Saturday, June 02, 2007

NYT: Provides a look at reporting in Iraq

In the New York Times today, you mainly get the realities of reporting on Iraq after your organization has signed on to various agreements and stipulations (which, in a democratic society, a press should never agree to).

There are three stories that are Iraq related (two from Iraq) and what you may notice first is that there's nothing about the US military killing three children while going after suspected insurgents yesterday (even though, see yesterday's snapshot) the military itself issued a statement.

It's appalling that three children are dead. It's amazing that the New York Times doesn't find that be news even with the US military putting the word out. (AP can note it today: "Three children were killed Friday in a U.S. attack on suspected militants in Anbar province, the military said." The Los Angeles Times also noted it and also noted a 7 year old girl was wounded and her ambulance driving father killed by US and Iraqi forces.)

Let's turn to Paul von Zielbauer's "General Says Bosses Knew Of '05 Killings In Iraqi Town" which is from Camp Pendleton and revolves around Major General Richard A. Huck's sworn testimony on Friday that everyone up the chain (at least to George Casey) knew about the Haditha slaughter. They didn't have all the details, but they knew 24 Iraqis were killed. And no one asked for an investigation.

PvZ tells you that Huck said he "had no idea that, five days after the Haditha episode, which took place on Nov. 19, 2005, town council members gave Colonel Chessani a letter in English demanding that the killings of '24 civilians' be investigated." They were civilians so we'll assume PvZ is quoting Huck. But what does that underscore about the press? The town council wasn't covered in real time. PvZ is playing court room reporter but who covered it in Iraq. (The paper went with the official military statement in real time.)

Let's move over to Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Number of Unidentified Bodies Found in Baghdad Rose Sharly in May" which tells you about a turf war (being portrayed by many outlets as Sunnis rejecting al Qaeda) in Amiriya. Oppel speaks to residents by phone. I'm not slamming him (I'm not even slamming PvZ above), but that's the reality of reporting in Iraq. And it's certainly an improvement over early Times reports that were nothing but rewrites of statements put out by Centcom. The count of corpses went up in Baghdad during May (which you know if you've paid attention to the daily count). Far fewer are being identified and Oppel says that's due to the fact that, in kidnapping cases, the killers remove any trace of identification before dumping the bodies. The increase in corpses discovered is probably a great deal higher than the number given (728 for the month) due to the fact that the figures come from the Ministry of the Interior which has been caught undercounting before. Oppel notes the AFP report (based on figures from the ministries of Interior, Health and Defense) that the death toll for Iraqis in May was 1,951 -- "a 30 percent increase from April."

Thom Shanker's on the front page with "Iraqi Bombers Thwart Efforts To Shield G.I.'s" which continues the myth that IEDs are a recent development . By the way, credit to Oppel for mentioning the two missing US soldiers.

Turning to other things, Kat's "Kat's Korner: Those Jones girls." That's pretty amazing. (I don't read Kat's reviews or Ruth's reports until they go up. The blogger/blogspot screen is too small to really enjoy reading in it.)

Adam Kokesh? Don't you love the centrists? That's sarcasm. A visitor e-mailed something from a centrist site that just went up saying that three are facing hearings but only Kokesh and
Liam Madden are known. As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Reuters reported the third yesterday: Cloy Richards.

Lynda notes Margaret Kimberley's "Savage Christians" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

The late Rev. Jerry Falwell was one of the most powerful men in American religious and political life. He was also an avowed segregationist, contending that Africans were the cursed descendants of Ham, and worthy only of subservience to white people. He was an adamant opponent of civil rights legislation, calling the Civil Rights Act a "civil wrong."
His segregationist ardor became inconvenient when he sought a national audience. He
removed many of his sermons from the 1950s and 1960s from his Liberty University archive. His lies paid off as the media made Falwell the Christian spokesman for all issues related to religion and politics. They soft-pedaled or even ignored his attacks on the civil rights movement. Yet Falwell's followers were under no misapprehension. They knew what their man wanted and followed in his foot steps.
Mark Uhl, a student at Liberty University, was in possession of homemade bombs when he was arrested at Falwell's funeral. He reportedly planned to use them against any protesters who might disrupt the festivities. Uhl had this to say on the social networking website My Space. "Christians, fear of death, fear of death. The fear of death shows you don't believe." He added this eye opening statement as well. "God needs soldiers to fight so his children may live free. Are you afraid??? I'm not. SEND ME!!!" Uhl sounds an awful lot like Osama bin Laden, who exhorts Muslims not to fear death when fighting in the name of their religion. While Americans have been told to fear Islam and all things Muslim, Christians are riding around with home made bombs. The Uhl story was mentioned by the media for only a day or two. The threat from Christians who publicly express a willingness to die for their faith goes unreported.
The terror attack that took place on September 11, 2001 was an aberration in more ways than one. Muslims were the perpetrators, but that is usually not the case. The purveyors of hate and violence in America are almost always Christians. Recently members of that same group had a collective hissy fit about Muslims. A Pew poll indicated that a small number of American Muslims, a minority of only 8%, considered suicide bombing acceptable under certain circumstances. The vast majority, 78%, said suicide bombing against civilian targets was
never acceptable.

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

Kat's Korner: Those Jones girls

"Those Jones girls."

Kat: That was always accompanied with a heavy sigh and said by my grandmother.

I'm not really sure what year it started but the illegal war in Vietnam was going on and my grandfather was "resting."

He'd had a heart attack and retired or been retired, they never tell kids anything, and my grandparents had moved in with us.

The Jones family lived on our street, four houses down. They were a mother, a father, a son in Vietnam and two daughters.

The blonde daughter was the older of the two and the first hippie on our street. This was apparently a big deal to my grandparents. My grandfather appeared to miss the sight of her long legs in a miniskirt while my grandmother fretted over why "that Jones girl" didn't do anything with her hair.

The other sister was two years younger, dark haired and always reminded me of Marlo Thomas but everyone else always said Mary Tyler Moore. Actually, when I was a kid, they said "Laura Petrie." It was only when I was a teenager, and MTM had her own show, that they said Mary Tyler Moore.

Among the neighborhood kids, there was huge split about who you liked. The fault line usually left those trying to figure out life on one side and those who still believed their parents were infallible and All Mighty on the other.

One day, the big news was that the Jones boy had been injured in Vietnam and would be coming home. As wounds went, it either wasn't very bad or they were sugar coating it for the kids.

Concern replaced curiosity when my mother and grandmother were trying to round up a kid or two to drag along as they took food over to the Joneses. My sisters weren't home and my brothers weren't interested. You better believe I grabbed the dangling invite.

We were all in the Jones kitchen, with the mother. The adults were drinking coffee. My mother was listening to what little was known at this point. But my grandmother had a look in her eye I knew well.

Suddenly she was standing and announcing that I needed to go to the bathroom, but keep talking, she'd take me. I don't remember how old I was at the time, 9? 13?, but I was too old to need someone "taking" me to the bathroom. But that's not what this was about. This was about snooping and you couldn't know my grandmother without knowing that hours spent watching the neighborhood from the front window was just a warm up.

The first thing my grandmother did on any visit to fresh territory was start opening cabinets. She didn't hide this. She'd be in the middle of talking and just get up, go to someone's kitchen cabinets and start looking through. She must have been restraining herself on this visit out of 'respect' for the wounded Jones boy.

The Jones house was interesting to the whole neighborhood for a number of reasons. Primarily because the family really didn't 'mix.' The two oldest kids did, the Jones boy and the Jones girl. Before he was sent to Vietnam, he'd hang out with the other guys, fixing cars in the drive way. Or trying to fix cars in the drive way. They spent hours on those cars. He'd smile at the kids younger than 16, maybe give a wave. His sister also stuck to the older kids and I must have spent at least one entire summer hearing my oldest sister discuss how she was "mature" but because she was one grade behind, she might as well not exist. Once a year, the entire family would turn out, at 4th of July, for the big backyard b-b-q. That was at our house and adult women were always pestering my mother with questions about what was the Jones mother like and how did she get her to come to the b-b-q when she wouldn't do anything else with the neighborhood? Another point of interest was their house which, unlike the rest, was set back from the street and had these huge bushes. Added to the mystery of the family.

For me, personally, there was also the fact that I was one of eight children, living in cramped quarters with two parents and a set of a grandparents.

We were the largest family on the block but there were others with six and five children. The smallest family on our block, outside of the occasional set of newlyweds just moving in, was the Jones family with just three kids.

What must that be like?

The daughters had their own bedrooms and, as my grandmother and I found out, the youngest had a white canopy bed (sheets and canopy were pink) that matched a tidy as a pin desk and bureau. The curtains were also pink. There was nothing on the white walls but this really bad framed pastel of a line of ballerinas. Pinned inside the closet, we found a magazine poster of someone and I'll say now it was Tony DiFranco just to keep the story moving. It may have been someone like him, but I really don't remember now. I remember thinking, whatever age I was, how uncool the guy was. I also remember my grandmother whispering "little rebel" and realizing how truly out of it my grandmother was.

The two shared a bathroom and I was especially knocked out or jealous over this. It was between their bedrooms and they could enter it from the door in the hall, if they wanted, or from either of their bedrooms.

It was more than the vast array of makeup, pimple cream, nail polish bottles, et al that stood out. Oh to be able to stumble out of bed -- in a room I shared with no sister -- walk straight to a door, open it and have a bathroom. Instead, in my family, the kids were always lined down the hall waiting our turn in the designated children's bathroom.

My oldest sister had ruined it for all of us when she left the iron on in my parent's bathroom, face down on the vanity, when she stopped in the midst of straightening her long hair, to take a phone call. In those pre-cordless phone days, "lucky" was having a phone with a really long cord.

The Jones girls' bathroom was just a little too fussed over. Like a mother had picked out everything, the way the youngest daughter's bedroom looked. We were at the door leading into the other daughter's room and we opened it and oh my God.

Now the way my grandmother was carrying on, you would have thought we found a room full of teens fixing on heroin in one corner, having an orgy in the center of the room and off in another corner putting together a bomb they were planning to use on the Statue of Liberty or at least the local Carl Jr.'s.

I didn't go for the drama but, no argument, it was impressive. The ceiling had a painting of Jimi Hendrix. It wasn't 'artistically pure,' but there was no mistaking the man was Hendrix. (For any wondering, my grandmother's shock had nothing to do with Hendrix' skin color. She could surprise you for an old woman. On the issue of civil rights, she was 100% for it and was fond of saying "we Irish" knew all about discrimination and had an obligation to fight it everywhere.)
My own thoughts were, and I'd already started drawing and painting at this point, "Eh, a little too Sunday comics." But I could tell it was Hendrix and mainly concerned with how she was physically able to paint the entire ceiling. The curtains were heavy and we just had the light from the bathroom so my grandmother flipped the switch, a red glow bathed the room, and then I was knocked out. The Hendrix ceiling was like one of those blue light posters. Very creative.

On the desk next to the bed, my grandmother had lost interest in the ceiling, were a couple of lava lamps, a clock radio and a square device that my grandmother couldn't figure out. I was about to tell her it was a strobe light but she'd already turned it on and spent a few second blinking before declaring "Drugs" and switching it off.

If tomorrow I was put under oath, I couldn't tell you what color the walls were. I could guess that they were white since that was the color of all the walls in the house. But you couldn't see any wall. Everything was covered with clippings and photos torn out of magazines. These weren't the glossies from 16. When there was a break from this, it was only to make room for something drawn or painted on a piece of paper. Sometimes it was just a slogan on a piece of a paper like: "LET'S TRY LIVING TOGETHER." I was looking at as much as I could, a compiled rock history that was actually then current, but my grandmother was fretting about all the holes in the wall from so many thumb tacks. She was at the closet door now but hesitating as if she was too afraid of what she would find. This from the woman who, again, eagerly rifled through your cabinets while she was standing before you.

So I did the mature thing and stepped around her. I opened the closet and there were a ton of groovy clothes, not all hanging. There were also a ton of maps and travel books. (My grandmother's comment was "I bet her mother has no idea.") I think it was all too much for my grandmother but she covered that by saying we'd been gone too long and we headed back to the kitchen.

The Jones boy came home and nothing much happened for awhile. My grandfather would tell us kids, when our parents weren't around, that the Jones boy was mainly shell shocked and my grandmother would tell him to stop, that kids didn't need to hear about this. But one night he was out in the Jones family Buick, apparently drunk, and creamed Ray's Barracuda.

That was a car put out by Plymouth and I know that only because I was starting to get heavily interested in guys. Guys like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Jim Morrison. None of whom lived in my neighborhood. So I'd try to find something in common those guys had with the older teenagers that were on my block. Ray and his father had gotten the Barracuda at a public auction. It had been pulled out of the Bay, or that's what everyone said. When it first got hauled back to their drive, not only could you not drive it, but it was an eyesore. And don't think my grandmother didn't note that fact every day. But Ray and the other boys worked on it and worked on it. I'd watch from my upstairs window sometimes -- like when they covered the windows with newspapers and spray painted it blue. And through weeks and weeks of work, they got that car running and it looked brand new. It was Ray's car but every guy on the block took pride in it.

Then came the Jones boy creaming it and I swear there would have been a next day ass kicking if everyone wasn't saying, "Well, he just got back from the war." I should probably note that Ray's car wasn't parked on the street. The Jones boy had jumped a curve, driven across the family's front yard and hit the Barracuda full on in the passenger side.

All any of us neighborhood kids cared about was the car but I know some of the parents were talking about how the yard was torn up as well.

The Jones parents had offered to pay to have it fixed but Ray's dad was all about how he'd been to Korea and he understood as he refused the money. The boys were back, pulling out whatever you call the inside of car doors and using rubber hammers (which I'm sure have another name) to try to bang out the dents. They did that over and over for a week before they finally hit the wrecking yards and found a score.

But that was really the beginning of the end of the mystery. The blonde Jones girl was making it very clear she wasn't part of the family anymore or even part of the neighborhood. It might have been as much as six months later that she split for good or it might have only been two weeks. Her exit was big drama as she stood in their drive way screaming at her parents, who were trying to get her back in the house, that they weren't helping her brother "and he needs help!" That was it and she was out of there.

Maybe out of embarrassment over that or Ray's car, they made an attempt to interact with the neighbors more. They'd walk over in the evenings with their youngest daughter who looked put out and talk to a neighbor, then talk to another. I remember once coming home from school to find the Jones mother crying to my mother in our kitchen and knowing to back my butt right back out before my mother told me.

Then came the big moment. The moment everyone in the neighborhood talked about. It was a summer day and after dinner, but the sun was still out. The Jones boy was out on their front yard screaming. We were hurried into the house and I ran straight to my bedroom window because I had never seen a man nude except in statues and paintings. He was hollering about the war being a crime, something the older teenagers might whisper but most wouldn't say anything, it was my age group that would say that full out, even in front of our parents.

Whatever he was saying, I remember thinking, "You tell 'em!"

But I was more interested in his body. He had a nasty wound on his chest, left side, but other than that, forget the David, this was the body to check out. Even though my other sisters were trying to nudge me out of the way to get a better look, you know I wasn't giving up my perch. So that's what one of those looked like on an adult male. Lot of hair around the thing but interesting. His parents were trying to talk to him and the father kept trying to put a blanket over him. He kept tossing it to the ground. After about ten minutes, he finally stormed off, down the street, still naked.

No one ever stopped talking about that. Even two years later, we'd still mention it. The grown ups tried to pretend like they didn't talk about it. But we'd catch the silences when we entered a room. Sometimes, we'd catch a word or two before they saw us.

The Jones boy was gone. He never came back. The family put a "FOR SALE" sign up in the front yard. They stopped trying to mingle and I remember when the father would get out of his car at the end of the day, he'd make a point to look down at the ground and avoid catching the eye of anyone out in their own yards. At least one more time, the mother visited mine. The youngest Jones girl went around looking sad and angry. I've actually got a picture, one of the first ones I ever took, with her in it. I had my friends lined up in the front yard to take a picture and she's walking past in the background. She's glaring out of the corner of her eye.

Now you're probably either saying "Go on" right now or asking what this has to do with music?

Two Jones women, different Jones women, have CDs out now. Rickie Lee Jones put out The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard and Norah Jones put out Not Too Late. When I listen, they remind me of those Jones girls.

Rickie Lee Jones has a stripped down sound on this album. There's an electric piano on one track and a keyboard on the other, but no "We Belong." It's a guitar driven CD and she's exploring issues of spirituality/state of the world throughout. It's a new tactic for her but it works, it satisfies and reminds you of just how much RLJ has always refused to sit still. It's really meaningless to say "Check out track ___ and track ___" because she's offering a full album, an artistic journey. I'm certain that "Lamp Of the Body," "It Hurts," "Circle In The Sand" or "Elvis Cadillac" will end up on a RLJ collection at some point in the future, maybe more than one. But this really works best as a full listen and you don't want to use "shuffle," you want to listen straight through and it's easy to do so when it kicks off with something as strong as "Nobody Knows My Name."

Then we've got Norah Jones known to too many as "Snorah Jones." See RLJ reminds me of the blonde daughter from my street. She's always exploring and on a journey. She's life itself. Norah Jones is the other sister. She's the one everybody's parents like. And I wasn't thinking I'd even enjoy this CD. But there's something about Not Too Late that reminds me of the photo I took that I was telling you about. I don't know what's happened in Norah Jones' life, from press accounts, not much and all is happy. But don't ever swear on press accounts.

Maybe though Norah Jones hasn't suffered some tremendous loss, maybe she's just realized that being beloved by parents everywhere isn't quite where she wants to be? Maybe she doesn't see the height of art as appearing in Two Weeks Notice? She's actually worked her butt off her to stretch. It's not the stretch RLJ regularly makes, but it's a huge improvement over her past work.

Not Too Late works as an album not because of art. There's no cohesive statement here. Tracks seven, eight and nine demonstrate that might be a possibility in the future. I don't know that Norah Jones' inner world has fallen apart, maybe she didn't need it to move beyond the cloying "Come Away With Me" or the did not come song that led to many jokes about her. She was supposed to be stretching on the last album and that was nothing but standing still. Here, she's going for something and sometimes reaching it and sometimes failing. So you still get the standard issue "Be My Somebody," for instance. A song no one needed because there are about sixty similar ones being piped in at Starbucks across the country as I type.

But there's enough here to demonstrate that she realizes she needs to stretch and enough to indicate that she's actually capable of art and not just pleasing sounds. I'd say she's got half of an interesting album here. After track nine, she's back to doing what she's always done. It plays like somebody got scared. Like, in the middle of playing Red Light Green Light on the school yard, she froze and you're waiting for the kid on the swing to knock into her and send her sprawling to the ground. (The whistle on "Little Room" may lead you to cheer that knocking down.) I think the front and back cover of the standard CD (there's a deluxe edition) capture the two sides of this album. On the front cover, she's sitting with her dress spread out looking too dainty for this world, like a doll a child's left behind (and outgrown). The back cover isn't a photo, it's a painting. She doesn't look pretty with a pointy face and too large eyes. Her knees are nobby, her elbows are pointy. She's at a piano playing. That's the Norah coming through on the best tracks. Miss Pretty comes through on the worst.

If she can lose the need to be pretty, she might actually someday have a shot at something like The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard. That'll require being freer with her emotions and her art and it will mean more songs that aren't pretty. For now, she's put out a better CD than most of us would have expected with moments of real art.

Community note

Doing a community note because, if I don't, it will be brought up at The Third Estate Sunday Review. We've got enough to work on.

First. Repeating:

In media news, as independent media continues to be under attack, News Dissector Danny Schechter's "Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" announces the potential fate of which may shut down: "If we can get 1500 of our readers (that means you) to give $25, we can keep going for another quarter. [PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE]"

If you're able to give and would like to, please do.

That news was first noted Thursday morning. It really screwed up my morning. One reason because one of the walls I've put up to avoid burning out is letting Elaine sign off on my own donations. She made strong points for that (including having given it all away during Vietnam).
(She wrote about this here.) She said, when I agreed, she wasn't doing it to waste her time and couldn't stop anything I wanted to do, but if I wasn't going to listen, there was no point. I'm already giving to several things and she (based on earlier experiences) said forget media.

So I knew what the response was going to be. Reading the e-mail Thursday morning by a member (and I have no idea who highlighted it, look for the post), I was just in shock. Jess knocked at my hotel room door and I said I'd be done posting in a second but I wasn't. When Jess knocked again, I still wasn't dressed. (I'm not a "pajama bloggers." First off, this isn't a "blog." Second of all, I get up and work out before I work on entries. I turn on the computer as I hit the shower. Come back, in a towel, and start working on the entries.)

I hurried to get dressed because we had an early campus thing. On the way, I realized I'd forgotten several items (including under clothing). And Jess kept looking over on the ride to the first campus before I finally grabbed a clue and grabbed a mirror. My hair was a homage to Della Reese and her piggy back wig look pioneered in Touched By Angel. The top was going in one direction and the sides in two other directions. I fixed it quickly. (Ava laughed at the story and said Jess once avoided telling her until right before they walked into a room that the seam in the back of her dress had split. His reason for waiting so long? He didn't want to embarrass her in case that was a look she was going for.) (To clarify, my hair is my own. Even if the color isn't.)

But I avoided calling Elaine because, as she reminded when I called her Friday, "I said this was going to happen." I've put everything on hold since February 2003. I'm not poor and can afford not to work. I've got money coming in from investments. And I've got a lot of money going out (traveling to campuses, donating to causes, etc.) . But I went through this during Vietnam and ended up broke. I don't regret that overall because the money went to good causes but I'm not as young as I was then (as Elaine points out repeatedly) and "luck runs out at some point." I knew the point she would make over the phone because she made it not all that long ago and repeated it during Vietnam which was basically that media should rise or fall on its own. There are individuals in need and she's all for that but she is really not a friend of media.

She was right about walls needing to go up and she's right that when you're constantly touching capitol and not just living off investments, you're begging for trouble. So . . .

I made myself sick about this. I woke up this morning and didn't even want to see the New York Times. When we (Jess and I) got back late yesterday, I went right to bed. (I also got caught in a downpour two weeks ago and cannot shake the cold I've had ever since.) My stomach was killing me this morning and I finally took a pill Jim was trying to pass off on me (over the counter, I have no idea what it's for) and went back to sleep. (Famotidine Tablet. That's what the now empty metal package says. It's an acid reducer.)

I got up at ten to listen to the special:

In other news, Saturday from 10:00 am until noon (PST), KPFA will broadcast a Pacifica Radio and Free Speech Radio News special hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar (host of KPFK's
Uprising) and Dalia Hashad (attorney, the USA program director for Amnesty International and one of the co-hosts of WBAI's Law and Disorder). The special will address the new Senate bill on immigration which is due to be voted on shortly and "present challenging interviews with lawmakers, and look at global dynamics that lead to migration and Europe's own crackdown on immigration."

Then Ava and I worked on our write up of it for Hilda's Mix. (The special is archived and you can listen to it using the links. Among others, Deepa Fernandes is on it.)

By then, I was in "letting go" mode. If you've got the money to give to MediaChannel and you'd like to, please do. As Elaine pointed out, that's the only thing that will keep it alive and growing, not one person rushing to the rescue.

The other thing, unrelated to MediaChannel, was "try to do somebody a ___ damn favor." Rebecca tells that story, which I don't remember, about our time in college. We let someone stay over on our couch one time who was just a pain in the ass. At three in the morning, she went to all of our bedroom doors knocking and woke us up. For what? I don't know. But supposedly that was my reply as I exited my room (Rebecca says that's what I said).

That's really how I'm feeling towards someone I don't know but attempted to help (and did) only to get slammed for it. (To Ava. Bad enough to slam me, but to slam me in an e-mail to Ava is really stupid.) I don't know the person (or of them -- I never heard of them before I was asked for the favor), I helped out the person and that apparently wasn't enough. I was supposed to, apparently, help out and praise this person (whom I don't know). I was supposed to sing the praises of this person of this unknown person, help advance their career apparently, just because I was asked. Did I do everything I was originally asked? Yes. But I didn't sing the praises. I wasn't asked to. Not that I would have if I'd been asked but how about slamming me for what I do and not for what I was never asked to do?

That really did and does piss me off. And Betty, who had been on board to help out as well, had the e-mail read to her by Ava and said, "Forget it. ___ is the most ungrateful person in the world." Which is why Trina also took a pass. Those who didn't take a pass said it was the last thing they'd ever do for this person (whom none of us know).

For the record, just FYI, if you ask for a favor and you get it and then you're about to get even more, don't trash the person helping you in the middle of it. Just say "thank you."

Don't say "Thank you and now let me complain that C.I. didn't sing my praises and how hurtful that was." The help has stopped as a result and I've kept my own word but I'm done with you.
I finished up with my second promise and I'm now done. (This does apply to TCI and members will know what it's about because Mike writes about it for Polly's Brew tomorrow, if any members in the dark. Most aren't. Most have already e-mailed because they noticed it.)

So that had to be finished today, the second part of the favor. And keeping my word to someone (that I don't know and had never heard of) who has trashed me was enough to make me want to go back to bed this morning. If it hadn't been for the special, I'd still be asleep probably. (The pill did stop the stomach pain.) But the end result of all this is people asking for help can pretty much forget it. If I don't know you or know of you, don't even ask. To be trashed like that when I put myself on the line for a stranger was my last straw. And if the person sees this and is bothered by it, consider yourself lucky because only by noting this here will Jim agree not to bring it up (in detail -- not abstract talk) at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Kat. I was supposed to post her latest review either Thursday or Friday. (It was actually supposed to go up Monday.) I completely forgot. The last few days have been a haze. After this goes up, Kat goes up and I'll be working on regular entry and not a community post. My apologies to everyone except Kat who says it's no big deal "and shut up already." I also need to call Betty back (I was asleep when she called to read her latest chapter over the phone.)

Totally unrelated, but if I hadn't spent the last few days in a fog, I would have already noted Rebecca's "5 men on the court think they know best ... about women " from Wednesday night. Please read that.

The e-mail address for this site is

"World Press Freedom in the Eyes & Ears of the Beholder" (Trish Schuh)

"World Press Freedom in the Eyes & Ears of the Beholder" by Trish Schuh

UNITED NATIONS- On the 14th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day celebrated in May 3, UNESCO hosted an event for journalists called "Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists and Impunity." Under Article 1 of its Constitution, UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom.
United Nations Correspondent Association President Tuyet J. Nguyen spoke about the life-threatening danger faced by journalists covering such war zones as Rwanda and Iraq where the media is controlled by special interests or armed political parties.
Mr. Georges Malbrunot of France's neocon Le Figaro spoke of newsgathering under various "vicious surveillance" states- all Arab- and starting with Syria. In contrast, Malbrunot's embedding with American forces in Iraq was "not a bad solution", but opened embeddees to paranoid Arab charges of being "a spy...Its one of the major blames addressed to the foreign press today... Of course this blame is 99.9% wrong, but in the minds of these people who suffer from "conspiracy theory" this accusation is serious" and can cost a journalist his life. "There is alot of work to do to convince these groups that the journalist is not a spy." Malbrunot added that it is the work of Muslim Imams, scholars, leaders etc to persuade their Muslim flock of this fact... "Only then will the fate of the global war against terror be dramatically changed."
This writer asked the panel if journalists themselves could ever be partly responsible for such suspicions? Citing CNN's Anderson Cooper, who admitted spending his earlier summers working for the CIA: "Doesn't this kind of moonlighting put other journalists at risk?"
No response from the panel.
Representing half a million media professionals around the world on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists was Judith Matloff, a Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a member of the International News Safety Institute. Professor Matloff implored the international community to uphold UN Security Council Resolution 1738 which prohibits the killing and targeting of media, and protects free speech and freedom of the press globally.
In a followup conversation by telephone on May 25, I asked Prof Matloff for her opinion on how UNSCR 1738 applies to Lebanon's Al Manar TV and the LMG communications network- Lebanese media outlets bombed by Israel during the 2006 war, and officially censored as a "terrorist organization" by the US Congress.
Regarding this unprecedented, landmark free speech/censorship law, Ivy League academic Matloff said she was "unfamiliar with these situations" and refused to comment on Middle East issues. "I am an Africa specialist".
But wasn't free speech protected equally around the world under Res 1738? In the Middle East, as well as in Africa? Being a media expert, could she comment on what a law equating the media with "terrorism" could mean for freedom of the press? Concurrent with Bush's admitted deliberate bombing of Al Jazeera in Afghanistan and Iraq?
"I never heard of that," Matloff said.
With her credentials, shouldn't such Katrina-scale censorship have caught her eye?
Or perhaps she could assess how the mainstream media's advocacy of falsehoods promoted an illegal war in Iraq? "The New York Times has apologized," she said, referring to a full page 'mea culpa ad'. But isn't the NYT repeating the same misleading tactics to promote a next war in Iran?
With this and similar questions, Matloff responded like a true press "pro": avoiding ethical implications, defending her product- the status quo, and referring most answers to "other supervisors" or experts. Her refrain of "I don't know", "don't remember", "can't comment" captured the essence of a White House Press Briefing.
As a trainer of America's next generation of government "privatized propaganda contractors," (tomorrow's 'Mercenary Press') Matloff diverted the subject, passed the buck, and expertly earned her tenure...
On Press Freedom Day I spoke briefly to New York Times correspondent Warren Hoge about the media, Iraq and World Press Freedom Day.
Q: Its World Press Freedom Day and I just wanted to ask if you have any comments about The New York Times and their reporting in the runup to the Iraq War, and if you feel any kind of responsibility?
A: I can't talk about that- we've already said everything about that to be said in the paper, and I really don't want to add to it. I mean, The New York Times- more than most newspapers- has absolutely admitted what we thought was faulty and what was not. There's just nothing I can add to that at all. And I certainly don't want to talk about that on
Press Freedom Day when our thoughts are with Alan Johnston and other journalists that are being killed.
Q: Well my thoughts are also with the Iraqis. There are half a million dead- thanks in part to
your newspaper-
A: Oh come on.
Q: Your newspaper was one of the primary advocates for the war-
A: Oh come on, I can't talk to you-
Q: Your newspaper was primary- yes it was- Judith Miller got a security clearance from Donald Rumsfeld, sir-
A: The New York Times is not responsible for any dead Iraqis. I won't listen to that-
Q: None of the other American journalists but Judith Miller from your paper got a security
clearance from the US Defense Secretary himself. How is this different from working for the government?
A: You are are defiling Press Freedom Day- Shut up! This is about Press Freedom, this is not about defiling the Press. We've just come back from a demonstration for Alan Johnston for journalists being killed and that's what this day is about- Press Freedom.
Perhaps BBC World News Editor Jon Williams best summarized the outcome of shutting up the press: "We must not stand by and allow the intimidation of journalists- wherever it happens. If we do, we will pay a heavy price... There will be no eyes or ears telling us what's going on. We won't have the insight from those able to make sense of it."
But then, that may be just how the Powers That Be really want it.
(c) Trish Schuh

Friday, June 01, 2007

Iraq snapshot

Friday, June 1, 2007.  Chaos and violence continue, two US soldiers remain missing (someone tell the national press), the US military announces more deaths, May becomes the third worst month of the illegal war thus far in terms of US military fatalities, Nancy Youssef looks at payouts to Iraqis, and Veterans of Foreign Wars stands with Iraq Veterans Against the War's  Adam Kokesh -- which begs the question of where the psuedo 'left' and 'centrist' groups are -- you know all the useless groups who take up time endorsing candidates while maintaing "we're non-partisan."  Guess they must all be off to the (election) races.  Someone tell the Marx Brothers.
Starting with apparently breaking news: Alex R. Jimenez and Byron W. Fouty are missing.  The two US soldiers have been missing since May 12th.  The military has not announced that the two have been found, it's just the press that's lost interest in the story -- the big press.  Possibly, if they worked for a corporation with lots of money to toss around (isn't that how they got the contract to begin with?), the New York Times, et al, would take a moment to remember that two US soldiers have been missing since May 12th.  Jennifer Manley (Queens Chronicle) spoke with Maria del Rosario Duran and Ramon Jimenez who are the parents of Alex Jimenez,  "Each night in Corona, Jimenez's parents keep the faith that their son is luckier.  Despite the grim evidence to the contrary, Duran believes in her heart that he is alive.  'That's what I hope.  That's what I have put in my mind,' she said."  Manley notes that vigils for Alex Jimenez were originally packed but "[b]y Tuesday, the numbers had dwindled and the news coverage had as well.  About a dozen people remained, mostly the family's friend and neighbors."  Adam Pincus (Times Ledger) reports Maria del Rosario Duran is unable to sleep or eat while she awaits some word on her son and quotes what she would to say to her son ("Alex, I miss you.  Alex, please come to my house.") and what she would say to the Bully Boy ("This is a desperate mother.  Stop this thing and bring them home.  Every day this is happening.  George Bus, please bring them home.")  Rosario Duran last saw her son in December when he got a pass to attend the funeral of his grandmother.  She tells Christina Santucci (Queens Courier), "I cannot do anything but think about where is my son.  What's he doing?  Who has my son?" and Ramon Jimenez states, "I pray every night for the three missing people. And I say, 'God give me my son back!'" 
The three soldiers refers to Joseph Anzack whose body was found.  On May 12th, 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator were found dead from an attack and three US soldiers were classified missing and assumed captured.  Jimenez and Byron Fouty remain missing -- not at all unlike big media's coverage.  CBS and AP break from the pack to note that, while the search for the 5 British contractors (one is considered a consultant) continues, "the hunt for two U.S. soldiers missing since an ambush on May 12 has slowed down." 
KXAN (NBC, Texas) reports that Byron Fouty's family released a statement yesterday: "Son, we are so proud of you and for who you are, what you stand for.  We know in our hearts, you were doing what you needed to do in Iraq, and we would have never expected any less from you.  You are our Hero, our son.  We will miss you and love you forever.  Love, Mom and Dad."  Today is day 20 that Jimenez and Fouty have been missing.  Day 20.  Big media moved on to the story of contractors -- from England -- because that's cleary the biggest domestic story coming out of Iraq.  (That was sarcasm.)
Turning to news of Adam Kokesh who faces a hearing Monday, June 4th in Kansas City, MO that will determine the status of his discharge (previously "honorable") and would determine the status of his benefits.  The Manny Named Brian (Public Eye, CBS) offers that Kokesh may be the new Cindy Sheehan, that he's "photogenic" and "sure seems like the kind of thing that could gather momentum as the summer heats up."  (I swear, I did not make that up, use the link.)  From the world of Candy Perfume Boy, to the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) which has a press release from which we'll note this "Executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, [Kelly] Dougherty was in Iraq from March 2003 to February 2004 with the Colorado National Guard.  She said today: 'This is not so much about Adam as it is an attempt by the military brass to silence opposition to the war among veterans.  The military is supposed to fight to preserve free speech, not quashing it.  Not only are veterans, who can attest to the realities of this war, increasingly speaking out against the war -- but its grim realities are moving them to increasingly take nonviolent direct action to stop it."  AP reports that "The Veterans of Foreign Wars is urging the military to show 'a little common sense' and call off its investigation of a group of Iraq war veterans who wore their uniforms during war protests." Sam Hananel (AP) quotes the national commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gary Kurpius, stating, "We all know that people give up some individual rights when they joint the military.  But these Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles.  I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it."
Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) observes that the goal in going after Kokesh and Liam Madden is "silencing criticism from veterans -- discharge them again, but this time less than honorably" and quotes Tod Ensign (Citizen Soldier and Different Drummer Cafe) stating, "These are important issues, and they go to the question of military-civilian balance, and when you cease being bound by military rules.  Are Liam and Adam bound by those rules?  I'd say hell no.  This is just a trial balloon, and it's harassment.  But if they get away with it, you can be sure that they will then start becoming more draconian and their sweep of other people will be expanded.  This could have a very chilling effect on the IVAW, to say the least."  Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) provides a strong overview of the issues at stake and noted that Monday's hearing/administrative meeting is not expected to result in a quick 'verdict' but a recommendationg that Master Sgt. Ronald Spencer says "can take up to two weeks."
Adam Kokesh wore fatigues during DC actions in March, Liam Madden, as David Montgomery (Washington Post) noted, "is accused of wearing his camouflage shirt at an antiwar march in Washington in January."  For all the drama the military's created, you'd think the two (and a third who has been unidentified) had shown up in their dress uniform.  David Morgan (Reuters) identifies the third: Cloy Richards.  Cloy Richards is an Iraq veteran who suffers from PTSD.  Both he and his mother Tina Richards have discussed this publicly.  Apparently the US military believes the way to 'help' Cloy Richards is to threaten the veteran with loss of benefits.  If that doesn't digust you, what does?  Last week, Tina Richards discussed her son's suicide attempt with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room.  Getting help for his PTSD has been a battle for Cloy Richards to begin with, the US military's lack of "common sense" just became even more visible. 
As the lack of "common sense" becomes more apparent to the public, war resistance continues to grow within the US military.  Pepe Lozano (People's Weekly World) reports on the June 19th event by the Rosenberg Fund for Children which "will commemorate the 54th anniversary of the Rosenbergs' execution with 'Celebrate the Children of Resistance."  The fund was created by Robert Meeropol, the son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and guests will include Angela Davis, Eve Ensler, Howard Zinn, David Strathairn as well as US war resister Camilo Mejia who notes, "When you prosecute an activist, it brings hard times to the family, especially for children like [his daughter] Samantha.  People have to realize there is a family behind activists, and there should be more groups like RFC."  Mejia's book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) came out at the beginning of May and Iraq Veterans Against the War's Martin Smith (Socialist Worker) reviewed it noting: "Mejia's work -- written from the vantage of a soldier who served and saw firsthand the consequences of U.S. imperialism -- cuts through the deceptions and lies used to justify the war. . . .  Beyond Mejia's exposure of the lies of occupation, the strength of his book is the humility with which Mejia explains the change within himself that led to his decision to follow the conscience and oppose war."  John Catalinotto (Workers World) provided a wide ranging look at war resistance within the US military this week and noted of Iraq war resister Ehren Watada that his "court-martial is still pending after the military uniltaterally decided to declare his first trial a mistrial last February, has now had the court-martial postponed once more.  At first scheduled for June 23 at Ft. Lewis, the trial is now on hold until it is determined if re-starting the trial would mean that Watada faced 'double jeopardy.'  It is still possible that the Army will be forced to drop charges on Lt. Watada, the first officer to refuse duty in Iraq."
The growing movement of war resistance within the US military includes Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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 HotlineIraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
On Memorial Day, Michael Kamber (New York Times) reported from Iraq on the rising disillusion of some serving in Iraq noting Staff Sgt. David Safstrom's comments about how he felt when first deployed -- "In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place.  There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys.  It felt awesome" -- compared to now -- "I thought:'What are we doing here?  Why are we still here?'  We're helping guys that are trying to kill us.  We help them in the day.  They turn around at night and try to kill us."  On a semi-related note, Peter Laufer -- journalist, author of many books including  Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq and former NBC correspondent, debuts Sunday with his new (still unnamed) program on  KPFA, taking over the slot Larry Bensky has occupied until recently (9:00 am to 11:00 am PST).
The announcement was made today during the KPFA Management Report to the Listeners.
More information can be found on Laufer here.
Meanwhile, Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The Department of Defense spent nearly $31 million in three years in condolence payments to civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it didn't rack how it doled out the money, a Government Accountability Officer report found" -- which, she notes, didn't include what monies were paid for property damage, loss of life or for injuries.  Youssef notes that the report states that June of 2003 was when the US military began offering compensation.  In his book The Deserter's Tale, Joshua Key shares (p. 97) the story of how the process had no rhyme or reason but, at one point, $50 was given to one Iraqi male whose home had been damaged and bed burned when US illumination rounds "crashed into his home".
The violence continued today.
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing this morning that claimed 1 life (2 wounded), an afternoon Baghdad bombing that wounded four police officers, a third Baghdad bombing that left 3 dead, three Baghdad mortar attacks that left
11 dead (32 wounded), a Salaheddin truck bombing that killed 12 civilians ("and two houses were destroyed"), a Basra mortar attack that left four police officers wounded, and 3 Kirkuk bombings that left 2 dead (6 wounded).  Reuters notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing which injured five police officers and a Mahmudiya mortar attack that claimed 2 lives (four wounded).
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Kirkuk attack in which an Iraqi soldier was shot dead.  The US military announced today that they killed three children while firing on what they hope were insurgents (one of whom they killed, two of whom escaped).
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.  Reuters notes six corpses discovered in Baquba.
Today, the US military announced: "Baghdad Soldier was killed when a patrol was attacked with small arms fire in the eastern section of the Iraqi capital May 31."  This brought count of the total US forces killed in Iraq for the month of May to 125  (caution, there may be more announcements pending) making May the third worst month for US fatalities since the start of the illegal war in March of 2003.  And the US military announced: "One MNC-I Soldier was killed by small arms fire at approximately noon June 1 in the vincinty of Zawiyah."  This brings the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 3477.
Late yesterday, Reuters reported that 26 year-old AP camera person Saif M. Fakhry was shot dead in Baghdad on Thursday.  Reporters Without Borders has issued a call.  Noting that four journalists had been killed in five days (their call was written before news of Saif M. Fakhry's death was broadcast), they declare: "The Iraqi authorities must fulfil their duty to protect journalists.  We call for the creation of a special force within the national police to identify the perpetrators and instigators of killings of journalists and to organise awareness campaigns about the protection of journalists for all the Iraqi security forces and for the public.  To help the investigators, a witness protection programme should also be set up with the help of countries in the region."  Organize awareness campaigns among Iraqi forces?  Drop back to the January 25th snapshot: "This 'fine' Iraqi military that al-Maliki intends to turn loose on homes and schools includes some real thugs as evidenced by incident reported this morning by Damien Cave and James Glanz (New York Times): 'One Iraqi soldier in the alley pointed his rifle at an American reporter and pulled the trigger. There was only a click, the weapon had no ammunition. The soldier laughed at his joke'." 
Meanwhile, in news that is sure to soften  ultimate War Pornographer Michael Gordon's war on, CBS and AP report: "U.S. military officers tell CBS News the troop surge, which has not reached full strength, stands no chance of succeeding by September."  Which is why, yesterday, the military sent out flacks attempting to reset the clocks and take the pressure off the upcoming September progress report.
PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio has interviewed Cindy Sheehan about her decision to pull back currently ("We're going to pull back and regroup and figure out a better way to come at this," Sheehan tells Brancacio) and the interview can be streamed here or you can catch it via YouTube. In addition, they offer Shron Clemons sharing his poetry (written while in the Sheridan Correctional Center of Illinois) at YouTube here.
Two years later, Sheehan's pushed another question into the public glare. Quitting the Democratic Party and resigning from the front ranks of the US anti-war movement, Sheehan said out loud what hundreds of Democratic voters have been muttering: Democrats in Congress -who do you think you're working for?
In a letter to Democratic leaders shortly after they permitted a vote in Congress that approved $120 billion more for war, Sheehan wrote: "There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage."
The president's never been more unpopular, nor has his Iraq war. Yet a majority of Democrats in both houses voted "aye" to keep the funding flowing.
Speaking with me on Air America Radio soon afterwards, Sheehan called it a betrayal. "Before they came into power they told me it was because they were in the minority. Now it's because they're the majority? What stakes do they have in keeping this occupation going?" Given the choice of funding an unpopular war or being accused by the right wing vitriol machine of "abandoning the troops," 86 Democrats in the House and all but 14 in the Senate voted to sacrifice more troops. Sheehan called that playing "party politics with human lives."
Laura Flanders is the host of RadioNation with Laura Flanders which now airs at one p.m. Sundays on Air America Radio, XM satellite radio and streams online.
In other news, Saturday from 10:00 am until noon (PST), KPFA will broadcast a Pacifica Radio and Free Speech Radio News special hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar (host of KPFK's
Uprising) and Dalia Hashad (attorney, the USA program director for  Amnesty International and one of the co-hosts of WBAI's Law and Disorder).  The special will address the new Senate bill on immigration which is due to be voted on shortly and "present challenging interviews with lawmakers, and look at global dynamics that lead to migration and Europe's own crackdown on immigration."
In media news, as independent media continues to be under attack, News Dissector Danny Schechter's "Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" announces the potential fate of which may shut down: "If we can get 1500 of our readers (that means you) to give $25, we can keep going for another quarter. [PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE]"
Finally, independent journalist John Pilger is on a speaking tour with his new book Freedom Next Time and his documentary Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (which looks at DC, Afghanistan and Iraq). June 7th, he will discuss his book with Amy Goodman at The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:15). Admission is $5 per person and students (with ID) can attend for free. Pilger will sign copies of his book afterwards and Amy Goodman will sign copies of her latest book (written with her brother David Goodman) Static. "For ticket information, contact (212) 229-5488 or For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, click here or e-mail"

June 11th, Pilger will be in Los Angeles at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (244 S. San Pedro St.) and will discuss his book and show his documentary beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). The price of admission to the even is five dollars. "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"

June 13th finds him in San Francisco showing his film and discussing his book at Yerba Beuna Center for Arts (beginning at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm) and the price of admission is $15 general and $5 for students. "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"

From San Francisco, he moves on to Chicago for the 2007 Socialism conference. At 11:30 am Saturday June 16th, he and Anthony Arnove will participate in a conversation, audience dialogue and book signing (Arnove is the author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) and that evening (still June 16th) at 7:30 Pilger will be at Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare (5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018) as part of a panel of international activists. To attend the conference, the fee is $85. For Saturday and Sunday only, the price is $70. To attend only one session, the cost is ten dollars. "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, International 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"

The Socialism 2007 conference will take place in Chicago from June 14-17. Along with Pilger and Arnove, others participating will include Dahr Jamail, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, Joshua Frank, Amy Goodman, Sharon Smith, Dave Zirin, Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Scahill, Jeffrey St. Clair and many others.

Luggage? GPS? Comic books?
Check out fitting gifts for grads at Yahoo! Search.

Other Items

Zach notes that tomorrow on KPFA, 10:00 am PST, the following special airs:

Pacifica Radio and Free Speech Radio News will present a national 2-hour special "The War on Immigrants" hosted by WBAI's Dalia Hashad and KPFK's Sonali Kolhatkar. The broadcast will analyze the new Senate immigration bill set to be voted on by the upper house, present challenging interviews with lawmakers, and look at global dynamics that lead to migration and Europe's own crackdown on immigration.

Sonali Kolhatkar is the host of Uprising and Dalia Hashad is one of the co-hosts of Law and Disorder. In addition to KPFA (and KPFB and KFCF), the special should also air on WBAI, KPFK, KPFT (today, beginning at 10:00 am CT) and WPFW. At the Pacifica Radio website it is up for streaming already. Houston has their time posted (which is today). KPFA has their time posted (tomorrow) so KPFA and Pacifica will be what is promoted in the snapshot unless members know times for the other stations. The snapshot will go up long after Houston's broadcast the special. All websites allow archived broadcasts to be streamed without payment, without registration or surveys. This special presentation follows the Memorial Day special of Free Speech Radio News that you should also check out if you missed it. (Ava and I will be covering the Memorial Day special in Hilda's Mix Tuesday for those unable to listen. We'll also try to include, at the very least, some excerpts from the immigration special. "Try to include" because we wrote that Wednesday and thought we were finished. Due to the issue of the voting on the bill, we really can't let it wait for two Tuesdays from now.)

West notes Danny Schechter's "Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" (News Dissector -- and there's more than the excerpt and there are several things up today, just FYI):

Yes, it is painful for your news dissector to come to the point that we have with and find, after seven years in the web trenches, that the cupboard (ie. our bank account) is bare. And so we are forced to
send out an SOS with no certainly that there is enough time for us to save and strengthen our internationally acclaimed website in just one month. (Don't rule us out. We have been the "comeback kids" well before that term was applied to Bill Clinton, but 30 days goes tres fast!)
with your help, or with unknown rabbits to be pulled out of unseen hats, we will live to fight another day. We know our work is needed. And we know we are better at making media than financing it
I am off tonight on one more foreign trip speaking at an international student conference in Germany. As an old timer whose first trip to Deutschland took place in the l960's, I am thrilled to still be wanted by younger people, and know that this invitation is a tribute to the respect that the Medichannel has achieved globally.

[. . .]
So, alas, if we do have to "pull the plug" on a media outlet we love, we'll know we gave it our best shot in a very dark time and actually succeeded beyond our expectations. Nothing lasts forever.
Also, I may be breaking my newsy, counter-narrative blog format this month to share some of my "greatest hits" and reflect on what a strange and exciting journey this has been and still is.
I had hoped to publish a tenth year anniversary edition of my first book, THE MORE YOU WATCH THE LESS YOU KNOW (Seven Stories) that called for a Mediachannel way back in l997. But the Press couldn't/wouldn't do it and I had no other takers, Nevertheless, I wrote a special introduction for the edition that was not to be, assessing what's happened to me and to us in this eventful decade. (This is, to be sure, only one version of what was and may yet be.)
So as the month of June begins, culminating in a big birthday for me on the 27th, and with
Mediachannel's future on the line, please join me for some walks down memory lane.
And, if you like what we are doing, and want to be part of it,
invest some energy and money, if you have it, keeping this unique experiment in global journalism alive.
Comments to:

Marcia notes Pepe Lozano's "Honoring the Rosenbergs, celebrating resistance" (People's Weekly World):

In 1990, Meeropol founded the Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC), a public foundation providing for the educational and emotional needs of U.S. children whose parents have been targeted for their political activities. Over the years, the RFC has made grants of over $3.5 million to benefit hundreds of children.
This June 19, the RFC will commemorate the 54th anniversary of the Rosenbergs' execution with "Celebrate the Children of Resistance," a program of dramatic readings, music and poetry.
The event will take place at the John Hancock Hall at the Back Bay Events Center in Boston. Angela Davis, Eve Ensler, David Strathairn, Howard Zinn and many other notable figures will be featured.
"What we are trying to do with this program is to celebrate the heroic resistance of my parents," Meeropol said in a phone interview.
Meeropol said he never forgets the words his parents wrote to him and his brother Michael, in their last letter to them from prison, saying that they died "secure in the knowledge that others would carry on after them."
Today, Meeropol believes RFC recipients and their families are doing just that.
"The progressive community rallied to our aid," he said. "They may not have saved my parents but they saved my brother and me."
"We are trying to replicate that today through the RFC," Meeropol added. "We are trying to make a positive connection between the activists-parents and their children in order to transmit generations of social justice advocates."
"During the McCarthy era the government said there was an international communist conspiracy out to destroy the American way of life," he said. "And the only way they could solve this was to increase military spending and instill fear as a scare tactic. Now, the same thing is happening all over, but it's not a 'communist' but rather a 'terrorist' conspiracy. This is a false assumption. It was then, and it is now."

Camilo Mejia will be speaking at the event and we'll pull from that section for the snapshot today.

NOW with David Brancaccio focuses on prison this week (begins airing in some PBS markets tonight). I read the e-mail over the phone to Jess' father (prison reform is an issue he advocates for). He said he'll watch but doesn't expect a great deal from a program that (a) can't stop selling big business and (b) sees a "drug prison" as the answer as opposed to the needed reform in drug laws. I left it up to him on whether to note it or not and he said he'll watch but doesn't expect much and to put in that warning. For anyone new to this issue -- prisons are overcrowded as a result of the drug laws (and other issues but the broadcast addresses drug 'criminals'). The idea of a 'drug prison,' though it may appear helpful, also appears to exist as yet another advertisement passing as 'news' from NOW. When the laws need reformed is focusing on selling prisons the answer? I don't think so. Unless the answer is Big Business which is what prisons have become. My fear (and Jess' father's fear as well) is that this will be an infomercial urging other states to create 'drug prisons' which will certainly line many pockets but it won't address -- in any shape or form -- the much needed overhaul in the current drug laws.

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NYT: Avoding which women were shot in the head

Many of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed by Marine infantrymen in Haditha in 2005 died from close-range gunshot wounds, a military prosecutor said Thursday.
At least five Iraqis, two women and three men, were shot in the head.
Until now, the prosecutors and the lawyers representing marines accused of murder in the Haditha case have said the civilian deaths resulted largely from hand grenades that infantrymen tossed into three homes to kill or wound enemy fighters within.
Marines were previously known to have followed the grenade blasts with some gunfire. But Thursday was the first time government lawyers had discussed how many of the victims appeared to have been targeted with seemingly well-placed gunshot blasts.

The above is from Paul von Zielbauer's "Lawyers in Haditha Case Say Gunshots, Not Grenades, Killed Many Victims" in this morning's New York Times. The "two women" that were "shot in the head"? That apparently refers to paragraph nine (yes, paragraph nine!) where a single sentence tells us two women, apparently trying to protect four children on a bed, were also shot in the head. The woman in prior paragraphs is said to be shot in the neck. The two women are the only other ones mentioned -- PvZ makes no reference to children being shot in the back of the head (all four children were shot dead) -- and those are apparently the women shot in the back of the head . . . while attempting to protect the four children.

Martha notes Ann Scott Tyson's "Gates, U.S. General Back Long Iraq Stay" (Washington Post):

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and a senior U.S. commander said yesterday that they favor a protracted U.S. troop presence in Iraq along the lines of the military stabilization force in South Korea.
Gates told reporters in Hawaii that he is thinking of "a mutual agreement" with Iraq in which "some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government." Gates said such a long-term U.S. presence would assure allies in the Middle East that the United States will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, "lock, stock and barrel."

They go on to say what they see, casting themselves as more upbeat Cassandras, Iraq is more akin to South Korea and not Vietnam. The 'enduring' presence in South Korea is hardly reassuring but with this administration, the more they deny, the more to zoom in on. The more they say, "It's not like Vietnam," the more it is. As for the "lock, stock and barrel," that withdrawal from Vietnam was the only thing that eventually allowed Vietnam to begin what is today -- which, for the record, is not an 'enemy' of the United States or a victim of the dreaded and feared 'domino.' Gates, the warrior king philosopher, might do a better job focusing on how to serve the people -- his bosses -- and worry less about trying to distort history to sell the (illegal) aims of this administration.

Iraqis do not want an 'enduring presence.' They want the occupiers out. It's cute the way all these handmaidens and water carriers to the administration keep citing "Iraqis" in their reports and comments and then it turns out the citations aren't Iraqis, it's the US military and the US administration (Washington Week) or those part of the puppet government (the Times on Sunday). If you weren't a legitimate government, weren't seen as one by the people, you'd keep screaming for the US forces to stay and allow you to maintain your proxy rule.

West notes this from

30 days has September, April, June and November?

So does MediaChannel - unless you act now.
New York, June 1, 2007: We now have one month to avoid writing and posting our own obituary:
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