Thursday, June 28, 2007

Other Items

A bomb killed three British soldiers and injured a fourth when they dismounted from their Warrior armoured vehicle during a supply mission in Basra last night.
The soldiers came under attack in the Al Antahiya district of the city at about 1am local time, according to the British military based in Iraq.

The wounded soldier is in a stable condition at a military hospital.
The soldiers were targeted after a supply run to a base in Basra Palace. Major David Gell, the MoD's spokesman in Basra, said: "It is with deep regret that I can confirm that three soldiers were killed and another very seriously injured by an improvised explosive device this morning."

The above is from Sophie Borland's "Three British soldiers killed in Iraq" (Telegraph of London). Gareth notes "Iraq bomb kills three UK soldiers" (BBC):

British soldiers are expected to move from Basra city to the airport "in the next few weeks over a single weekend", the BBC understands.
World affairs correspondent Paul Wood said an official announcement about the "dangerous retreat" would not be made until after the event to reduce the risk of attacks from insurgents.
He said the military plan over the next 12 months was to reduce the number of British troops at Basra airport from 5,500 to just 1,500, although he cautioned that this could be changed by surprise political announcements.
A US official told him that this would have a "seismic" effect, in spite of the fact that the US has some 160,000 troops in Iraq.
The soldiers who were killed on Thursday had left their Warrior armoured vehicle in the south-east of Basra when an improvised explosive device was detonated.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad said the troops were returning to their base at Basra airport after carrying out a re-supply mission at their Basra Palace base.

Gareth, scanning US media outlets online and noting the little interest in the three deaths, suggests that a rumor could be started that they were blond if that would drive up media interest. He's referring to the junk news coverage (and he steers everyone to Wally's "THIS JUST IN! JUNK NEWS DOMINATES!" and Cedric's "More Blonde Woman "News" to Distract the US" which Gareth strongly recommends). It's interesting, Blond News used to be when they went missing and now it's their antics.

Also from the BBC we'll note this:

Relatives of 11 Iraqis killed by US troops in the village of Khalis last week have demanded compensation, and have called for the Americans to withdraw claims the men were from al-Qaeda;

That's one of two incidents that are getting very little attention. From yesterday's snapshot (and the first item is the one the BBC's noting):

In Iraq, Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Governmental and political parties' sources in Khalis disputed a U.S. military statement that was issued a few days ago; the statement said that a U.S. helicopter killed 17 terrorists but these sources say these men were protecting their own town from terrorist attacks. They said that Abbas Muthafar Hashim, Shakir Adnan, Ali Jawad, Jassim Jaleel, Abbas Jaleel, Kamal Hadi, Jamal Hassan and Mohammed Abdul Kareem were killed and 8 others were injured. They noted that the killed were members of what is called the popular committees that protect the area from the terrorists attacks, as they said." The US military press release on that incident was issued Friday, June 22nd and noted that those killed were "17 al-Qaeda gunmen" and that they US forces "observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village. The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using." Obviously the people of town differ with the US military on the dead and, since they knew the dead and didn't just observe them from the air, one would assume a follow up by the military is in order. Those very likely wrongful deaths make the news as Molly Hennesy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports this from today, "Witnesses said U.S. troops opened fire on civilians in the sprawling Sadr City neighborhood of the capital after a passerby fired a revolver into the air to settle a family dispute. The ensuing gunfire left two men dead and three injured, witnesses said. A spokesman for the U.S. said he had not received reports of soldiers firing at civilians."

Returning to the topic of the car bombing in Baghdad, Mike Drummond's "Car bombs kill 30 in Baghdad, ending lull" (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

As of midday Thursday, 17 car bombs have exploded in the capital in June, a drop from February’s peak of 45. From December through May, car-bombings in Baghdad averaged 36 a month, according to data McClatchy collects from Iraqi officials and independent sources.
A four-day curfew following the bombing this month of the revered Shiite Muslim al Askariya mosque in Samarra, 65 miles north of Baghdad, may have been a factor in the decline.
U.S and Iraqi forces claim to have shut down 10 major car-bomb factories this year, three of them this month.

Tuesday, Roxana Tiron (The Hill) reported on a move in Congress: "A few congressional Democrats go so far as suggesting that the Pentagon should pull out of Aghanistan now, while others say that troop withdrawl will be addressed after the military is out of Iraq." Tiron quotes
House Rep Neil Abercrombie (the chair of the Air and Land Armed Services subcommittee) stating of Afghanistan: "We are finished there, military speaking. . . . There is no useful purpose for our troops there. The military should withdraw now".

That was noted in the public account by a visitor who asked that we also note she is "disgusted with the way Democrats, and I always vote Democratic straight ticket, want to sell 'out of Iraq' as part of 'more soldiers sent to Afghanistan'." She dubbed the Center for American Progress's 'plan' "an embarrassment to all Democrats but especially for those of us who have been in the party all along. I think there's too many Republicans creeping into the party and not out of some awakening but due to the fact that those like the Center for American Progress will water down everything the Democratic Party stands for. The first election I voted in was back in 1952. Here is what I have seen over and over is no one wins when Democrats try to be Republicans, even if they happen to win a race." The faux left Center for American Progress' 'plan' was noted in Tuesday's snapshot and thank you to the visitor for her strong e-mail (as well as her highlight).

Returning to the topic of England, Tony Blair's out, Gordon Brown's in and Blair's already got his new post which is certainly allowing other news to be swept aside such as the scandal that's plagued him for some time. From Matthew Moore's "Tony Blair questioned again by honours police" (Telegraph of London):

Tony Blair has been questioned for a third time by police investigation cash-for-honours allegations, it emerged today.
It is not yet clear when the interview took place, but the fact that it was kept secret until after Mr Blair left office is likely to fuel claims that the black-out was his final act of spin.
The Crown Prosecution Service ordered detectives to
re-open the investigation after ruling more evidence was needed before a decision on charges could be made.
The investigation formally ended in April when Scotland Yard handed a 216-page dossier to the CPS.

The rah-rah also allowed little attention to be given to another important topic. From Frances Gibb and Michael Evans' "Inquiry into torture of Iraqis by British troops" (Times of London):

The Attorney-General yesterday demanded an inquiry into the use of torture by British soldiers in Iraq in 2003 which led to the death in custody of Baha Musa, an Iraqi civilian arrested during an arms search. Lord Goldsmith, QC, said it was “inexplicable” that banned techniques were being used when soldiers and officers must have realised they breached the Geneva Conventions.
Giving evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, Lord Goldsmith said: "I certainly agree that there is a matter of grave concern as to how these techniques came to be used, who authorised them and on what basis."
His intervention elicited an immediate response from the Ministry of Defence, which said: "We have never argued that the treatment of Baha Musa was acceptable or that his death should not have been investigated. ["]

Brown's not any different than Blair on Iraq (or much else). Still wet from his coronation, 3 British soldiers are announced dead which brings the total killed in Iraq to 7 for the month of June. The UK provides less troops than the US and that's one of the reasons their fatalities have been lower. The worst month in terms of British soldiers killed was when the illegal war began (March 2003) when the total number killed was 27. After that, the second highest as April 2007 when 12 died.

Turning to radio. No, not that topic. Ruth will address (this weekend) the topic so many (community members and visitors) are writing about. Among one of the many mistakes Air America Radio has made in it's oh-so-short history was the departure of Mike Malloy. He is still on the radio and Eddie highlights BuzzFlash's "Mike Malloy Doesn't Mince Words -- And His Progressive Talk Radio Fans Love Him for It:"

BuzzFlash: Where can people find out about when you're on, where you're on, and when to listen to you, including on the Internet?
Mike Malloy: Two sites - they can go to or they can go to Preferably to, because there's so much there in addition to just my program, although it does carry a lot of information about my show, too.
BuzzFlash: Does your show stream live on the Internet?
Mike Malloy: Yes, from 9 'til midnight Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

[. . .]
BuzzFlash: In radio, what difference does it make that people don't know what you look like, unless they go to your website? They're hearing a voice. They might imagine what you look like. But there's no chance of them being impacted by your visual presence. What difference does that make in radio as a medium, as compared to television?
Mike Malloy: I think it's a good thing. One of the descriptions of radio is that it provides a theater of the mind. You think about some of the most stunning examples in the history of radio was, of course, Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds." People thought they were were being invade by Martians because radio does provide a theater of the mind.
And I think it applies for talk radio now. When you listen to radio, you can construct scenarios, images, way beyond what televison provides. Radio requires you to really get involved. If somebody has a three-hour program, whether it's me or anyone else, that's really expecting a lot of people.
But there's an element of talk radio that is that theater of the mind. If the person behind the microphone can do it effectively, he or she can construct inside the listener's mind the images that the talk-show host wants that person to see. I think radio is more effective in a lot of ways than television, because it's a cooler medium in a McLuhanesqe sense. It's a cooler medium in that it requires more involvement.
Just listen to the difference in the two words: "watch television" versus "listen to talk radio." There's a big difference. Where television far exceeds every other medium is in the use of videotape -- the old idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. But again, that's a very forgetful thing. I think radio is more effective in that it sticks with you longer. It's the difference between having a donut for breakfast -- that would be television - or having a bowl of oatmeal -- and that would be radio.

Martha notes two things. First, this is from Robert Parry's "Next Generation of 'Family Jewels'?" (Consortium News):

However, if CIA Director Michael Hayden wanted to go further than just accepting plaudits for releasing some ancient history, he would demand that CIA personnel answer questions about the following events from the 1970s and 1980s that collectively make the old Family Jewels look like child’s play:
--What is the full story about the CIA’s connection to a right-wing Latin American terror network known as Operation Condor, which carried out a series of international murders including a terrorist attack that killed Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier and American co-worker Ronni Moffitt on the streets of Washington in September 1976?
(The CIA, then run by George H.W. Bush, received warning messages from a U.S. ambassador about a plot by the Chilean government's assassins to use the CIA as a cover for infiltrating into the United States, but Bush has never fully explained why he didn’t do more to prevent the Letelier-Moffitt murders.)
--What did the CIA know about the terrorist bombing of a civilian Cubana Airliner in October 1976 which killed 73 people, including youngsters on the Cuban national fencing team? Why has the U.S. government protected and harbored two of the implicated terrorists, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada, to this day?
(Though George H.W. Bush ran for national office four times since the Cubana attack, he has never been pressed to give a thorough answer about his knowledge of the terror wave that occurred under his watch at CIA. Neither has George W. Bush been challenged over his decision to spare Posada from extradition to stand trial.)
--In 1980, what was the role of three CIA officers -- Robert Gates, Donald Gregg and George Cave -- in backchannel contacts between the Reagan-Bush campaign and Iranian Islamic radicals then holding 52 Americans hostage, a crisis that effectively doomed Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid?
(Gates, Gregg and Cave have denied involvement in the "October Surprise" case, but their alibis have never been carefully vetted. Gregg also failed a lie-detector test when he was asked about his role in this secret 1980 operation during Iran-Contra questioning. Despite extensive evidence that Republicans did contact Iran behind Carter’s back, congressional investigations into the scandal were, at best, half-hearted.)
--What did the CIA do to protect drug traffickers connected to two major paramilitary operations in the 1980s, the contras in Nicaragua and the mujahedeen in Afghanistan?
(Much of the U.S. news media -- both right-wing and mainstream -- dismissed the contra-cocaine allegations as a "conspiracy theory." But the inspectors general of the CIA and the Justice Department made broad admissions about the prevalence of drug traffickers inside the contra operation in the 1980s -- and the U.S. government’s failure to root them out. Those I.G. reports received little attention -- or were simply ignored by major U.S. news outlets -- when they were released in 1998.)

On the same topic, Martha also notes Elaine's "Spying, Marjorie Cohn" -- and the Cohn article Elaine's linking to is "Targeting Dissen: FBI Spying on the National Lawyers Guild" (CounterPunch -- Elaine provides the link in her post, I'm just adding it here as well).

Lastly, Carl highlights Larry Pinkney's "Definitions Do Matter: Is It Anti-War Or Pro Peace With Justice?" (The Black Commentator) about what words to convey:

Presently, as an unjust, bloody, US-led war of aggression, exploitation, and occupation rages on in Iraq, in the hypocritical name of democracy and freedom [BC: American Democracy: A Legacy Of Hypocrisy And Deceit - March 15, 07], many ask themselves how the American people could once again find themselves bogged down, in less than four decades, in yet another Vietnam-type war of aggression? One of the answers to this question is the fact that various so-called progressive elements in this nation have neglected to categorically define their struggle and set their agenda. In other words, much of the left in America, in addition to having "left" out the masses of Black, Red, and Brown peoples inside this nation, has repeatedly reacted to, instead of seizing the definitive initiative, in confronting the fundamental ills and contradictions of capitalist exploitation and empire which include the ever-present reality of white racism.
As Black people in America it is imperative that we understand the distinction between merely taking an anti-war stance vs. a strong pro peace with justice one. To seize the pro peace with justice stance means that we must define, expose, and struggle against the fundamental social and economic injustices and contradictions of and in racist, capitalist America. It is these fundamental social and economic injustices and contradictions, within America itself, that repeatedly lead to US military adventurism and empire building. Merely being anti-war does not in itself address or define the internal and external root causes of military adventurism and war. Thus, it is essential to be actively pro peace with justice, i.e., to be proactive vs. reactive.

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