Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, October 10, 2007.  Chaos and violence continue, more officials are targeted in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths, and more.
Starting with war resisters. In June of 2006, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  In February of this year, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) ruled a mistrial over defense objection.  His second court-martial was to have started this week; however, the double-jeopardy clause of the Constitution means he should not be court-martialed twice and US District Judge Benjamin H. Settle has ordered a stay through at least October 26th while this and other issues are reviewed.  Amnesty International issued a statement of support for Watada last week and Susan Lee (the Americas Program Director) stated, "It is unacceptable that Ehren Watada should face punishment for peacefully expressing his objections to the war in Iraq.  His internationally recognized right to conscientious objection must be respected."  Sam Bernstein (US Socialist Worker) explains, "Watada's attorneys are also asking that he be allowed to leave the Army since his term of service ended in December, but the pending legal proceedings have prevented his discharge. . . . Now there will be three weeks of hearings so that Settle can decide whether a retrial amounts to double jeopardy.  If it doesn't, a retrial would begin as early as October 26.  Antiwar activists -- led by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak out and Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- will use the next three weeks to organize solidarity protests."
War resister Pablo Paredes has been working in Puerto Rico on the issue of counter-recruiting.  The Canadian Press reported last month that Paredes found the counter-recruiting "campaign has been more welcomed than efforts on the mainland" and quotes him stating, "There's not an ownership over this war.  There's definitely a sense of 'That's someone else's situation.  In schools that allows for a lot more fairness for groups that oppose the war."  Among the many others working on this issue are Aimee Allison and David Solnit who have written Army Of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World (published by Seven Stories Press and available at Courage to Resist). The promotional tour for this book has many dates added to it.  Click here for the full schedule.  We'll note the October events still to come:
Wednesday Oct. 10th -- Swarthmore, PA.  For more information, e-mail:;
Thursday Oct. 11th -- NYC, NY.  For more information:;
Friday October 12th, -- NYC, NY  Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, 7 pm to 9:30 pm.  For more information:;
Saturday October 13th --  New Haven CT, The Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden, CT 06517, 1 pm to 4 pm.  For more information:;  
Saturday October 13th -- Hartford, CT La Paloma Sabanera Cafe, 405 Capital Ave, Hartford, CT 06106;  
Sunday October 14th - Boston or Western Mass, Traprock Peace Center.  For more information:
Monday October 15th -- Boston or Western Mass, Traprock Peace Center; 
Tuesday October 16th -- Rochester, NY;
Wednesday October 17th -- The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Avenue, Troy, NY 12181; 
Thursday October 18th -- Syracuse, NY, For more information:;
Friday October 19th -- Baltimore, MD, Baltimore Anarchist Bookfair;
Saturday October 20th -- Baltimore, MD, Baltimore Anarchist Bookfair;
Sunday October 21st -- Baltimore, MD, Baltimore Anarchist Bookfair   
That's the October events currently posted.  October events have already passed and more may be added.  If you're interested in the tour you can check here and more dates may be added in the new year but currently there are no dates schedule for the southern portion of the US except for Fort Benning in Georgia (November 16 through November 18).  Aimee Allison and David Solnit speak with Matthew Rothschild on this week's The Progressive Radio. They addressed topics of military access to students, student and parent rights, the threat of the draft and much more.  "create associations that will be more likely to
David Solnit: They have what we call the military recruitment complex which is a whole series of research analysis, cutting edge, major public relations corporations and then the on ground recruiters.  So together they spend billions of dollars using the most sophisticated and modern public relations propaganda techniques to, as they say, penetrate youth culture and create associations which will make people more likely to accept the military as a normal or healthy thing. 
Matthew Rothschild: Can you give us some specifics because I was at an anti-war protest here in Madison, Wisconsin and there was a counselor for a high school , in a high school, who said the most pernicious thing for him was these military recruiters coming and setting up gymnasium type things -- that a person could do the quickest climb or the most push-ups or the most sit-ups, it really appealed to the macho kids and he couldn't, he couldn't get them out of there.
[. . .]
Aimee Allison: One of the things that I think the military recruiters on the ground rely on are sustained access, regular access to high school kids in particular so they can develop relationships.  For the recruiter, they become father or friend or guide and take students out to Burger King and, you know.  But of all of the messages that they learn, that recruiters learn, through their hard sell and sustained selling techniques, they never mention the word "kill."  And the reason why is because it's very deeply ingrained in human beings not to kill.  And we've all had these kind of, someone makes us mad and  there's a reason we don't act on that because our church, and our family and our society condition us against that kind of violence.  So it's the center of the recruiters' message to tell them all the things they can do with their life without letting them know about what the military really is and that is an institution designed to train someone to kill on command and that was the most surprising thing for me in my own experiences.
On the issue of a draft being brought back, David Solnit stated that the work of the peace movement results in reactions from the other side and while people must keep their eyes open, that's not the overreaching issue today.  Solnit and Allison both feel that so much more work needs to be done to build a real resistance within the general public.  On the topic of the draft, pay attention once-Young Lions who now puff out the sagging chests and tell the youth of today your half-baked tales, Louise Bernikow (Women's eNews) provides the history missing in so much of the once-Young Lions reminds that "the anti-war organizing was also being done by women of several generations and many political persuasions.  Opposition to wars has always been part of women's history: Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day march for peace filled the streets of Boston after the Civil War.  By the 20th century, Women's Strike for Peace had evolved out of the anti-nuclear movement into a visible force against the Vietnam War.  Among its founders, and quite visible on Moratorium Day, was New Yorker Bella Abzug, soon to be elected to Congress, where her first official act would be to demand a date for withdrawal from Vietnam.  In 1972, Abzug would demand Nixon's impeachment for 'defying the will of the people to end the war.'  As night fell in the capital city on Moratorium Day, 15,000 people carried candles around the Washington Monument, led by Coretta Scott King, identified by the press, in the custom of the times, as "Mrs. Martin Luther King."  Although young men captured the camera's eye as they burned their draft cards, much of the work of organizing draft resistance was done by women.  Singer Joan Baez performed protest songs everywhere with a banner behind her that read: 'Girls say yes to boys who say no.' In Greenwich Village, the Peace Center, directed by writer Grace Paley, organized and counseled scores of conscientious objectors willing to go to jail rather than serve in the war."  The poster and the very real involvement of women were dealt with in July.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, 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 [(877) 447-4487], 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.
Geneva Jalal Antranik and Marani Awanis Manouik were killed yesterday in Iraq.  Their "crime" was driving.  Their killers were Unity Resources Group.  Andrew E. Kramer and James Glanz (New York Times) address the slaughter in 28 paragraphs today and wait until the 26th paragraph to provide the women's names.  Apparently you cover the slaughter by burying the dead.  Tina Susman and Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) report, "Unity Resources, which is run by former Australian army personnel, was investigated last year in connection with the shooting of a 72-year-old agriculture professor at the University of Baghdad, according to Australian media. The Australian Foreign Ministry at the time said the professor, Kays Juma, was shot because his vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint in the capital.Some witnesses confirmed that a flare was fired, but at least two said guards fired into the vehicle after it had been partially disabled by warning shots. One witness said the vehicle, which carried at least three women and one child, had rolled to a halt when the women inside were shot."  Jay Price and Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) add, "A man at a gun portal in the back of the last armored vehicle began shooting an automatic weapon into the hood and windshield of car. Then another guard leaned out of a door and did the same, police said.  Between them, they fired about 30 times, said Hamed Ali, an Iraqi policeman who was manning a checkpoint at the shooting site. The car was about 75 yards from the armored vehicles when the shooting started, he said as he showed journalists the skid marks.  'There was no reason at all to shoot at these women,' he said."  CBS and AP note the excuses of Unity Resources and quote Marou "Awanis' daughter and a student at Baghdad's Technology University" asking, "What is the use of the word 'sorry'?"  Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes, "The victims were driving home from work when their vehicle came under fire by guards with the Australia-based Unity Resources Group."
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on an official today in Tikrit -- the target: Jassim Jabbar (Head of National Security Center) -- that left 2 people dead and seventeen wounded, a Baghdad bombing wounded two people "near the Vegetable Oils Plant" and a Sulaiman Bek bombing wounded two people.  Reuters notes the death toll in the attack on official increased by 4 for a total of six dead, a Zaab truck bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi military service member and left five people wounded (two non-military) "in an attack on an Iraqi army base," a Mosul minibus bombing (targeting the Kurdistan Democratic Party) claimed 2 lives and left sixteen injured and a Diwaniya mortar attack that left eleven female students, "three teachers and a man" of "a girls' primary school" injured.
The attacks on officials continue in Iraq.  KUNA reports that Abdurrazaq Qassem was kidnapped yesterday in Basra where he is "the director of Basra International Airport." Abdul-Razzaq Hashim is the spelling Reuters offers. The targeting of officials continues in Iraq.  Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) notes his name as Abdulrazzaq Qassim as well. On the topic of the air war, CNN notes 13 dead "west of Baghdad" from a US airstrike.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 Railways Commission worker was killed and five injured in a gunfire attack on their bus in Bayaa, 1 person was killed and six were injured in an attack on "a Kia mini bus in Saidiya" while Abdulameer Mahmoud (National Information and Investigation Bureau chief) was wounded in a Kirkuk attack "late yesterday" -- another official targeted.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 6 corpses were discovered in Baghdad, Hmood Abdullah Hmood's corpse was discovered in Kirkuk late yesterday (three days after he was kidnapped), and a corpse was discovered in Hawija.
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died from a noncombat related cause in a southern section of the Iraqi capital Oct. 10."  And they announced: "An MND-C Soldier died from a non-combat related event Oct. 10."  ICCC's total for the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the illegal war began is currently 3820.  CNN uses the count 3,821.
Tensions continue to flare on the Turkish and Iraqi border.  CBS and AP report, "Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships attacked suspected positions of Kurdish rebels near Iraq on Wednesday, a possible prelude to a cross-border operation that would likely raise tensions with Washington."  Turkish Press reports that the country's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has stated a measure will be introduced in the Turkish Parliament tomorrow calling for "an incursion into northern Iraq to pursue PKK terrorists."  AFP notes, "Under Turkish law, parliament must authorize any deployment of Turkish troops abroad."  Al Jazeera informs that the prime minister "is under pressure to respond to a series of recent attacks on Turkish security forces by fighters from the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) that killed 15 soldiers.  The Turkish leader said prepartations to put the measure before parliament 'have started and are countinuing'.  The plan was unlikely to reach parliament before the end of a four-day religious holiday on Sunday, an official from Erdogan's Justice and Development party said."  In the United States today, Dana Perino (press flack) gave a briefing in the White House referred to Turkey as "a very valuable ally" and was asked if a Congressional resolution on the Armenian genocide that the Bully Boy had come out against resulted from "Turkey blackmailing the United States" to which Perino responded, "Absolutely not."  Perino also declared, "We have said that we want to work with the Turkish government and the Iraqis, the Iraqi government, to eradicate the terrorist problem there in northern Iraq.  We do not think that it would be the best place for troops to go into Iraq from Turkey at this time.  We think that we can handle this situation without that being necessary."  Suna Erdem (Times of London) notes, " Until now, though, Mr Erdogan has appeared reluctant to pursue an act that could result in a military quagmire and cause serious diplomatic problems. The authorities in Washington and Iraq, already struggling to control insurgent violence, are unwilling to condone anything that could cause unrest in the country's most stable region. Turkey's rulers would also probably prefer to do without the complication of a military operation at a time when they are seeking to kick-start their membership talks with the European Union."
Turning to peace news, September 7th, we noted the police abuse  Tina Richards, Adam Kokesh and Ian Thompson were the victims when they attempted to put up posters -- actually, when they attempted to hold a press conference discussing the legal way to poster in DC for the upcoming peace event sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R. and others.  Last Thursday, the Washington Post notes, Richards, Kokesh and Thompson "appeared in court" and were instructed the DC Superior Court trial will start (for the 'crime' of postering) on January 3rd.  At his site, Kokesh addresses the Flock of Seagulls (aka Gathering of Eagles): "Chris Hill ('National Director of Ops' for the Gathering of Eagles, a pro-war advocacy group) and other members of his group verbally and physically attacked a Gold Star father of a fallen soldier who was participating in a anti-war march on 9/15. The Gold Star father, Carlos Arredondo, was marching with a picture of his fallen son when Hill and members of the pro-war group began verbally harassing him and then physically confronted him to take away the photo of his son. In the process Mr. Arredondo was knocked to the ground and kicked. Hill wrestled the photo of Mr. Arredondo's son, Alex, away from Gold Star father, claiming to have liberated it. The Gathering of Eagles Group had attended the anti-war march for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the protesters."  And (Language Warning) also here where he includes photos of their attack on Arredondo.  The "Gathering" is set to land in the Bay Area Wednesday October 17th where they will attempt to bully CODEPINK into stopping their activism at the military recruiting center in Berkeley on Shattuck Ave.  Apparently Flock of Seagulls loves war so much they want all to have a right to bleed to death in an illegal war.
In other disgusting news, CBS and AP note, "The U.S. released 60 Iraqi prisoners, including 10 youths, Wednesday. As a gesture of good will, the U.S. military has pledged to release more than 50 detainees a day during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends later this week."   CNN gets in on the nonsense quoting US Maj Gen Doug Stone delcaring that not one "of the 1,000-plus Iraqi detainnes freed in recent weeks have broken a pledge not to return to the insurgency" -- CNN's so caught up in the hype that they fail to make the obvious point that Stone really wouldn't know if they had or not.  But is there one damn adult left in broadcast news?  If so, might they sound the alarm of these 'releases' which are the sort of things despots do to curry favor.  If those imprisoned shouldn't be (and the majority shouldn't), then they get released for that reason, not in "a gesture of good will."  This is really disgusting and that it's not registering says something truly troubling about our news media which seems to be longing for a King John. 
October 12th, NOW with David Brancaccio will air a one hour program, "Child Brides: Stolen Lives" documenting "the heartbreaking global phenomenon of forced child marriage, and the hope behind breaking the cycle of poverty and despair it causes." They've created an e-Card you can send to friends and family or to yourself to provide a heads up to the broadcast (and there is no cost to send the e-Card).  Maria Hinojosa will report from Niger, Guatemala, India, etc.  In most markets, the program airs on Friday, check your local listings.

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