Starting with war resistance. In June of 2006, Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (after months of working privately with his military superiors, offering to resign, offering to serve in Afghanistan, etc.). In violation of the Constitution's double-jeopardy clause, he faces a second court-martial October 9th following last February's court-martial which ended just as he was about to take the stand in his own defense only to find Judge Toilet (aka John Head) rule a mistrial over defense objection. The October 9th date is considered iffy at this point by his civilian attorneys due to the appeals process that will address issues such as double-jeopardy and whether or not Judge Toilet should recuse himself. Thus far those (and other issues) have not been addressed. (Judge Toilet ruling that his own actions do not violate the Constitution or ruling that he's fit to serve on another court-martial does not make for objective rulings.) Watada's bravery has inspired many and that's not limited to the military. Melissa Regennitter (Muscatine Journal) reports on Ashley Casale and Michael Israel's March for Peace which began May 1st in San Francisco and is headed for DC and added a third person, Antonio Kies, on Sunday and a fourth, Isabelle Salmon, on Monday. Asked why she was joining the march, Isabelle Salmon explained she'd just completed college, wanted to take part in an action to end the illegal war and "I'd have to say inspiration comes from Lt. Watada and my belief in world peace." And exploring the connections between art and activism, Jen Angel (Boise Weekly) recounts, "This past January I spent a week in a chilly warehouse in Tacoma, Wash., making puppets with 20 other activists to support Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to public refuse deployment to Iraq. We were creating a play to perform on Feb. 5 at the vigil outside the gates of Fort Lewis, Wash., where his court-martial -- which would end in a mistrial -- was being held. We spent hours painting, taping, cutting, gluing, eating and talking. For the characters in our play, we created a 15-foot-tall judge with a sculpted cardboard head and papier-mache hands, jurors and witnesses, and, for our finale, doves and suns to end with a vision of a beautiful future."
Watada and others inspire action with the stories of the courage as does Iraq Veterans Against the War. On June 19th, when Eli Israel decided he couldn't serve in the illegal war, while stationed in Iraq, the response was swift from the military and equally swift was the response of support he received. Last week, Courage to Resist filed an update noting, "Last month Army Spc Eleonai 'Eli' Israel, while stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad with JVB Bravo Company, 1-149 Infantry of the Kentucky Army National Guard announced that he would refuse any combat role in Iraq. Afterwards, Eli noted 'It would have been a lot "easier" for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more weeks, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience.' He is scheduled to be released today [July 26th] from the Theater Field Confinement Facility at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait where he served a 30 day sentence. Eli pleaded guilty to five counts of disobeying orders at a summary court martial. He expects to receive an Other Than Honorable discharge and to be flown to Mississippi within a couple of weeks. After he's out, he plans on fighting for a discharge upgrade as the officer who sentenced him ignored his application for discharge as a conscientious objector or take into account his prior service."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
In Iraq today everything was falling apart. Lebanon's Daily Star reports that today saw the Sunni Accordance Front resigned today which "pushed the government into a new crisis undermining its efforts to reconcile Iraqis and end sectarian strife." Mairam Karouny and Peter Graff (Reuters) identify the withdrawal as being the heads of "the ministers of culture, women, planning, and higher education, and the junior foreign affairs minister" as well as Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie. And, as The Daily Star also reports, there's the issue of the Baghdad bombings.
Now those who live and breathe by their Operation Happy Talk talking points should take a deep breath because that 'turned corner' just got drop kicked out of the narrative.
Several bombs in Baghdad led to mass deaths. Al Jazeera notes the "fuel tanker rigged with explosives" and BBC describes the bombing near "a popular ice-cream parlour" using a parked car. AFP says there were 3 "large bombs" in all and notes: "Iraqi forces sealed off the area, as residents and ambulances ferried the dead and dying to city hospitals. Tens of bodies were taken to Ibn Nafees hospital following the explosion". CBS and AP note, "An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the explosion ripped a hole one yard deep and one and a half yards wide in the asphalt. Three minibuses and six cars were damaged by flames and flying debris. Blood pooled in the street."
Al Jazeera and Reuters figures for the dead are at least 70. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) offers more detailed figures noting 20 dead from the parked car bombing near the ice cream shop, 50 dead from the fuel tank bombing and 3 dead from a parked car bombing in Doura (that's the third of the three being reported on by most outlets) and notes 105 were reported wounded from the three bombings.
The numbers will likely rise as the rubble is cleared and bodies are discovered, as some on the wounded list do not pull through. But it may be a big shock for some Americas buying into the latest waves of Operation Happy Talk. It's, as Robert Parry (Consortium News) has dubbed it, New Pro-War Propaganda":
"No need to wait until September. It's already obvious how George W. Bush and his still-influential supporters in Washington will sell an open-ended U.S. military occupation of Iraq -- just the way they always have: the war finally has turned the corner and withdrawal now would betray the troops by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. At one time, the Iraq story line was how many schoolrooms had been painted or how well the government security forces were doing. Now there are new silver linings being detected that will justify a positive progress report in September -- and the U.S. news media is again ready to play its credulous part."
And hasn't it been glorious? Sell-sell-sell. Ignore realities about the US death counts (see below after corpses), ignore reality period.
Turned corner? Alexandra Zavis and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report, "The number of Iraqi civilians killed in violenc rose to 1,753 in July. The toll in June was 1,227. The number of bodies found in and around Baghdad also climbed in July, to 619, compared with 540 in June." Lebanon's The Daily Star crunches the figures to note, "New goverment figures also showed civilian deaths in the country rose by a third last month, dealing a further blow to a five-month-old security plan designed to stabilize Baghdad and allow for reconciliation." A blow? Yes. The Daily Star, not a US outlet. Who knows how the New York Times and others will rush to spin it tomorrow (only their military handlers know for sure?) But it's a huge blow. And the escalation which was supposed to bring security for Iraqis? Deaths rose a third. Repeating, deaths rose a third.
73 dead from 3 Baghdad bombings and those weren't the only bombings in Baghdad, nor the only violence.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "Iraqi police said that 4 people were wounded when US army helicopters bombed Zafaraniyah neighborhood southest Baghdad at 4:00 am" in Baghdad, two US Humvees and one US tank were destroyed or damaged in Baghdad by explosions, a downtown Baghdad car bombing claimed 3 lives (six more wounded), a Baghdad IED exploding claimed the life of 1 police officer (seven more wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack claimed 2 lives, and a Falluja bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers. Reuters notes the bombing of a building in Madaen that claimed 4 lives (six more injured) and an Iskandariya roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi solider (three more injured). That's 20 reported dead. Add the 73 from the other bombings and that's 93 reported dead.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Major Gen. Mahir Nori was shot dead in Baghdad and 2 "men working for the anti terror directorate were killed by gunmen in Saidiyah neighborhood south Baghdad". 96 is now the total reported dead today.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Counting corpses discovered it's 121 reported dead today.
Today the US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were killed and six others wounded when an explosively formed penetrator detonated near their patrol during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 31." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed by small arms fire during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 31."
This brings the ICCC totals for number of US service members killed in the illegal war since it started in March 2003 to 3657 and the number of announced deaths for the months of July thus far to 78 making July 2007 the deadliest July for US
troops since the start of the illegal war. The first July (2003) saw the deaths of 43 US troops, July 2004 saw 54, July 2005 also saw 54 and July 2006 saw 43. With 77 announced deaths thus far, this was the deadliest July of the illegal war for US troops.
Which we repeat because Big Media largely missed that point. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) shared reality this morning, "U.S. commanders meanwhile are touting last month's US death toll as a sign of progress on the ground. Seventy-seven servicemembers were killed in July, the lowest monthly total since November. But the July total is also the highest over the five Julys since the U.S. invasion. The July death toll one year ago was forty-three."
Are there more July deaths to be announced? Last week we saw deaths announced as late as four days later. It happened this week and, in fact, for the month, the standout feature about deaths was how slowly MNF announced them.
The July announced deaths is now at 78. And the press wants to run with the nonsense that this is an improvement? Are they serving Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno? Last Thursday, he gave the Operation Happy Talk point that the deaths were "falling" and cited the July totals as good news. It's not. Nor is it a sign that the escalation is working. But notice how many outlets grabbed that talking point and repeated it today.
Today the UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with much sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British soldier from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in Basra City, southern Iraq last night, Tuesday 31 July 2007. The soldier died as a result of injuries sustained by an Improvised Explosive Device attack which targeted a British Forces Warrior vehicle patrol that was carrying out routine duties in the Mustashfa district of Basra City." This death brings to 8 the number of British soldiers who died in Iraq last month and brings to 164 the total number killed in the illegal war since it started.
Thank goodness we have an independent press. Thank goodness we have a press that doesn't just run with whatever talking point they are fed.
In other news, the pig who should probably be behind bars is squealing again. Not booked on The Nation cruise -- indicating that perhaps Katrina vanden Heuvel's fine with promoting his work but doesn't wasn't associate with known pedophiles -- he kicks up his own feces at Truth Dig today. (Link goes to Truth Dig's main page. We do not link to that pig.)
Looking at the comments, you will see people are shocked and outraged by the Pedophile's latest nonsense (sliming Cindy Sheehan, suggesting a National Nazi Program -- that's all his suggestion of 'national service' is, etc.). Where the shock really should be is with those who have felt the need to promote the Pedophile. It's a long list of people (and include Sy Hersh who went on a truck and bus tour with him repeatedly). Whatever analysis the Pig had to offer were of no use after the illegal war started. (Yes, he's repeatedly stated that the US will go to war with Iran -- in fact, he's offered predictions of specific time frames . . . which have all have passed. There's your first clue about his 'analytical' abilities.) As I stated last week, not having promoted a known pedophile, I have no blood of my hands.
Maybe those leaving outraged comments now wouldn't be shocked by the latest nonsense if they grasped that we are talking about someone who the MSM reported was twice arrested for attempting sexual set ups with underage females? Maybe if they made sure everyone grasped that when he was asked directly about it on CNN, he refused to discuss it and lied claiming he couldn't because the records were sealed (as the defendant, he could speak in this matter, sealed or unsealed records). So the MSM washed their hands of him (rightly) and that had nothing to do with Judith Miller, it had to do with the fact that someone twice arrested for attempting sexual relations with underage females -- a CRIME -- isn't someone to shore up or go rushing to. But small media picked him up, propped him up and acted as though existing reports of the two arrests didn't exist. Which makes you question their committment to their own audiences?
So the Pedophile wants to explain that Cindy Sheehan's a distraction, David Swanson's a distraction, Hurricane Katrina is a distraction . . . everything's a distraction. Except himself. And John Conyers! Conyers is "one of the strongest antiwar advocates in the U.S. Congress". Well no wonder the country's in trouble! John Conyers isn't an advocate for anything these days. He is hemmed in and allows himself to be hemmed in. (I don't expect the pedophile to know Congress. Most members refuse to meet him.) He gets in the sexist slame that Sheehan lacks "grace". What does he know about grace? Or is he confusing grace with the leniancy he was shown in his pedophile busts?
When the pig first took his attacks on Sheehan public, we called it out (over a year ago) and noted that he wants to turn to the peace movement into the military with himself as commander. In fact, he earned his own special spot in "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly" (he really earned it):
Another low happened when The Nation, Democracy Now! and about every left and 'left' outlet decided to continue to give a platform to the man they portray as a Cassandra but whom the mainstream media has noted was twice arrested in stings to capture sexual predators. As Chrissie Hynde once sang in "How Much Did You Get For Your Soul," "How much did you, How much did you, How much did you get?" He went around the country with Seymour Hersh slamming the peace movement (and wanting to turn it into the military -- presumably with himself as commander), he ridiculed and mocked Cindy Sheehan in an independent weekly, and despite that, despite the mainstream media's reports of two busts for seeking out sex with underage girls online, he was given a platform repeatedly.
He's a moron and disgusting trash. And he's selling "mandatory national service" like a good little Nazi today much to the shock of many commenting. They should be more shocked that a KNOWN PEDOPHILE can get away with penning statements about what "legally, morally and structurally binds our nation together" becuase, if the MSM coverage is to be believed, were it not for backdoor deals (that led to some firings), the Pedophile would be behind bars where his CRIMINAL ASS belongs. The Pedophile calls Cindy Sheehan's actions "self-destructive". That's rich -- a pedophile wants to speak of destruction. Reality is that the trash should have been carried to the curb. Reality is that the MSM did. It's independent media that's decided a PEDOPHILE is just, apparently, what the world needs now.
And it's time to start demanding accountability from small media. I don't tolerate pedophiles, I have no idea why The Nation, Truthdig and others are welcome to give them a 'pass.' I doubt they'd give the same pass to Mark Folely but the objects of his affection were male. (And it should be noted, Folely does not appear to have attempted anything with anyone under 18 which means he is not a pedophile.) With the Pig, apparently Small Media is saying that it's perfectly understandable for those things to happen. Two busts being reported and the perv refusing to respond to the reports is okay. It's not okay.
But it allows him to trash Cindy Sheehan yet again. And laugh as the twice busted pedophile wants to warn Sheehan's about to destroy "whatever vestige of credibility is left to her as a mainstream activist." This from the Pedophile who has no mainstream outlet because -- unlike Small Media -- MSM was firm in refusing to air the opinions of a Pedophile.
He's never liked Sheehan -- though he pretends today he liked the summer 2005 actions when the reality is he was trashing her at the start of 2006 and trashing the same actions he now pretends to like. Pedophile could never like the Peace Mom. She is a "mom." She's a mother. A wounded mother grieving over her child. Pedophiles need to divorce their victims from any sort of relations other than objects for the pedophile's perversion. Mothers are very scary to pedophiles.
He's a pedophile, he's a right-winger and he can't shut up about "anti-war." He's trashed Cindy Sheehan repeatedly. Why the left wants to embrace him is anyone's guess. But we don't embrace pedophiles. A good question to ask now is why others on the left continue to give him an outlet? Non Credo's remarks stand out among the ones read to me over the phone. From the opening of Non Credo's comments: "How dare ____ smear Sheehan as a 'narcissist.' ____ wants to pose in contrast as the 'manly man'. It's sexist and crass. It's ____ who's preening here, in his pretty uniform. And ___, this idea is nuts. If Bush had us all in his army, we'd all have to shut up, the way he shuts up anybody now serving, on the excuse of military necessity."
Avoid the Pedophile. But call him out if you see him around children -- especially girls.
Finally, as Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, the Oil Ministry in Iraq has put in a place a ban on anyone dealing with the oil unions in Iraq who went on strike in opposition to the theft of Iraqi oil.
the los angeles times
Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo! Games.