Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Other Items

More than 4,000 people, largely from the Northeast, came to this resort town of the filthy rich to ruin George W. Bush’s summer vacation.
The local antiwar group, the Kennebunk Peace Department, organized the march and rally, which featured Cindy Sheehan, war resister Eli Israel, Iraqi solidarity activist Dahlia Wasfi, and Gold Star Families members Carlos and Melida Arredondo, together with representatives of antiwar organizations from across the region.
Following the rally, protesters marched through the town of Kennebunkport past enormous vacation homes and luxury resorts to the Bush family compound.
By far the largest displays of support were reserved for Eli Israel and other members of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Israel, while stationed in Camp Victory in Baghdad two months ago, told his commanding officers that he would refuse to fight.
Israel told the crowd that he had been unable to "reconcile up here [pointing to his head] with what cannot be reconciled in here [pointing to his heart]." He added that as more soldiers come to see the lies behind the war, "the troops will remove themselves from the president’s mission."
Though Bush reportedly changed his vacation plans and left town in advance of the protest, the loud, spirited march also passed by the summer mansion of Riley Bechtel, CEO of the Bechtel Corporation--who was met with chants of "Halliburton and Bechtel, take your war and go to hell."

The above, noted by Melissa, is from Nick Chin and Hannah Morong's "Protest hits Bush vacation spot" (US The Socialist Worker). Eli Israel is the first US service member in Iraq to publicly refuse (while serving in Iraq) to fight in the illegal war.

From yesterday's snapshot:

Kokesh will be in Fort Worth, Texas on September 1st for American People's Poll on Iraq Texas Townhall. Texans for Peace explains that "Presidential candidates, members of Congress and the world media will be in Fort Worth attending the Texas Republican Straw Poll" which makes it the perfect time for thos in the area to register their opposition to the illegal war. Along with Kokesh, also speaking will be Diane Wilson, Tina Richards, Ann Wright, and IVAW's Leonard Shetlon and CO (and Rev.) Hart Viges. A full list can be found here. Throughout the day (nine to five, this is a Saturday) there will be canvassing and straw polls, the pre-rally entertainment starts at one p.m. and the peace rally begins at 1:30 and lasts until 3:30. Fort Worth is a city in Texas, part of the Dallas and Fort Worth region known there as "DFW." Suburbs, towns and cities in the area include Denton, Plano, Arlington, Irvining, Bach Springs, Desoto, Duncanville, Lewisville, Addison, Grand Prairie and a host of others. There is a point. Texans for Peace notes that you can catch the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth and that at 12:30 pm volunteers will be helping transport people to the rally.

That's this Saturday.

Turning to the New York Times where Stephen Farrell's "U.S. Troops Arrest Members of Iran Ministry in Baghdad" reports on the arrests of Iranians in Iraq:

An Iranian Energy Ministry delegation was arrested by American troops at a hotel in central Baghdad during an official visit to Iraq, the Iranian state news agency, IRNA, and hotel staff said Tuesday night.
American forces confirmed that a group of Iranians was detained after coalition forces searched them and their Iraqi escorts at a checkpoint, found unauthorized weapons in their vehicles and confiscated them.
The American statement did not mention the hotel, but it is near the checkpoint on the east bank of the Tigris where United States forces said the group was stopped and searched.
Staff at an Iraqi state-owned hotel called the Sheraton Ishtar said Wednesday that the delegation was detained while the members were eating dinner in the ground floor restaurant, where they had apparently proceeded from the nearby checkpoint.

B-b-but, the US military says it was a checkpoint! Apparently one located next to the dessert cart. Farrell also informs that handcuffing the six wasn't enough, they also were blindfolded.
Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) reports the US military continues to maintain it happened at a checkpoint

The Iranians were with seven Iraqis when their four vehicles were stopped at a checkpoint near the capital's Sheraton Hotel yesterday, the U.S. military said today in an e-mailed statement. The military didn't say why the group was detained. An AK-47 rifle and two pistols were taken from the Iraqis, who were "serving as a protective detail,'' the military said.

So, as the story changes, the US military now says the weapons were on the Iraqis. Stringer notes the eight Iranians have now been released. The Washington Post cites AP to note "about 10" men were taken from the hotel allong with "luggage and at least one briefcase and a laptop computer bag".