwise remain silent, and in so doing salutes those who refuse to be defined as victims.

For more information, visit: .

John Pilger is a world-renowned journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker who began his career in 1958 in his homeland, Australia, before moving to London in the 1960s. He has been a foreign correspondent and a front-line war reporter throughout his career, and currently writes for the New Statesman, The Guardian, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, among others. He has twice won British journalism's highest award, Journalist of the Year, for his work all over the world, notably in Cambodia and Vietnam. He has been International Reporter of the Year and winner of the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. For his broadcasting, he has won France's Reporter Sans Frontieres, an American television Academy
Award, an Emmy, and the Richard Dimbleby Award, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He has made 57 documentary films, most of them shown on ITV network television in the UK and around the world. In 2003, he received the prestigious Sophie Prize
for "thirty years of exposing deception and furthering human rights." He holds numerous honorary degrees from British, Scottish and Irish universities. He is a Frank H.T. Rhodes Visiting Professor at Cornell University, New York. He is the author of many books including The New Rulers of the World.

Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire
by John Pilger
Nation Books / June 5, 2007
ISBN 1-56858-326-5 / 376 pp./ $16.95 / trade paperback
* For more information, visit

The e-mail address for this site is

limited engagement