Today the US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died August 2 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three Baghdad mortar attacks that wounded six, a Baghdad bombing that killed 1 person (three more wounded), two people wounded in a Kirkuk shooting, three wounded in two Kirkuk bombings, and one corpse discovered in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 1 person shot dead in Haswa on Friday, an Iraqi soldier wounded in Hawija by gunfire, one Iraqi soldier and one civilian wounded by gunfire in Jbela on Friday.
In the latest on the war crimes in March 2006, when Abeer Qassim al-Janabiat was gang-raped and murdered by US soldiers after her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered, Reuters reports Jesse Spielman was found to have "participated in the planning of the attack as the soldiers drunk whiskey and played cards, and acted as a lookout. He was found guilty of four counts of murder, of rape, conspiracy to commit rape, housebreaking with the intent to commit rape, and conspiracy to commit rape. At the start of the hearing, he pleaded guilty to wrongful touching of a corpse, arson, obstructing justice and violating rules against drinking alcohol in a war zone." James P. Barker and Paul Cortez have already been convicted for their actions (which included partipating in the gang rape). Steven D. Green, who maintains he is innocent, has been fingered as the ringleader.
Iraq Veterans Against the War Nate Lewis and Liam Madden have no charges against them. Durinv IVAW's bus tour the two attempted to ask about the policy for entry at Fort Benning.
From Bob Audette's "Ex-Marine's court date for trespassing cancelled" (Brattleboro Refomer):
Madden told the Reformer Tuesday that it wasn't his intention to get arrested at Fort Benning, but added "I don't have a problem taking risks and getting arrested is certainly a risk I would be willing to take.
"The tour was a success," said Madden by telephone from his home in Boston. "We generated a lot of momentum for Iraq Veterans Against the War," including the addition of 21 new members to the group.
Making it difficult to reach out to active duty members were military officials who were hostile to IVAW's message.
"It was apparent that the military started to realize we were coming and was willing to take measures to insure that we didn't talk to any active duty troops," said Madden.
As a way of countering the tactics the military is using, said Madden, future bus tours will spend more time at bases, giving active duty members more opportunity to talk to the anti-war veterans.
Highlights? I'm not in the mood for sports. I'm not in the mood for the useless. I see why Rebecca did a short post last night. A lot of cowards, a lot of gasbags, a lot of election junkies pretending it's 2008 and that we all go to the polls tomorrow. Dave Lindorff is always worth reading and KeShawn notes his "Sad Day? How About a Sad Six-and-a-Half Years" (OpEdNews):
What was Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) thinking when he told Senate colleagues it was a "sad day" when that body started taking its marching orders from an outsider (the president and the director of national security), in passing a new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gives the president a free hand to spy on communications of Americans without a judicial review?
Is he implying that this is the first time the Senate has done this? Isn't that exactly what the Senate (and the House) did when they passed the so-called USA PATRIOT Act in October 2001? Isn't that what they did in overturning the Posse Comitatus Act and in altering the Insurrection Act last fall? Isn't it what they did in approving the Military Commissions Act last year, which retroactively okayed the use of torture on captives?
The truth is that the Senate and House have both become little more than rubber stamps for Administration power grabs ever since 9-11. Indeed, since that date, the members of Congress have been willing sell-outs of their own institution, which today bears no resemblance to what the Founders described in Article I of the Constitution--a document which the members have effectively destroyed.
For the past six-and-a-half years we have watched as a group of political midgets have destroyed what hundreds of thousands of our ancestors put their lives on the line to create and defend--a government system that was founded on the concept of individual rights and liberties, and that was structured to limit the power of the executive. Much has been made of a conversation at the White House a few years ago, in which Bush is reported to have told a few Republican members of the House that the Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper." In fact, that is what the members of Congress have also decided by their actions--and by their continued inaction.
Prior to 2006, it was primarily the Republicans in Congress who were trashing the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the concept of separation of powers, though with significant Democratic backing. Now, it is the Democrats who are the wrecking crew. Make no mistake: the Democrats did not have to pass this latest piece of legislation, loosing the NSA spies on us all. They had the power to kill that bill in its tracks. Instead, they succumbed to the President's empty threat to label them all "soft on terror" if they didn't give him what he wanted: a blank check.
They caved, just as they did when they had the power to end the war in Iraq last April by cutting off funding for it, and instead, voted to fund it in full.
Rachel notes two programs coming up on WBAI:
Sunday, August 5, 11am-noon
THE NEXT HOUR
Downtown radio artists Andrew Andrew and guest, Russian artist Andrey
Monday, August 6, 2-3pm
CAT RADIO CAFE
Political satirist Will Durst on his New York opening in "The All-American Sport of Bi-Partisan Bashing"; historian Mike Flynn and Peace Granny Joan Wile talk about "On the Edge," a John Jay College symposium on transgressive art; and poet/editor/essayist Geoffrey O'Brien on his new piece on "The Sopranos " in The New York Review of Books. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer
Will Durst is one of Wally's favorite comics. If you're only familiar with his writings in The Progressive, make a point to listen. (Make a point regardless, if you can.)
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
The only one doing any real work in the MSM, as Martha points out, today is Sudarsan Raghavan. This is from Raghavan's "In Iraq, a Perilous Alliance With Former Enemies" (Washington Post):
Inside a brightly lit room, the walls adorned with memorials to 23 dead American soldiers, Lt. Col. Robert Balcavage stared at the three Sunni tribal leaders he wanted to recruit.
Their fighters had battled U.S. troops. Balcavage suspected they might have attacked some of his own men. The trio accused another sheik of having links to the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. That sheik, four days earlier, had promised the U.S. military to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq and protect a strategic road."Who do you trust? Who do you not trust?" said Balcavage, commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, his voice dipping out of earshot.
An hour later, he signed up some of America's newest allies.
U.S. commanders are offering large sums to enlist, at breakneck pace, their former enemies, handing them broad security powers in a risky effort to tame this fractious area south of Baghdad in Babil province and, literally, buy time for national reconciliation.
American generals insist they are not creating militias. In contracts with the U.S. military, the sheiks are referred to as "security contractors." Each of their "guards" will receive 70 percent of an Iraqi policeman's salary. U.S. commanders call them "concerned citizens," evoking suburban neighborhood watch groups.
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