Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ruth's Report

Ruth: This report is going to focus on fundraising. I am going to address the need to note how to donate, online donations, the need to reply to fundraising issues, and the premiums themselves. Hopefully, every Pacifica Radio station will meet their target goals this cycle. But, in reading e-mails this week, I do not believe the fundraising is as effective as it could be. I will be giving KPFA credit by name so I will also be taking it to task for another issue. The five Pacifica Radio stations proper are KPFA (broadcast in the Bay Area and worded that way to avoid offending members), KPFK (broadcasts in the Los Angeles area), WBAI (broadcast out of NYC and picked up in many regions of the tri-state area), KPFT (broadcasts in Houston), and WPFW (broadcasts in D.C.). Since a number of members also listen to KFCF (broadcasts in Fresno), I will also note that station.

I am starting today's report with a basic reality that should be very basic but seems to confuse Pacifica Radio. During the day, when someone listens to a Pacifica radio station online, they may be at work. Streaming may be allowed at a job but many employers frown on online purchasing. What is my point?

If you are attempting to raise money, post your phone number online. That has been the biggest complaint in this week's e-mails. KPFA always has two numbers posted during pledge drive prominently. On Monday, sixteen members would have contributed during a program they enjoy that airs on another Pacifica radio station. Those on air were not giving the number out often enough and the number was not posted at the website. It is now posted at the website so I will assume that radio station heard about it from listeners.

I heard first from a member who shared that she got written up two years ago when a co-worker was getting married and registered at Target. The woman went online to purchase a gift for the co-worker, as a handout the boss had passed out suggested, only to be written up three weeks later. Going through the e-mails this week, I heard similar stories.

So somebody get a memo to Pacifica Radio that if you are attempting to raise money, you need to post your phone number. You also need to post it clearly. KPFA does not bury it in a sidebar down the page, it is at the top in a large banner.

You have people at work, listening out of your area code, waiting for a break when they can call in and donate. To do that, they need to know the phone number to call.

For those who donate online, they also have complaints. No one wrote, "My name did not get mentioned on air." However, all noted that hosts seemed unaware that people were donating online. The ringing phone, especially coming after a prolonged silence, often prompts, to borrow from Amy Goodman, people "to go to your phones." If someone is not noting online contributions when they are coming in, you are not creating excitement. I have listened to all of the Pacifica stations and I know the drill: "We have X number of open lines now . . ."

With the exception of Jim Bennett, of KPFA, I cannot name one person who always, every fund drive, works in a statement as simple as, "We have received X number of online donations." At a very basic level, if I am listening online and hear that someone else has donated online, that is going to make me wonder if I should be donating online? I also think it works for those listening over the airwaves. "Someone from ____ just donated . . ." would make me wonder why I was not donating to WBAI, the one station I can hear over the airwaves. I also know that Amy Goodman is very good, if one area is donating repeatedly, about asking if other regions are "in the house?"

The member who shared the Target story wrote mid-week to note that the station in question had just started posting their number online and offer that I forget about addressing her issue in my report. I appreciate that but she was not the only one complaining. More importantly, the number is still not prominent.

For some reason, although you are told at the top-center of the page that it is a pledge drive and given a link to donate online, the phone number is buried on the right side of the webpage.

That number needs to be the first thing someone visiting online sees. They do not need to scroll around and most will not. They are there to click on the "listen live" option. Though there is talk about other content going up at some stations, the reality is that other content really has not emerged and the websites are still used solely to access the webstream.

Phone numbers need to be displayed on every website and they need to be displayed prominently. Every member who wrote about the issue of donations should have received an e-mail from me and, if you did not, that means I did not receive your e-mail. Those I did exchange e-mails with were kind enough to answer questions I had which I am going to share because if you are not fundraising in your most effective manner, you are not really fundraising.

One complaint I received was about KPFA. An online donation was made during the last pledge drive. Right before this pledge drive started, the member received a notice, a "final notice." The pledge had apparently not been honored and was about to go void. Wanting to save time, the community member e-mailed KPFA to note that he regularly gives X amount each month and his credit card is on file. What was the problem with the additional donation? The member never received a reply. Did the donation go through?

I wish I was as fortunate as the member not to have to check my account balance but the member does not. He donated with a credit card, the same one he always uses. From the wording of the letter he shared with me, it appeared KPFA might need a signature or there was a credit card problem. If it was a signature, when people donate online, there should be a message on the "Thank you" screen advising them that a letter will arrive and that they need to sign something and send it back.

The member is not donating this cycle. He is very offended because he is attempting to figure out which programs in the past have received his online donations? Like anyone who listens to Pacifica, he has his favorite programs and tries to show support for those by donating during them. Now he is wondering if any of those pledges went through?

That is really bad fundraising. The minute KPFA received that e-mail, he used the online contact form and selected the pledge payment options, they should have replied. They should have said whether or not the pledge had been sent through.

Again, I am not fortunate enough not to check my balance statements each month. I doubt many are. But those who are and give generously have already done their work, it is up to KPFA to do their part and respond. They are getting nothing from that member this cycle because he is honestly wondering whether any of his additional pledges have gone through?

I checked with Zach, Mia, Kat and C.I. because they donate to KPFA by phone. Zach, Mia and Kat all said they had never received anything asking them for a signature, that their pledges had gone through. C.I. said, "Ruth, I don't have time to read my mail." Meaning, if it it is not a personal letter, it tends to fly into the trash can. C.I. did note that KPFA sends out very nice greeting cards as thank yous when you pledge.

Zach, Mia and Kat all declare their contributions on their tax statements, pledges to Pacifica are tax deductible. They suggested that the member look through those statements. C.I. said, "If he's not checking his balance, he's probably not declaring it on his taxes. I don't either." Sure enough, the member does not declare donations.

I did not want to be rude and e-mail to ask him, "Exactly how much are you giving to KPFA?" But I would assume it was a nice sum if the member doesn't need to check balance statements and does not need to declare the donations on the tax form.

I did e-mail to ask, "Do you usually open anything from KPFA?" The reply was not very often.

He also explained that his first reaction was surprise that a donation had not gone through. When he never received a reply as to whether or not the problem had been resolved, he started to wonder what individual donations he made went through and whether or not the programs received credit for them? After which, his attitude was that he would sit out this fund drive.

That is fine for him. Other listeners, who can afford it, should be stepping up to the plate. I do not think that is fine for KPFA. If I depended on pledges, you better believe I would make sure that every question was answered, every "i" dotted and every "t" crossed. If I had the contributor's e-mail, I also would not be wasting money on postage and paper to contact them when I could easily e-mail instead.

The last issue regarding fundraising is the premiums. C.I. made a comment about feeling sorry that Kris Welch is usually stuck winding down the fundraising cycle with premiums that have already been heavily featured many times on KPFA. That comment was cited in many e-mails this week. C.I. said, "That does sound like me. But I can't imagine making it here in an entry other than maybe one of the "And the war drags on" entries? Are you sure you didn't make the point?" No, I did not. Thanks to Dallas for locating it. It went up at Kat's Korner when C.I. was filling in for Kat. It was mentioned many times in e-mails this week. I will offer it in full here because it the point did register with many:

If I'm in the house or the car, I'm listening. But when Andrea Lewis and Dennis Bernstein are offering the same premiums and Goodman's got premiums unique to her fundraising hours, you really can't compare the success of fundraising. Near the end of the drive, on a Friday, Kris Welch did a wonderful job (I thought) raising interest in a film her show was about to feature. But the reality was, it had already played on The Morning Show and other programs. It had been promoted as a premium already on other programs. That's not really fair to her, or anyone else that's promoting from the same pool of premiums, to compare the funds raised to Goodman's which, one more time, offer premiums unique to her periods.

That is something that just floated out there, and that even C.I. had forgotten about, but suddenly became a huge thing in e-mails and not just e-mails mentioning Ms. Welch or KPFA.
I agree that it is not really fair that Ms. Welch, on the last days of fundraising, is having to air things that have already been aired. C.I. explained that the premiums are donated and they need to be worked. I can understand that point. But a devoted Deepa Fernades listener, not my granddaughter Tracey who is a devoted fan but Ms. Fernandes clearly has many devoted fans, wrote wishing that a CD of some interviews Ms. Fernandes has conducted in the last year was being featured. The member e-mailing did get a Law and Disorder pack offered on Monday and, citing C.I.'s comment, wondered why WBAI was not offering more premiums like that in addition to the DVDs, books, CDs, etc?

On Friday, CounterSpin was offering a super-sized premium of their interview with Noam Chomsky on CD as well as a collection of Professor Chomsky's columns. That was a two hour special and I will add that it was very nice to hear Peter Hart, Janine Jackson, and Steve Rendall all together. Friday's broadcast also featured an interview with David Swanson that I had planned to note but when I was reviewing the e-mails this morning, I realized that fundraising is an issue members are taking very seriously. I wonder how that well received the Chomsky premium was because I had an e-mail from a Flashpoints Radio listener who lamented that a CD of Nora Barrows-Friedman's reporting from the occupied territories was not being offered?

I am not dismissing any of the fine DVDs, books, or CDs that are offered. Nor am I suggesting that people donating do so just to receive a premium. But I am picturing Ms. Welch once again being given the task of winding down the fundraising cycle and doing so with premiums that have been offered for the entire fundraiser. It would seem very easy to me, maybe I am missing something, for the stations to be able to offer a Living Room CD premium containing interviews she had conducted. I am sure Ms. Welch has some favorite interviews from this year and they would not even have to produce/burn any CDs until the pledges came in and they knew how many were needed. I could be wrong, but I cannot imagine that by the last days of the pledge drive, there are many listeners stopping by who are just learning that KPFA has been conducting a pledge drive.

Because I have not worked this in elsewhere, let me note that Law and Disorder has been producing new episodes despite the fund drive and Mike has covered them in "Law and Disorder, Media Matters" and "Law and Disorder: John Ehrenberg, Liz McIntyre."
I also want to note a broadcast on Monday that C.I. mentioned in Friday's snapshot:
Also on Monday, airs Questioning War-Organizing Resistance from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST and will address the issue of war resistance with guests including Pablo Paredes, Michael Wong, Jeff Paterson and Camilo Mejia. More information can be found in Carol Brouillet's "Questioning War- Organizing Resistance- War Resisters Radio Show" (Indybay IMC)." That sounds like a must listen.

NYT: Paper that couldn't name Abeer wants to talk 'hidden casualties'

JEREMY SCAHILL: At a time when the administration seems unwilling to subject its war strategy to oversight by the Congress, we face the widespread use of private forces seemingly accountable to no effective system of oversight or law. While tens of thousands of these contractors provide logistical support services for the military, thousands are heavily armed private soldiers roaming Iraq. We do know that there are 48,000 employees of private military companies in Iraq alone. These forces work for US companies like Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp, as well as companies from across the globe. Some contractors make in a month what many active-duty soldiers make in a year. Indeed, there are private contractors in Iraq who make more money than the Secretary of Defense or the commanding generals.
The testimony about private contractors that I hear most often from active-duty soldiers falls into two categories: resentment and envy. They ask what message their country is sending them. While many soldiers lack basic protective equipment, facts well-known to this committee, they're in a war zone where they see the private soldiers. They whiz by in better vehicles, better armor, better weapons, wearing the corporate logo instead of the American flag, and pulling in much more money. They ask, "Are our lives worth less?" Of course, there are many cases where contractors have horded the profits at the top, and money is not filtered down to the contractors on the ground or armor to protect them, and we can discuss that later.
The second reaction I hear from active-duty soldiers is that they see what they refer to as these rock star private contractors, and they want to be like them. So we have a phenomenon of soldiers leaving the active-duty military to jump over to the private sector. There’s now slang on the ground in Iraq for this jump; it's called "going Blackwater." To put it bluntly, these private forces create a system where national duty is outbid by profits, and yet these forces are being used for mission-critical activities. Indeed, in January, General David Petraeus admitted that on his last tour in Iraq he himself was protected by private contract security. Just as there's a double standard in pay, there's a double standard in the application of the law. Soldiers who commit crimes or acts of misconduct are prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There have been some sixty-four courts-martial on murder-related charges alone in Iraq. Compare that to the lack of prosecution of contractors. Despite the fact that tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of contractors have gone in and out of Iraq since March of 2003, only two have faced any criminal prosecution. Two. One was a KBR employee alleged to have stabbed a coworker in a kitchen. The other pled guilty to possession of child pornography images on his computer at Abu Ghraib prison. In four years, there have been no prosecutions for crimes against Iraqis committed by contractors and not a single known prosecution of an armed contractor. That either means that we have tens of thousands of boy scouts working as armed contractors or something is fundamentally wrong with the system.
Brigadier General Karl Horst of the First Infanty Division became so outraged by contractor unaccountability that he began tracking contractor violence in Baghdad. In just two months, General Horst documented twelve cases of contractors shooting at civilians that resulted in six deaths and three injuries, and that's just two months and one general. They have not been prosecuted under the UCMJ. They have not been prosecuted under US civilian law. They have not been prosecuted under Iraqi law. US contractors in Iraq reportedly have their own motto: "what happens here today stays here today." That should be chilling to everyone who believes that warfare, above all government functions, must be subject to transparency, accountability and the rule of law.
These are forces operating in the name of the United States of America. Iraqis do not see contractors as separate from soldiers. Understandably, they see them all as the occupation. Contractor misconduct is viewed as American misconduct.
While there's currently a debate in this congress about how to hold these private forces accountable, the political will to act remains shockingly absent. Given the vast size of this private force spread across the most dangerous war zone in the world, it is not at all clear how effective oversight would work. We already know that auditors cannot visit many reconstruction sites because of security concerns. Journalists are locked in the Green Zone. The Army is stretched to the max. So what entity then is supposed to have the capacity or the ability to oversee the men who have been brought to Iraq to go where no one else will?
Members of Congress tell me they've been stonewalled in attempts to gain detailed information about the activities of these private contractors. I think it's a disturbing commentary that I’ve received phone calls from members of Congress asking me for documents on the contractors, and not the other way around. In the current discussion in the Congress on this issue, what is seldom discussed is how this system, the privatization of war, has both encouraged and enabled the growth and creation of companies who have benefited and stand to gain even more from an escalation of the war.
In closing, while I think this congress needs to take urgent action on issues of oversight, accountability and transparency of these private forces operating with our tax dollars and in the name of the United States, there's a deeper issue that often gets overlooked. This war contracting system has intimately linked corporate profits to an escalation of war and conflict. These companies have no incentive to decrease their footprint in the war zone and every incentive to increase it. As the country debates current and future Iraq policy, Congress owes it to the American people to take down the curtain of secrecy surrounding these shadow forces that often act in the name and on the payroll of the people of this country.

The above is from Jeremy Scahill's Congressional testimony two Thursdays prior and you can read, listen or watch it in full via "Author and DN! Correspondent Jeremy Scahill Testifies in Landmark House Hearing on Defense Contracting" (Democracy Now!). We're opening with it due to today's New York Times. And let's note a few things upfront. Contractors choose to go to Iraq. (Some from countries other than the US are kept there by employers confiscating passports.) This community doesn't support contractors. If someone's kidnapped, we will sometimes note and follow that, otherwise, we're not generally interested. They are present to make a buck -- and that may go to the own disasters of their home economies (including the US) but it's an illegal war and they're choosing to go there. Unlike the military, they're not ordered to go. Like the US State Department (whose employees are balking), contractors have a choice. Not all are paid well but many are. (Generally, the more of a mercenary you are, the higher your pay.) The Bully Boy has outsourced the military.

That's been a disaster. It's enriched many private companies, but it's been a disaster. To focus on the issue of food, it's put US service members at risk because the companies have focused on the cheapest way to prepare and serve meals which has led to a larger concentration in 'mess halls' which has led to more deadly attacks than if the military was running them as they have in the past. Convoys require protection by US service members who generally make a great deal less than the private citizens they are being ordered to protect.

Contractors operate in a law-free zone. Unlike US service members, they face no legal jeopardies for any violations of the law. That's the system that's been created in Iraq. Myself, I have heard to many horror stories from friends who have served in and are serving in Iraq to work up a pity party for contractors. That the US military risks their lives for some companies profit motive is hardly new to this illegal war but generally the US military was sent into conflict to preserve the profits of a company already operating in the region. With the Bully Boy, conflict regions are a bull market full of opportunities for money grubbers willing to get in on the ground floor due to the fact that the military's own role has been outsourced repeatedly. So now the US military spends a large portion of their time in Iraq acting as security guards for big business.

The illegal war never had a 'win' (around any corner) but it is surprising as the acceptable lines of criticism (floated throughout the mainstream) have emerged that the War Cheerleaders, in their last gasps, haven't raised the very real issue of private contractors. You'd expect at least one of them to make the argument: "If the military hadn't been used to protect contractors, imagine how far along we could be in this war!"

The New York Times was saved by big business when it was about to go under and that goes a long way to explaining the paper's last 100 years. So today, on the front page, court merkins John M. Broder and James Risen serve up "Death Toll for Contractors Reaches New High in Iraq." A lengthy little article that avoids as many realities as possibile. From January through March, the article tells you, 146 contractors have died. (The total for contractor deaths is 917.)
The paper asserts that these are "largely hidden casualties of the war" -- excuse the hell out of me, but the largely hidden casualties remain the Iraqis. Followed closely by US service members or maybe we're all supposed to forget the fact that 4 US soldiers died last *Saturday* and 3 went missing but the New York Times didn't consider that front page news. The 3 missing finally made the front page yesterday. "Private army" gets a mention (that's mercenearies) once on the front page. (Yes, they front paged this. 4 US soldiers killed last Saturday wasn't front page news.)

Inside the paper, A6, the useless Broder and Risen, who want to offer the non "hidden casualities of the war," can't even get the death toll for US service members correct writing: "American military casualties in Iraq have mounted to almost 3,400 dead" -- no, that was Thursday. And the AP and Retuers count reflects that 3400 marker was passed on Thursday.
The current count is 3415 and the two assholes want to tell you that it's "almost 3,400 dead" while maintaining we should all be shedding tears for the "hidden casualities". (Reuters count on Friday was 3406.)

In a week of garbage served up by the Times, this article is top of the heap. No noting that contractors shoot at Iraqis, that if they kill Iraqis -- unarmed, innocent civilians -- they face no legal consquences. It's just a pity-fest for money grubbers and ones wanting to make a quick buck. Guess what, it's a war zone. If you go in by choice (out of a lust for currency), you get what happens in a war zone. Party pity of two attempts to tell us that convoys are shot out but fails to tell you that so are US service members assigned to escorting the convoys.

There's a jerk who always felt the need to e-mail and state what I 'need' to write about. He'd always stress the poor contractors in e-mail after e-mail. He was informed I didn't care about the contractors. I don't. Merceneries and money grubbers aren't my concern. He cries rivers of tears for them at his site (which strangely never notes the injured and killed soldiers of his own country -- which isn't the US). It's sad that the economies in so many countries (including the US) is so horrible that some feel this is their best opportunity to make money, but it's a choice. The Jerk Off Boys of the Times offer "patriotism" as one reason. If they're patriotic and going because they believe in the illegal war, guess what -- there are recruitment centers across the United States. March your butt in there and sign up if you're gung ho on the illegal war. You won't have the shot at riches but let's not sell this lie that it's about "patriotism." It is insulting to everyone who actually signed up for service.

The same paper that didn't cover Scahill's testimony also fails to mention Blackwater in their entire article. Iraqi civilians, journalists (even bad ones), charity and aid workers, service members ordered into the illegal war all have my sympathies. People lured into an illegal war with the promise of 'riches' don't.

Reporters who can't even get the figure right on how many US service members have died (the Times regularly references the AP and ICCC count in other articles), who want to play at our heart strings over the deaths of private contractors should be taken to the woodshed. That the paper who cannot mention Abeer's name (even in an op-ed this week!) wants to talk about invisible victims is a huge laugh. A huge, cheap, dirty laugh. The article's nothing but damage control. An attempt to put a shiny, tear streaked face on the likes of the (unnamed) Blackwater. Peddle that sh*t elsewhere.

Elsewhere in the paper, David S. Cloud files a report from Baghdad. Or that's what the paper wants readers to believe. Wasn't it just last weekend that Cloud was filing DC? (Yes, it was: "WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is looking into complaints that Defense Department officials charged with building public support for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan might have engaged in improper fundraising and unauthorized spending, officials said Friday." A10, last Saturday's paper.) Would the Times fudge a dateline? Didn't they already when, under pressure from the White House, they disappeared a hard hitting story online -- with a Baghdad dateline -- (that was already front page on the print edition) with a piece of sop re-write rewritten by someone in NYC.

Gina (of the gina & krista round-robin) was the first this week to note Margaret Kimberley's "Should We Want a Black President?" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

When Colin Powell considered running for president, the question on everyone's mind was whether or not he could win. In other words, would white people who said they liked him really vote for him? Powell eventually decided to shoot for a high profile gig with the next Republican administration, and the question remained unanswered.
Unlike Powell, Senator Barack Obama has entered a presidential race. He is the candidate with all the buzz, and he has raised a ton of money. Hillary Clinton thought that being the boss's wife would be enough to waltz into the nomination. All she had to do was bask in the Clintonian after-glow and presto, instant oval office residency.
Sadly for her, she shares her husband's politics of meaninglessness but none of his personal charisma. She can't get away with fence straddling, triangulating, or insulting the party base. Along comes Obama, a living reincarnation of Clintonian political charm straight from the glory days. Now that Hillary has been out Clintoned, she looks less like a sure thing.

Obama has mastered the art of political bullsh*tology, and proven campaign fund-raising prowess. He does look like a contender. The likelihood of white people voting for him is still open to question, but that may not be the most important question. Black Americans will again support the Democratic nominee, but is Obama more worthy of that loyalty than any other Democrat?
If he is a winner, it will be in large part because he is willing to throw black people under the bus. He proved as much in his
overrated speech at the 2004 Democratic national convention. "There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America - there's the United States of America." Of course there is a black America, and most of us don't want to pretend otherwise.
Obama's 2004 speech does not mention racism, not even to say something bland such as, racism is bad. Obama sells color blindness in a country that is all about the color spectrum. It makes no sense for black America to embrace this obvious canard. Will we purchase a lemon if the seller looks like us?
When Obama says that the best way to end poverty is to keep teenage girls from having babies, he is insulting us all. If he wants to channel Bill Cosby he must know that it comes with a price. Our support is not his birthright. If he can't bring himself to talk about the loss of high paying union jobs and the deliberate destruction of black public schools, he must know that he can't expect unqualified support.

Noting Patricia J. Williams ridiculous claims (and ridiculous appearence) on a radio program (KPFA's The Morning Show, February 23rd), Gina wishes someone could "make the 'informed' law porfessor aware of Margaret Kimberley who is not a Fox 'News' gasbag since the professor is under the mistaken belief that only Republicans are raising this issue."

Turning to RadioNation with Laura Flanders:

On Saturday
On this last weekend of RadioNation, live, on the weekends, we talk again with some the inspiring people we've met over the past three years. On Saturday, Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense, on the biggest friendly fire incident in U.S. military history - in Gulf War I. Then, the latest BLUE GRIT victories in Montana and Pittsburgh. And RENO returns in our last hour, along with some of our favorite musical moments.
On Sunday
On Sunday, we hear about Hillary Inc from the Nation's Ari Berman. Then what's now and what's next for New Orleans, with among others, the Common Ground Collective, Diane Shamis, of Progressive Democrats of America and author and musical historian Ned Sublette. JOIN US. And if you haven't done it yet, sign up to join our email list so we can stay in touch with you henceforth.
AND Don't miss Laura in the book Salon, this Sunday (5/20) 1 PM ET at

The book is Blue Grit. Rushing this time last week, I wrongly called True Grit. Blue Grit's a wonderful book and you can read "1 Book, 5 Minutes" for our discussion of the book. This weekend, RadioNation with Laura Flanders airs Saturdays and Sundays on radio stations that carry Air America programming, on XM satellite radio and online -- from 7:00 to 10:00 pm EST. Next week, it moves to Sunday only, starting at 1:00 pm (EST) in another sign that Air America still doesn't have a clue on how to increase ratings or retain a loyal audience. (Lionel! has resulted in a record number of phone calls and angry e-mails which are wrongly seen as "people are listening!" No, the program is not called "Lionel!" -- there is no exclamation point but it's the sort of psuedo outraged gas baggery that should come with one). To sign up for the e-mail list (as Martha and many others have) visit RadioNation with Laura Flanders and sign up. There's no charge.

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

* Betty's typing her latest chapter up right now and this may beat her latest chapter in posting.

Lloyd notes Robin Wright's "Iraqi Shiite Party Leader Now in U.S. for Lung-Cancer Treatment" (Washington Post):

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the largest and most powerful Shiite party in Iraq, is in the United States for urgent medical attention, according to U.S. officials and his organization.
His party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, refused to discuss Hakim's diagnosis, but U.S. officials said the cleric, 57, has been found to have lung cancer and is in the United States for further tests and to develop a treatment plan.

Martha notes this from John Ward Anderson's "5 U.S. Troops, 2 Journalists Die in Iraq" (Washington Post):

Five U.S. soldiers were killed and nine wounded in separate attacks in Baghdad and the restive province of Diyala northeast of the capital, the U.S. military said Friday, and ABC News reported that two Iraqi journalists working for the network's Baghdad bureau were killed by gunmen while on their way home from work Thursday night.
A statement by ABC News President David Westin identified the journalists as cameraman Alaa Uldeen Aziz, 33, and soundman Saif Laith Yousuf, 26.

From the same article, I'll note that 21 corpses were discovered in Khalis -- add that to yesterday's other reported corpse discoveries ("Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports five corpses discovered in the Babil province. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 15 corpses in Baquba.") and you have at least 66 corpses reported discovered on Friday throughout Iraq.

The e-mail address for this site is

[C.I. note: *Saturday* replaces Friday. I was wrong and tired. Thank you to Brady for catching that.]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Iraq snapshot

Friday, May 18, 2007.  Chaos and violence continue, day 7 passes with no news of the whereabouts of the 3 missing US soldiers, the US miliarty announces more deaths, America's ABC announces the death of two of their journalists in Iraq,
the US military announced that they were continuing the search "for three missing U.S. Soldiers who are believed to have been abducted . . . Saturday in Quarghuli Village".  The soldiers remain missing.  One identification that has been made is the fourth soldier killed on Saturday.  CNN reports that he has been identified as Anthony J. Schober of Reno, NV.
CNN lists the three missing soldiers as being: Byron W. Fouty, Alex R. Jimenez and Joseph J. Anzack Jr.  Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes: "The manhunt has involved an extraordinary array of resources, including helicopters, drones, manned aircraft, forensic experts, FBI interrogators and dogs that can sniff for bombs and bobieds."
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that, yesterday, "the wear was showing, not just on the soldiers obsessed with finding their comrades but also on the hamlets that dot the region southwest of Baghdad, which is blessed with groves of elegant date palms and riddled with pro-Al Qaeda insurgents.  Hundreds of local men have been detained for questioning, leaving women, children and legions of ferociosly barking dogs in charge of Iraqi towns such as Rushdi Mullah, a community of 86 households under a virtual siege by troops looking for their buddies." 
Yesterday's snapshot noted: ". . . protests take place in Baghdad, . . ." That was it (my apologies).  The protests were described yesterday by Thomas Wagner (AP): "In northern Baghdad, about 200 Iraqis marched down a street in the mostly Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab, shouting slogans and carrying banners demanding that the thousands of US soldiers conducting a security crackdown in the capital stop creating forward operating bases in neighbourhoods and searching homes for suspected insurgents and militiamen."  Thursday protest resulted from the tensions that Susman describes today.  Today was day seven of the 3 US troops being missing and, only on day seven, did the New York Times decide it was front page news (Damien Cave's "Hunt for 3 G.I.'s in Iraq Slowed by False Trails").  Also in the paper is Paul von Zielbauer's report on the just revealed story (AP broke this yesterday) about the army's investigation of the June 2006 attack and kidnappings (2 US soldiers) and later deaths revealed that the dead "had been left for up to 36 hours without supervision or enough firepower or support to repel even a small group of enemy fighters."  No one in the Times draws the obvious comparison from the June 2006 events and the attack last Saturday.  This despite the fact that the report on the 2006 attack noted the 25 minute arrival by the "quick reaction force."  Last Saturday's attack took one hour before other troops arrived.  Or one hour until Wednesday when the US military changed their story and began insisting that it took 30 minutes.  The report on the 2006 attack wasn't criticizing the responders -- it was noted that the distance plotted was too great -- a command issue, not an on the ground issue.  The same thing appears to have happened with last Saturday's attack.
As the war drags on, some work to end it.  Judith Scherr (The Berkeley Daily Planet) reports US war resister Agustin Aguayo took part in "a gathering Tuesday morning outside City Hall sponsored by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, Courage to Resist and the Ehren Watada support committee.  The event was to celebrate the city's first Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters Day, an event to be observed annually every May 15."  Monday, pre-trial motions begin for Ehren Watada -- the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and the first officer to be court-martialed (in February, it ended in a mistrial and double jeopardy should prevent him from being court-martialed again).   Also on Monday, airs Questioning War-Organizing Resistance from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST and will address the issue of war resistance with guests including Pablo Paredes, Michael Wong, Jeff Paterson and Camilo Mejia.  More information can be found in Carol Brouillet's "Questioning War- Organizing Resistance- War Resisters Radio Show" (Indybay IMC).
Camilo Mejia's just released Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) traces his journey.  From pages 224-225:
Through media contacts from before I went underground, I had gotten the contact information for a man named Steve Robinson, a retired Special Forces veteran who led an organization called the National Gulf War Resource Center, which provides support to veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.  Steve in turn put me in touch with Tod Ensign, the director of the soldiers' rights organization called Citizen Soldier
Thus a couple of weeks after the end of my leave I found myself on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue outside the address that Tod had given me over the phone.  Looking at the building from the street, I thought at first I had arrived at the fancy headquarters of a well-funded organization.  Once inside, however, I found that the Citizen Soldier offices were quite modest.  Furthermore, far from the uptight, heartless image I'd always had of attorneys, Tod turned out to be a down-to-earth kind of guy, with a big smile and a physical resemblance to Christopher Walken -- a similarity only enhanced by his heavy New York City accent.  As a young attorney in the sixties and seventies, Tod had been involved in the Vietnam GI resistance movement, and had helped underground soldiers living abroad with safe passage back to the United States, a legal defense, and the means to get their stories out to the media.
As soon as I spoke with Tod the door to a new world opend up before my eyes.  I went from feeling powerless and alone to realizing that there was a whole network of people and groups, from women's rights organizations and antiwar veterans to military families and religious groups, who all felt as I did about the war.
Tod and I discussed how I was going to handle my absence from the military.  We agreed that I should do everything I could to avoid getting arrested and then give myself up voluntarily while insisting in court on my right to be legally discharged from the service.  This strategy of surrendering myself would defeat the charge of desertion, which is roughtly defined as unauthorized absence from the military with the intent to remain permanently away.
Mejia has been taking part in a speaking tour that wraps up today:

Friday May 18 - Berkeley
7pm at St. Joseph the Worker featuring Camilo Mejia.

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin 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, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
Tod Ensign, who Camilo Mejia wrote of, also started up the Different Drummer Cafe where a group of Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke in March.  Eric Ruder (ISR) provides a transcript and we'll note Matt Hrutkay today:
About a week and a half ago I was browsing through the VA Web site.  They have a section in there devoted to PTSD.  It has a guide for VA medical providers, doctors, psychologists, etc. that are dealing with people coming back from Iraq having these issues.  And they have in there an encouragment to physicians to diagnose people with "adjustment disorder," "anxiety disorder," and "personality disorder."  The reason they're doing that is so they can claim that there was a pre-existing condition before I joined the army and my issues have nothing to do with being blown up twenty-one times.
According to statistics, 18 percent of soldiers coming back from Iraq suffer some form, mild or severe, of PTSD.  That's 18 percent according to an army physician at the VA.  Of those, add to that people like me who have multiple symptoms of this but still get diagnosed as it being "my own problem."  Add to that, people who are scared to go to mental health clinics because of their chain of command, because they're scared they won't get promoted.  Because they're scared their buddies will make fun of them.  I think you can then see how much prevalent that issue is and what the numbers are probably more likely to be.  I'm not going to say what percentage really have PTSD coming back because it would be a guess.  But I think it's clear from my own experience that this issue is probably the most prevalent issue facing returning soldiers and it's being compltely ignored.
CODEPINK is in DC for the summer of activism and Rae Abileah shares, "Today when I was at Congress for a meeting I stopped by the underground subway between the House buildings and the Capitol as many Congressmembers were walking through to vote on something.  Though I didn't have a specific bill to ask them about, I did shake many of their hands, and to every one I asked the question, 'Have you done something today to staop the war in Iraq?' 'Help us bring our troops home!' Because it is possible to walk these halls of Congress and feel very distant from the mere idea of war, it felt very effective be a constant voice about the conflict outside the passageway to the Capitol.  Imagine if every time there was any vote in Congress, every member going from their office to the Capitol was confronted with the message that it is time to bring our troops home and get out of Iraq.
Our Congresspeople are for the most part behind the times in terms of public opinion about the war. Not only do we have to 'push' them to do the right thing, support key legislation, stop the war... we have to 'pull' them, by leading them towards the right direction. I envision hundreds of people here on a daily basis helping to pull Congress away from the Bush Agenda and towards peace. To increase our numbers from a dozen to a hundred... we need YOU! Click on the links to the right to find out how to join us in DC! Or raise a ruckus at your Congressperson's nearest office!"  The links she was referencing are:

They, Cindy Sheehan and a number of other individuals and organizations are working to make this summer one of activism and volume so that Congress not only grasps that the people have turned on the illegal war but that it is time to end it.
Peace activists are surging on Washington DC -- to bear witness as Congress again takes up Iraq War funding and the Pentagon budget, and continues to hold hearings on civil liberties, torture, and more. Click here for the latest legislative information.
UFPJ hopes you will get the word out: There is plenty to do in Washington, and a steady flow of people into the nation's capital will have a tremendous impact in the coming months. UFPJ endorses these efforts, and encourages other creative actions and projects, both in DC and around the country. (If you are organizing an action, please post it on our events calendar.)
Turning to Iraq, two journalists who worked for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) were killed in Iraq yesterday: Alaa Uldeen Aziz and Saif Laith Yousuf.  AFP reports they were "ambushed and killed as they returned hom from work at their Baghdad office" and notes: "At least 170 journalists and media professionals have been killed in the fighting that has gripped Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion, according to the watchdog Reporters without Borders."  AP quotes Terry McCarthy (ABC correspondent in Baghdad) stating: "They are really our eyes and ears in Iraq.  Many places in Baghdad are just too dangerous for foreigners to go now, so we have Iraqi camera crews who very bravely go out. . . . .  Without them, we are blind, we cannot see what's going on."  ABC notes:
Aziz is survived by his wife, his two daughters and his mother.  Yousuf leaves behind his fiancee, his mother and brothers and sisters.  Mike Tuggle, an ABC News producer who worked with Aziz, remembers a game of pool they played on his first trip to Baghdad.
"I had some down time and got into a game of pool with Alaa.  He beat me badly.  Just before he hit the last ball in he looked up at me and said, 'My name is Alaa Uldeen, but you can call me Aladdin, because I have his magic on the pool table," Tuggle wrote in an e-mail message.
"The balls they just disappear," Tuggle continued, "And his face lit up with that big smile of his."
In Iraq today . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack at Abu Dhaba killing one ("5 were injured including children"). Reuters reports: "A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle at an Iraqi police checkpoint in the town of Mussayab, south of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding four police said."
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Baghdad, a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad, that following an explosion in Baghdad's Al Hurriyah, two people were killed (6 wounded), two police officers were shot dead in Al Wajihiya (2 more wounded) and Bku Shukr Saber ("Kurdish Iraqi army officer") was shot dead in Kirkuk.
Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports five corpses discovered in the Babil province.  Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and 15 corpses in Baquba.
Today the US military announced: "While conducting operations two MND-B Soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded in separate attacks in the southern section of the Iraqi capital May 17.  Three soldiers have been returned to duty."  And they announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Diyala Province, Friday when an explosion occurred near their vehicle."
Finally, IRIN reports on the educational crisis in Iraq and quotes Baghdad University's Professor Fua'ad Abdel-Razak, "Violence and lack of resources have undermined the education sector in Iraq.  No student will graduate this year with sufficient competence to perform his or her job, and pupils will end the year with less than 60 percent of the knowledge that was supposed to have been imparted to them." 

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If you haven't already purchased your tickets, Steven R. Weisman's "Wolfowitz Resigns, Ending Long Fight at World Bank" tells you that the engagement comes to an end June 30th. No word yet on whether or not this is the farewell tour. But, as Isaiah noted last month, it was a "Limited Engagement." Though still unconfirmed, there are
rumors that the summer dates will be filled by fellow War Hawk, Condi Rice.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Wilkerson, in the Los Angeles Times, argues Wolfie is "The Architect of his own collapse."

Cody notes Sara Rich's "A Military Mom in a Mother of a March" (AfterDowningStreet):

I left the Codepink house with my IMPEACH Bush and Cheney T-Shirt, my peace dog tags and a large strip of pink duct tape on my chest with the number 3,396 written in big black numbers on my chest.
I arrived at Lafayette Park with my friend Cindy K., who is also a military mom. We came little early to be there to meet people and get something to eat before the march, We talked about the possibility of using civil disobedience and what we wanted to convey in our message when we took the stage for the rally part of the event. Cindy's soldier is in Iraq right now and we have all been on edge waiting to hear news of him. It was her first Mother's Day without a call from her son. It added a somber note to our day.
We talked about what kind of group we can start as military mothers to support and advocate for our children in service and how we can take action on their behalf. We started coming up with terms to explain what we go through as military moms. The one we decided on was "deployment depression." How it feels to be a mom knowing your child is far away in a combat zone and not knowing when or even if you will ever hear from them again. It is a miserable existence and we do our best to put on a good face, but inside I remember feeling dark and always in crisis mode.
We joined three more military moms that day. Marty, whose child is also deployed to Iraq, Tina, whose son is now a veteran with severe post traumatic stress disorder and Cindy S., who's living our worst nightmare, her child was killed in Iraq. The sense of energy and support we generate with are hearts open and our mother bear instincts on red alert was extremely energizing and increased my resolve to be fully present for the actions planned for the day. As we listened to people talking and repeating the message of how the United States issues are not just the war, but the torture, the abuse of veterans, the oppression of the poor, the lack of healthcare, the shameful and detrimental foreign policies that this administration has shoved down the throat of the world............only one solution came to light for me: IMPEACHMENT. Impeachment of all of the criminals in the white house and their accomplices in the house and senate. This administration and their minions are responsible for millions of deaths world wide and the extermination and genocide just continues.
With this is mind, I took the stage. The image of my hands drenched in blood leaving hand prints on every Congressional representative and Senators door that voted for this illegal and immoral war flashed in my mind. The White House no longer white but covered in the bright red and dark and crusted black red of new and old blood. When is it going to be enough for the American people? I talked about our troops and how we love them and just want them to come home safe and sound. We want them to be a part of the solution at home by helping rebuild New Orleans and healing our Nation as part of positive social programs. The rate of PTSD would go down if they were doing their real job to protect and serve, not being forced to participate as innocent civilians and children are killed needlessly.
Then I also talked about our own mental health and the state of our own hearts, realizing that it is crucial that we keep our hearts open to the good and the love that we know we all generate in this movement. If you find yourself jaded or full of hatred, take a step back, take a breath and come back when you feel better. We have to stay strong, healthy and remember to take a breath. As I spoke I gazed at the crowd and saw my daughter there watching me. Our mutual admiration took my attention for a moment. How far we have come in such a short time. Here I was speaking with powerful peace activists in front of the "white" house and she was standing there with her IVAW friends looking clear and strong in the moment. How blessed we are to be traveling this life together.

Sara Rich is the mother of Suzanne Swift. Gareth notes the latest scandal brewing in his region steering us to Robert Verkaik's "Kidnap and torture: new claims of Army war crimes in Iraq" (Indpendent of London):

The British Army is facing new allegations that it was involved in "forced disappearances", hostage-taking and torture of Iraqi civilians after the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
One of the claims is made by the former chairman of the Red Crescent in Basra, who alleges he was beaten unconscious by British soldiers after they accused him of being a senior official in Saddam's Baath party.
The family of another Iraqi civilian claims he was arrested and kidnapped by the British in order to secure the surrender of his brother, who was also accused of being a high-ranking member of the party. He was later found shot dead, still handcuffed and wearing a UK prisoner name tag.
Both cases are being prepared for hearings in the High Court in which the Government will be accused of war crimes while carrying out the arrest and detention of alleged senior members of the Baath party.

Staying on scandals, Eddie notes Michael Hedges' "Texas lawmakers say they will probe deaths of soldiers" (Houston Chronicle) and we'll note the sidebar first so everyone's on the same page:

REPORT DETAILS ARMY MISSTEPS The investigation into the kidnapping and murder plot that left three soldiers dead last June concluded there were a series of missteps by their commanders, including:
• The mission was inadequately planned, supervised and executed.
• The observation post was staffed by only three soldiers with one vehicle.
• The soldiers had inadequate training and the platoon's readiness was degraded by combat losses.
• Their vehicle was left unprotected for 36 hours.
• No immediate fire support was available.
• The quick-reaction force was 15 minutes or more away.
• No noncommissioned officer was at the post.
• The soldiers remained at their post too long to be alert.
• The unit failed to adequately assess the risks at that observation post.
• Iraqi army forces were not prepared to offer support at the bridge. -->

WASHINGTON -- Texas lawmakers Thursday said they would seek Pentagon assurances that it had corrected serious deficiencies found by an Army report detailing the abduction and murder of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca of Houston and another soldier in Iraq last year.
"We've been asking the Army for this report for a long time," said Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Brownsville, after the probe's findings were first reported by the Houston Chronicle on Thursday. "Based on what I've read, I can almost assure you we will have a hearing on this."
Menchaca and two other soldiers -- Pfc. Thomas Tucker and Spc. David Babineau -- were manning an isolated observation post near the town of Mahmoudiya June 16 when they were attacked by insurgents. Babineau was killed, and Menchaca and Tucker were captured. Their mutilated bodies were recovered two days later during a massive search by U.S. troops.
Menchaca's family lives in Ortiz's congressional district.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, whose district Menchaca called home, said she would work with House leaders to draft a letter to the Army seeking answers as to why the soldier's patrol was left isolated for a long period of time. The report said the three soldiers were assigned to a 24- to 36-hour mission at the observation post.
"These soldiers were vulnerable and overextended. It is important that the Pentagon provide detailed answers to any questions the family has," she said.

And the fact that Sheila Jackson Lee has to be prepared to fight today for answers to deaths nearly a year old is the strongest argument for the press to do their job right now regarding the missing 3 US soldiers.

Martha and Lloyd noted the same highlighted and Lloyd wrote, "The last report, no one could say 'Chatham House' but this one they can't shut up about." No, they can't. But the report pushes for the privitaziation of Iraq's oil, they can get behind that in the mainstream media. Now for their highlight, from John Ward Anderson's "60 Die in Iraq; Study Warns Of Collapse" (Washington Post):

A report released Thursday by Chatham House, a foreign policy research center in Britain, challenged the notion that violence in Iraq has subsided since the buildup of U.S. troops, saying, for instance, that car bombings had not diminished and arguing that radical groups were simply lying low.
"It can be argued that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation," the report said.
Crocker, in remarks to a group of reporters carried by the Reuters news service, said it would be "a terrible mistake" to conclude that, because al-Qaeda in Iraq was still able to mount suicide attacks, the U.S. strategy "isn't working, it isn't going to work and we just all need to pull stakes."
"If I had to evaluate today, and looking purely at the security situation, as devastating as the al-Qaeda-led chain of suicide vehicle attacks is, that does not in my mind suggest the failing of the state or of society," he said, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that a recent mortar attack on a U.S. Air Force base in Taji, just north of Baghdad, had damaged about 10 helicopters, most lightly. No one was injured in the attack.

Now, if you listen to Flashpoints Radio, you should be familiar with the name John Pilger. If not, hopefully you're still familiar with his work. (He's frequently a guest on Flashpoints Radio.) He has a book due out the first Tuesday of next month.

Please announce and forward widely!
Don't miss award-winning journalist and film-maker John Pilger ( on tour this June. He will be making appearances in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.

John Pilger is one of the world's pre-eminent investigative journalists and documentary film-makers. His best-selling books of reportage have in the words of Noam Chomsky "been a beacon of light in often dark times."

Full details below.

Pilger will discuss his new book, Freedom Next Time (Nation Books),
with Amy Goodman, host of
Democracy Now! They will consider Iraq,
Palestine, India, South Africa, and the island of Diego Garcia, where
the long struggle for freedom has taken place, but the people are
still waiting for its dream to be realized.
June 7
7 PM
Doors open 6:15 PM
The New School
Tishman Auditorium
66 West 12th Street
$5 admission; free for students with ID
A book signing of Freedom Next Time by Pilger and Static by Goodman
will follow the event.
Presented by The New School, the Center for Economic Research and
Social Change, and The Nation Institute, with support from the
Wallace Global Fund.
For ticket information, contact (212) 229-5488 or
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, visit
or e-mail

Pilger will discuss his new book, Freedom Next Time (Nation Books)
and show his film
Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on
. This film, set in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Washington, looks at
President Bush's "war on terror" and the "liberation" of countries
where bloodshed and repression continue.
June 11
7 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (
The JACCC is located at: 244 S. San Pedro Street (between 2nd and 3rd
Streets) in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los
Angeles, just blocks away from the Los Angeles Music Center and the
new Disney Hall. Followed by audience dialogue and a book signing.
$5 admission
A book signing of Freedom Next Time and other books by John Pilger
will follow the event.
Directions, maps, and parking info at:
Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and
The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.
For ticket information, call or visit the JACCC. Box office:
213-680-3700 (Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: Noon - 5 pm)
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, email

Pilger will discuss his new book, Freedom Next Time (Nation Books)
and show his film
Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on
. This film, set in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Washington, looks at
President Bush's "war on terror" and the "liberation" of countries
where bloodshed and repression continue. Followed by audience
dialogue and a book signing.
June 13
7 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (
701 Mission Street at Third
$15 general, $5 students
A book signing of Freedom Next Time and other books by John Pilger
will follow the event.
Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The
Nation Institute, and KPFA, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.
For ticket information, call 415-978-2787 or order online at In person tickets at YBCA Box office located
inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third.
(Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun: noon - 5 pm; Thu: noon - 8 pm.)
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, email

In his morning session, Pilger will discuss his new book,
Next Time
(Nation Books) and also engage in a conversation with
Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. Followed by
audience dialogue and a book signing.
In his evening session, Pilger will speak at a rally with other
prominent international activists fighting for justice.
June 16
two appearances at the Socialism 2007 conference
11:30 AM (followed by book signing) and 7:30 PM
Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare
5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018
Regular registration - whole conference: $85
Weekend Rate - Saturday and Sunday only: $70
Single day: $35
Single session: $10
Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The
Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund.
Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker,
Socialist Review
, and Haymarket Books.
For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail
For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or
For more information, email

* About the book:
"This highly informed, thoughtful and passionate work is an important a thread in the world's growing tapestry of political counter-narratives as those of Dee Brown or Howard Zinn."
--Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
"Pilger draws on meticulous research and interviews to uncover the human cost of the skullduggery of the imperial powers in Diego Garcia as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, South Africa, and Palestine as the U.S. and Britain have heartlessly put their interests ahead of those
citizens of weaker nations." --
"Freedom Next Time allows us to hear the personal testimonies of those challenging power. The array of interviews with the voiceless and abused provides an indispensable corrective to the litany of disinformation we are fed by the media, and for this achievement Pilger is surely the most outstanding journalist in the world today. --The Guardian (UK)

Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire is award-winning journalist John Pilger's vital examination of five countries' struggle toward freedom. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, elation swept South Africa as its people finally dared to dream that
a different world was possible. But as John Pilger movingly describes, true freedom remains a dream deferred.

In Freedom Next Time Pilger examines five counties -- South Africa, India, Palestine, Afghanistan and the forgotten Chagos Islands -- to reveal populations for whom the promise of true democracy remains elusive. His vivid eyewitness reporting and incisive interviews
expose the lies of our rulers, turning a piercing searchlight onto events that would otherwise be consigned to the shadows by an unrecognized, yet virulent censorship.

With his signature compassion and keen eye for detail, Pilger gives his reader a close study of the realities of these war-torn nations. In one of the most revealing chapters, Pilger offers one of the few journalistic studies of Britain's forced depopulation of the Chagos islands in the 1960s and 1970s. He describes a document drawn up by British planners in 1968, titled "maintaining the fiction," that argued that the islanders were not permanent inhabitants. When Pilger
asks Olivier Bancoult, the Chagossians' leader in exile, "What upsets you most?" He replies, "the lie that we didn't exist." Today the island remains a U.S. military base, to which the Chagossians have been unable to return, despite a grant from the High Court.

In Freedom Next Time Pilger gives voice to those who would otherwise remain silent, and in so doing salutes those who refuse to be defined as victims.

For more information, visit: .

John Pilger is a world-renowned journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker who began his career in 1958 in his homeland, Australia, before moving to London in the 1960s. He has been a foreign correspondent and a front-line war reporter throughout his career, and currently writes for the New Statesman, The Guardian, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, among others. He has twice won British journalism's highest award, Journalist of the Year, for his work all over the world, notably in Cambodia and Vietnam. He has been International Reporter of the Year and winner of the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. For his broadcasting, he has won France's Reporter Sans Frontieres, an American television Academy
Award, an Emmy, and the Richard Dimbleby Award, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He has made 57 documentary films, most of them shown on ITV network television in the UK and around the world. In 2003, he received the prestigious Sophie Prize
for "thirty years of exposing deception and furthering human rights." He holds numerous honorary degrees from British, Scottish and Irish universities. He is a Frank H.T. Rhodes Visiting Professor at Cornell University, New York. He is the author of many books including The New Rulers of the World.

Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire
by John Pilger
Nation Books / June 5, 2007
ISBN 1-56858-326-5 / 376 pp./ $16.95 / trade paperback
* For more information, visit

The e-mail address for this site is

limited engagement