Saturday, July 14, 2007

4 Journalists Killed in Iraq This Week

"Is the car registered in your name?"
"Papers." I give him my papers. He isn't looking at them. Why, then, did he ask for them??
Another walks up. "You're a doctor, aren't you? I remember you. You work at the Nursing Home. I know you because I used to work there." His eyes dark were looking straight into mine, but they were mocking ,not serious.
Until he brought up the "doctor" matter, I was OK. Just another checkpoint. I took out my papers sixteen times on my way home the other day. But doctors were different. Targeted by kidnappers for ransom money, and sometimes killed. But more dangerous, they were targeted by people with an agenda that says "Harass Iraqi doctors until they flee; if they don't run ,kill them."
"No, you must be mistaking me for someone else." Sweet smile. Heart pounding. "I'm a teacher, not a doctor." Keeping my hands steady and relaxed on the steering wheel was a feat.
"Why are you lying? I know you. Don't lie to us!!" his piercing eyes still mocking me , daring me to say what I wanted to say, that they were toying with their pray ,that there was something very wrong here. The "us" worried me. Who were they?? Uniforms don't mean anything nowadays.
"Pull up to the side of the road" Trying to move my foot to comply with the "order", I realized the extent of my fear, my foot wouldn't budge. It was numb, dead.

The above is from Inside Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers) "Go!" and you can read that as a typical day in Iraq. More so now that approximately 100 journalists have died in Iraq. Thursday, the US military killed two working for Reuters. On Friday, one working for the New York Times was killed. With more on Friday's death, this is from John F. Burns' "In a Baghdad Killing, Questions That Haunt Iraq:"

At 8:45 a.m. on Friday, Khalid W. Hassan was navigating his car out of one of Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhoods on his way to work as a reporter and interpreter at The New York Times bureau here. "My area is blocked," he wrote in a cellphone text message to the paper’s newsroom manager. "I am trying to find a way out."
Within 45 minutes, about two miles from his home, Mr. Hassan, whose Palestinian family migrated to Iraq in 1948, was forced to the side of the road by gunmen in a black Mercedes. The gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles, pitting Mr. Hassan’s rundown Kia car with bullets. At least one struck him in the upper body, but failed to kill him.
Mr. Hassan, a heavyset, pranksterish 23-year-old, loved the new world of cellphones, online computers and downloadable videos ushered in by the American occupation of Iraq, so much so that he spent a quarter of his monthly salary recently on another new phone. Slumped in his seat, he called his mother, then his father, at work as a school caretaker, telling them he had been shot. "I'm O.K., Mom," he said.
An off-duty policeman in a gasoline station line told Mr. Hassan's father what came next. A second car with gunmen, an Opel Vectra, seeing Mr. Hassan on his cellphone, pulled forward and fired two fatal shots into Mr. Hassan’s head and neck.

And Reuters is reporting that one of their translators (unnamed at the request of the family) was shot dead (along with two brothers) in Baghdad Wednesday. That's four journlists killed from Wednesday through Friday. All died in Baghdad.

Today the US military announced: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and another wounded when an explosively-formed penetrator detonated near their patrol during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 14." And they announced: "A Task Force Marne Soldier was killed when a landmine detonated during a dismounted patrol today." ICCC's total currently is 3612 US service members have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and 33 for the month of July thus far. I believe that's one short (today's had two announcements thus far and I'm only seeing one noted by ICCC).

Meanwhile, Bushra Juhi's "Al-Maliki: Iraqis Can Handle Security" (Associated Press) tells you that the puppet's making noises that he's in control and can handle things when the US leaves but instead of focusing on his attempts to shore up crumbling support in DC, we'll note this section:

But one of his top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like "an experiment in an American laboratory." He sharply criticised the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with "gangs of killers" in its campaign against al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Suneid's comments were a rare show of frustration toward the Americans from within al-Maliki's inner circle as the prime minister struggles to overcome deep divisions between Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish members of his coalition and enact the American-drawn list of benchmarks.

Tomorrow (Sunday) at 1:00 pm EST on RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Camilo Mejia, Dave Zirin and Laila Al Arian will be among the guests. The program airs on Air America Radio, on XM satellite radio and streams online. In addition, it's carried by other commercial free radio stations across the country and an archived broadcast goes up mid-week. Flanders is also on Air America Radio during the week, on the "The Air Americans", with Mark Riley. Wait, we're not done. Event on Monday, NYC, in which Flanders will be participating:

The Culture Project and Women Center Stage Present: People Power vs. the Right's Advance: The Case of South Dakota.
Monday, July 16th, 7pm at the Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. in downtown Manhattan.
Laura Flanders will lead a discussion of one of the most noteworthy victories of 2006.
Against overwhelming odds, South Dakotans reversed a no-exceptions abortion ban. How did they do it? How did regional and national allies help? With more threats to reproductive justice looming at the local and federal level, this is a unique opportunity to talk directly with women who were there:
* Charon Asetoyer, Founder and Executive Director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center in South Dakota.
* Sondra Goldschein, State Strategies Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project.
* Nancy Goldstein, Director of Communications & Development for National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
* Laura Ross, founder of Women Run! South Dakota, a state-based PAC that helped 23 pro-choice Democratic women (including Asetoyer) run for office in '06.
* Cari Sietstra, founder and former executive director of Law Students for Choice.
Laura Flanders is the host of RadioNation on Air America Radio and the author of BLUE GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians. Books will be available for signing at the event.Panelists will take questions from the audience and the media. Please forward this message to your lists. And come early -- seating is limited.
For more information, or to buy tickets ($15) go to
Tickets can also be obtained at the Culture Project Box Office at 55 Mercer Street (@Broome). Queries: please call 212 232 0255 or write to

Martha noted the above and hoped they could make the snapshot on Friday. It had already gone up. On the plus side, it will run in the print edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review, distributed on their old campus, which actually will be the better target audience for the event. I'm sorry we weren't able to include it in the snapshot.

On other things that should have been noted, Tom Joad maintains a list of war resisters. Ideally, it will be on the permalinks no later than Sunday evening (Sunday evening ends when I go to sleep which may be early Monday morning). In a landscape where so many make a point to ignore them or slam them, it's good to know a site exists just to note their courage and list them.

On things we will not note . . . I don't dislike Chris Hedges. I do, however, know that when you talk about one source lying to you, if there was a second source, you not only talk about them, you out them. According to the New York Times co-authored by Hedges, front paged and linking Saddam Hussein to 9-11, two sources gave him and the other reporter the information. One source (thanks to Mother Jones' work) was exposed as a complete liar and fraud. Hedges needs to name the second source. That's basic journalism and he knows that. Two visitors are so offended that this was brought up ("brought up again!!!!" wrote one this morning). Tough. There is the BIG LIE that Judith Miller and only Judith Miller got it wrong/ took stenography. As I have pointed out repeatedly, that lie allows a lot of people to go scott free. If we're noting Hedges and the topic is Iraq, it is incumbent to note that in October 2001 he co-authored a now infamously discredited article promoting a non-existant link between 9-11 and Iraq: terrorists were training to hijack planes at a camp in Iraq! Now you probably remember that dopey story (it also aired, in cooperation with the paper, on PBS). Hedges has been noted here and at other community sites on other topics and we don't note the Iraq story. The now widely discredited story. But when he's noted on something to do with Iraq it is incumbent to note that he co-authored the piece that put out the lie about the plane hijacking camps in Iraq. "That's just not nice to write," offered one e-mailer.

I'm not interested in "nice." (Or, as Holly Near sings, "I'm tired of being nice . . .") I'm interested in reality and reality is that one of the worst lies that the administration put out there (and the administration was behind that lie) was popularized (as true) by Hedges. That may not be "nice" or "pretty" but it is reality. When Mother Jones was being interviewed for that article, people bent over backwards to not name co-author Hedges. They either cited the other author or just went with "New York Times" (during discussions with the author of the Mother Jones piece). I'm real sorry Hedges got it so wrong (trust me, I'm real sorry) but that is reality. Does it make him a "bad" person? No. But it is required when he writes about Iraq that it is noted. (And it should be required that he name the second source.) The second e-mailer said, "The left always need to support the left." Really? Always? Judith Miller started out print wise at The Progressive.

The infamously false article was one of the earliest to sound the drum beats for war with Iraq. It is completely discredited as journalism and it should have been obviously false in real time. Two 'insiders' (only one of which has been named -- was the State Dept. the second source for the article?) claim that there are terrorist camps training hijackers in Iraq and that appears on the front page of the New York Times a month after 9-11. That false claim still lives on. I'm sorry that some get the heebie jeebies when it's noted that Hedges co-authored it, but that is reality. A while back, when Alissa J. Rubin was wrong about something (I don't even remember what now), I noted that the next day's article spent far too long correcting/explaining how that was wrong to begin with (next day's article by Rubin). It will happen. Things will be wrong. Rubin's error wasn't so grave as to require that she don a hairshirt. Though Hedges doesn't need to don a hairshirt, his error was grave. And at a time when passions were already running so high in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, that laughably sourced article should have not only not been run, it shouldn't have been written.

The way the popular narrative is re-written, Bully Boy, in the fall of 2002, began linking 9-11 to Iraq. We all know that's a lie. Richard Clarke has noted how he was repeatedly instructed, in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, to connect 9-11 with Iraq. That October 2001 article was part of the roll out. (I am not saying Hedges was, I'm saying the article was.) All of the nonsense about "mushroom cloud"s didn't work to scare some of the American public as a stand-alone. The bedrock for the fear was the earlier (repeated and repeated) false claim that Iraq had a terrorist training camp for hijackers. That lie did not start in 2002. It was front-paged on the New York Times in October of 2001. That is reality and if it's too much for your delicate frame, shirk it but don't get upset that others won't join you in a Stupidity Parade.

Hedges has a Los Angeles Times piece. It's not being linked to here. It's a column that mines The Nation article and manages to repeatedly mention Camilo Mejia but cannot once note that he is a war resister. That's really shameful. Honesty, not war, is the force that gives our life meaning, Chris Hedges. Honesty. Furthermore, read Camilo's book, the way Hedges elects to tell the badge story isn't really reality either. It's more shaped to fit the column he's penned. Mejia wrote his own book. You can read about the badge in it, about the cross-examination in front of the squad over it. Hedges really softens that story in his column. (To get more decorations, officers were willing to risk the lives of those serving beneath them by sending them on 'missions' -- usually useless raids repeatedly -- and along with Mejia, Joshua Key also writes about that in his book. And neither pulls punches about what's going on and why. It's a real shame that two non-journalists do a better job of telling the story than a professional reporter.) It's a limp little factoid shaped for a column. Reality is, that if told truthfully, it would enrage many. I'll assume, like on visitor e-mailing, Hedges wants to tell it 'nice.' Which begs the question, why not stay with the New York Times in that case?

Two Thursdays ago, I noted that Cheney avoided Vietnam and offered the opinion that if he had to go, he would have shot himself in the foot in order not to go. That led to "Cpt. Mark" writing me a lengthy e-mail that he said I could share about these "myths" that anyone ever shot themselves to avoid deployment. If "Cpt. Mark" was indeed ever in the military during war time, he led a highly sheltered life. But, for the record, here's a case of that happening in this illegal war. From the AP:

A soldier who recently returned from Iraq has admitted he paid someone $500 to shoot him in the leg so he could avoid returning for another tour. Jonathan Aponte, 20, claimed he had been robbed and shot but changed his story when police questioned him, authorities said. Aponte, who was facing another eight-month tour, had been scheduled to leave last Monday.
"As far as being shot at every day, I think it's better," Aponte told WCBS-TV in an interview that aired Friday. "Mentally I can't do it anymore. I can't handle it anymore."

No doubt Cpt. Mark will be at work shortly on an e-mail to me explaining how the above is also a myth.

A whiner, there's no other word for it, notes Gordo's nonsense from yesterday (co-authored) which "should have been linked to." No, it shouldn't have. Weak minds rush to applaud Gordo stating the obvious and fail to grasp that he's selling the lie that al Qaeda of River City is responsible for all the violence in Iraq. ("We've got trouble . . . right here . . .") Alissa J. Rubin noted the non-link the day before (and was noted here that Thursday) without spinning some grand, White House endorsed, propaganda. Only the weak minds would link to that dumb ass article. We had other things to focus on and didn't need to pat Gordo on the back for only half-lying for a change. We grasped what was going on -- he was making the case for troops to remain in Iraq (remember, he's on record telling Charlie Rose how jazzed he is by the escalation). How so? If Congress does their weak measure and pulls out "combat troops," they will still allow "police" and "terrorist fighting" troops to remain. Gordo's planning for that possibility by pushing that Iraq is nothing but Al Qaeda Land. Susan notes Bill Scheurer's "Iraq Vote: Operation Deception'" (Peace Majority Report, AfterDowningStreet):

The Democratic Congress served up another bowl of political slush this week with its latest vote on Iraq, designed to isolate Republicans in November 2008.
Fortunately, no one seems to be paying much attention this time -- partly
because the Bush press conference on the Iraq interim progress report overshadowed it in the news, but mostly because more people in the peace movement are getting wise to their game.
Like their last upside-down Iraq vote, PeaceMajority Report will not be including this
"Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act" in our scorecard when updates resume.
Even though there was enough window-dressing in this bill to marshal all but one of the Progressive and Out-of-Iraq Caucus members -- Dennis Kucinich stood alone in resisting this charade -- we cannot play along with their political game.
We cannot endorse a bill that still empowers this President to develop a "comprehensive United States strategy for Iraq" that would assert "United States national security interests in Iraq and the broader Middle East region." This is what he says he has been doing all along!
The so-called "redeployment" would still allow remaining forces to fully pursue "al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations in Iraq," and to train and equip "members of the Iraqi Security Forces."

Get it yet? Gordo's always planning for the future. (Which is why he's on board for War With Iran and cheerleading that.) So you go cheerlead his dumb ass Friday article for noting that 9-11 and Iraq weren't connected and ignore that he's also arguing that Iraq is 100% al Qaeda Land.

And to the whiner Ava's dubbed Baby Hughey -- Ava was far too kind to you in her reply. She must have been laughing too hard at your e-mail. When she told the rest of us about it, we laughed as well. You're a real Tough Boy calling people 'cowards' except when you get called out. Then it's "ooh, my wittle feelings are hurt." I have no idea why you felt the need to share your homophobia in your screechfest of an e-mail. But, considering everything else you've done publicly, the homophobia comes as no real surprise. Let's all shed a tear for the little Tough Boy: wwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I'll be sharing the e-mail and explaining further how disgusting Baby Hughey is in my column for Polly's Brew (check your inboxes Sunday morning).

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

Sam was the first to note Margaret Kimberley this week and Kendrick was the last (twenty minutes ago in an e-mail). From her "British Terror" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

Why is anyone angry at Britain? Perhaps it is because the British are some of the people doing the killing. Maybe they are angry because Tony Blair left office proclaiming the rightness of occupying Iraq and killing 600,000 people. Those crazy Arabs and Muslims, they get mad at the strangest things.
It is an understatement to say that Tony Blair left office as Prime Minister of Great Britain under a cloud. He followed George W. Bush like a poodle, or perhaps more like a toad. Former president Jimmy Carter
assigned blamed to Blair along with Bush for causing America's increasing unpopularity throughout the world. "It's a shameful and pitiful state of affairs and I hold your British Prime Minister to be substantially responsible for being so compliant and subservient."
"Blair followed George W. Bush like a poodle, or perhaps more like a toad."
Blair is shameless in his belief that killing human beings is acceptable as long as it is done by a government run by white people. Not content to have spent the last six years following Bush like a little shadow, Blair didn't even have the decency to disappear into the sunset and shut up. After giving Britons a collective sigh of relief upon leaving number 10 Downing Street, Blair again began running for new offices.
After rumors of a Carlyle Group corner office and a European union presidency, Blair assumed the role of Middle East peace envoy. He will represent Europe, the United States, Russia and the United Nations while simultaneously keeping the rest of the world from laughing or loosing their lunch at the prospect of a true believer in occupation and empire being an honest broker for peace.

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