Saturday, October 13, 2007

A war criminal tries a p.r. makeover

First off, thank you to Trina who posted last Saturday's entry and will be hitting the publish button on this one after everyone's posted. That was noted in an entry Saturday that she posted for me but she deleted that note. (Out of modesty.) So I'm noting that (again) at the top. I hold the Saturday entries so that we can include "Since Friday morning, the following community sites have updated" note.

Now The Nation has done another "online exclusive" on Ehren Watada. Print subscribers and purchasers of the magazine in stores are only aware of Watada in a comment where he's called a "coward" and a sidebar which accompanies that lengthy article (by the Pooper). As usual, the Watada reporting is done by Jeremy Brcher and Brendan Smith (and they've done their usual strong job -- there's no problem with the article itself). We'll note the article when Common Dreams or Truthout republishes it. Those are online only sites and there's no decision being made of, "Is this worth printing?" The Nation is a magazine and a website and the magazine has repeatedly made the decision not to cover Watada, the same way it has refused to cover war resisters. (Or even use the term 'war resisters' these days.)

Ricardo Sanchez yet again became a media darling yesterday and the love-fest will no doubt continue short of his ass being locked away for his War Crimes in regards to Abu Ghraib. Janis Karpinski has been very clear on Sanchez' involvement. It's worth noting that some on the left (or 'left') would applaud Henry Kissinger in real time as well when a morsel of truth got mixed in with his lies. The New York Times loves War Criminals. They front page Sanchez today in an article by David S. Cloud. Sanchez isn't calling for withdrawal. What's he doing? The Hank Kissinger Walk. Trying to salvage his own reputation. We're not interested in helping the p.r. rehab of War Criminals. Were he calling for a withdrawal we wouldn't be interested. Abu Ghraib is not forgotten in this community and we're not interested in applauding Sanchez.

What should have been on the front page is Paul von Zielbauer's "U.S. Investigates Civilian Toll in Airstrike, but Holds Insurgents Responsible." But maybe the uncredited borrowing from Deborah Haynes (Times of London) disqualified it? (It was cute last week when the Times of London felt the need to point out they led on the calls for asylum to collaborators. Maybe the Times of New York and Times of London will begin regularly engaging in slap fights?)

The topic is front page. But PvZ's approach isn't. It should be clear what's needed to sort out the US claims (they admit to killing 15 civilians): international law -- signed on to by the US. PvZ avoids that. If he hadn't, he might have an article. As it is, the best we can expect is Haynes to tackle the borrowing next week.

On the front page, James Glanz, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Michael Kamber contribute "New Evidence That Guards Took No Fire" opens with:

Fresh accounts of the Blackwater shooting last month, given by three rooftop witnesses and by American soldiers who arrived shortly after the gunfire ended, cast new doubt Friday on statements by Blackwater guards that they were responding to armed insurgents when Iraqi investigators say 17 Iraqis were killed at a Baghdad intersection last week.

The three witnesses, Kurds on a rooftop overlooking the scene, said they observed no gunfire that could have provoked the shooting by Blackwater guards, and American soldiers who arrived minutes later found shell casings from guns normally used by American contractors, as well as the American military.

For anyone wondering, after justifying the behavior the mercenary group last week, the gas bags at PBS' Washington Week elected to avoid the topic this week. Reality apparently left them too bruised when it slapped them all upside their uninformed heads.

Carl notes Margaret Kimberley's "Desmond Tutu Silenced" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

Aside from the Bushite assaults on civil liberties, there is another dangerous threat to free speech in this country. That threat falls on anyone who dares to criticize the Israeli government or America's foreign policy towards Israel. Simply put, there is no right to free speech where discussion of Israel is concerned. Critics of Israel are censored and silenced, regardless of prior reputation or professional standing.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace prize in 1986 for his efforts to peacefully end apartheid in his South African homeland. He served for many years as Archbishop of Cape Town and is one of the most highly respected Christian clergyman in the world. Tutu recently returned from a fact finding mission to Darfur that also included Jimmy Carter.

None of the accolades, honors, or awards bestowed on Tutu over the years were enough to protect him from the power of the pro-Israeli lobby. Tutu was invited to speak at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The event, scheduled to take place in the spring of 2008, was sponsored by a youth group dedicated to practicing non-violence.
What followed has now become all too familiar. The university president, Father Dennis Dease, withdrew the invitation after a local organization, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, protested. The JCRC said that Jews were "hurt" about Tutu's comments on Israel. Father Dennis Dease, the university president, uses this claimed hurt as his reason for
canceling the speech.

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 e-mail address for this site is