Sunday, January 27, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

We're going to start off with US politics because that's what the bulk of e-mails are about and I've been reading them for the last two and a half hours.

Stephen Zunes. Academic. And he wants to tell us what 'feminists concerned with foreign policy' really feel. Thanks, Zunie. Most academics making such a claim (in an academic paper or in the 'popular press') would be expected to have polling data to back it up. Presenting as an academic does not allow you to drop standards when you write for the 'popular press' and can get you in real trouble with your university. The biased and insulting column was cited in at least 60 e-mails (I haven't read all the e-mails that have come in over the weekend, only about a third or a fourth). What it does serve, the only actual purpose, is to demonstrate that Zunes has a standard for Hillary and none for Obama. How sad are 'academic' minds?

Heather notes a 'feminist.' Like you, Heather, I tend not to take seriously claims that Hillary is 'bad' for women when they come from a 'feminist' who publishes in Lar*** Fl***'s H***ler magazine. A 'feminist' who does that isn't a feminist, no matter how hard she deludes herself. Heather saw that via the crapfest that is LottaLinks. That's probably the most griped about site in the e-mails I've read thus far including that they linked to the pornographer passed off as 'feminist.' That is the site that had no lectures after Iowa but when Hillary won New Hampshire, the man decided the 'girls' needed a lecture from his 'big man' self about what they needed to think about before voting. What would we do, ladies, without men to explain us to us?

What's really amazing -- there are two things actually -- first, is how 'independent' media is aping big media. There is, though they play dumb, another front runner: John Edwards and he apparently can't catch a break. But then you couldn't lie for Bambi (who did praise Reagan and did praise rollbacks on civil rights) and give Edwards equal time since Edwards also (rightly) called out Bambi for his nonsense.

So that's the first thing, John Edwards can't count on independent media to catch a break.

The second thing is all the elitism going on. Let's remember that following the 2004 election, 'independent' media and its leaders had strategy sessions about how to appeal to 'average voters.' They bought into the 'value voters' myth (which never existed -- Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder invented that by distorting the paper's own polling -- we covered it in November of 2004) and were in a panic. They needed 'devices' and 'hula hoops' and ways to reach the 'average voter.' That's really pathetic and goes to how out of touch our indymedia 'leaders' are. But note who is voting for Hillary and, to a lesser degree, for John: low income workers. That's been true in every state. And if 'independent' media wonders why they are so 'out of touch' with average voters -- it may be due to the fact that they are so damn insulting to them.

They've told them that they are idiots for supporting Hillary (and if they support John, they see him ignored over and over). They are told that they need to follow a craze (one that indymedia created and still works over time to prop up). Did they ever consider the fact that when you're struggling just to put food on the table, you're not going to be taken in by a con artist offering a lot of hot air? Did it ever enter 'independent' leaders' minds that workers know better than most that hot air never translates to their benefit? They hear the 'family' talk at work and then see the layoffs and the non-raises. So Bambi's 'inspirational' speeches don't reach them. It's a lot of fluttery words and they've heard that over and over as they punch in and out on time clocks. Maybe it's past time for 'independent' media to get its head out of the clouds (or out of its ass) and stop disrespecting the working class?

Maybe all the insults they hurl at the Clintons, when Bill is the most popular living president, don't play well with a class that's been conned and lied to repeatedly?

As Zunes, vanden Heuvel, Rothschild, Nichols, Greider, et al go to town tearing apart the Clintons' repeatedly, did they ever think that not only do their words not really matter to a lot of people but actually create a wall between them? Why bother to read The Nation if Hillary voters are idiots? If they're just stupid and dumb, why bother? Why bother to pay money to be insulted?

"Independent" media stays on script selling their bogus candidate and if they're losing the working class maybe it's due to the fact that the working class grasps that the same 'independent' media that repeatedly insults them doesn't bother to cover Iraq -- an illegal war that does have huge impact on the working class.

'Independent' media wants to whisper that the working class is 'racist' (apparently ignoring the fact that outside of South Carolina, Bambi's not had significant support from working class African-Americans) and it's always implied that they must be stupid. It'll be cute, regardless of the outcome of the primary, to watch the overly pampered 'independent' crew attempt to 'relate' to 'average voters' again. They can't. They've insulted them, they've trashed them, they've accused them of ignorance ('educated voters' love Bambi!, they repeatedly cry), racism, you name it. What it really demonstrates is how much the 'leaders' look down on 'average voters.' That's the only 'successful' message they've sent.

As Eli so wisely notes in his e-mail, a great deal of the Hillary hatred is just 'independent' media stomping their feet in a hissy feet that "the masses" aren't listening to them. There's a reason for that. For instance, a 'leader' of independent media may need to take several days off to plan her daughter's sweet sixteen birthday party but that's not really an option for most working class people. Independent media? They're out of touch, baby, baby, baby, they're out of time.

Domnick (who will not be voting because he is a citizen of Ireland) wants it noted he finds it "especially repugnant" when he comes across articles in US independent media trashing either of the Clintons on Ireland. As long term members will remember, in early 2005, there was an organized effort by little media (and the New York Times -- remember the "Bullies of Belfast"?) to demonize Catholics in Ireland. We heard the crap on Democracy Now!, read it in CounterPunch and of course the radio program which swore to Dominick in an e-mail that Bill Clinton's visit to Ireland (which US media -- big and small -- ignored) would be worked into a broadcast. Needless to say, it never was. So when he sees yet another trash the Clintons on Ireland piece, Domnick just laughs. Don't worry, Dominick, that issue was very important to you and the community took notice in real time so be sure members around the world, outside of Ireland, are laughing when US independent media suddenly wants to pretend they ever gave a damn in this decade about Ireland. For those late to the party, Bill Clinton made a significant trip to Ireland in 2005. It just wasn't significant to big or small media in the US. How does that happen? A former president goes to Ireland to discuss peace and US media just doesn't give a damn?

Since we're on US politics (and even members outside the US are commenting), I'm going to note Jess' remarks in full from "Roundtable" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):

Jess: I didn't participate in last week's roundtable. Betty made some comments about The Green Party last week and apologized for doing so without me present because I am a Green, the only Green participating. I don't disagree with any of the comments Betty made. The debate in San Francisco, which I attended, was a huge disappointment. Kat, who is probably pulling all of her remarks from this, actually wrote about my impressions. You can see her "Green Party 'debate'" for more on that. Cynthia McKinney was the only one who sounded like a ready-for-primetime candidate. She was magnificent. Ralph Nader still hasn't declared whether he's running or not and he needs to do that pretty quick. If we could insert a passage from C.I.'s Friday snapshot -- which I'll say la-la-la to hold the space for -- when it's typed, it will provide all the links. ["July tenth through thirteenth is when the Green Party will be holding their National Nominating Convention in Chicago. Click here for the Green Party News Center, here for a database of Green candidates, here for video of the Green presidential candidates and of course, if it's Green news, Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) is probably posting about it. The Green Party has scheduled another presidential candidate forum for February 2nd at Busboys & Poets in DC (14th and V Streets) at ten in the morning -- Jesse Johnson and Kent Mesplay are confirmed to appear others may or may not. More info click here. This will be their second presidential forum for the 2008 election."] So, you've got a second debate next weekend. Guess what, if Nader wants to compete, he needs to be there. We're lucky, the Greens, that we're getting a second debate. If Nader's waiting to see who the Democratic nominee is going to be before deciding whether to run, no disrespect Ralph, but we don't need you. You don't make a decision for the Green Party based on what the Dems are doing. As bad as some of the candidates were, and I think some were really bad in the Bay Area debate, at least they all have the guts to say, "I'm running." They aren't running because of who another party may run, they're running because they want the nomination and want the job. Jim, how much time do I have?
Jim: As much as you need.
Jess: Betty brought up how she wasn't eager to vote for a candidate doing a 'safe state strategy.' Greens, grassroots Greens, aren't eager for that either and the national party better grasp that. We are a party. We're not a 'safe state' party. Our goal is to be elected. We are not the little sister of the Democratic Party. We're not supposed to be asking ourselves, "Are we helping or hurting the Democratic Party?" We're not an auxillary. Nader said he'd announce by the end of the year. December 31st came and went with no announcement. He endorsed John Ewards but that was apparently just for Iowa to read some of his comments. Well are you running or not? I like Ralph Nader and would prefer to be the last person to ever call him out; however, I'm not in the mood for nonsense. If Ralph wants to run, he needs to declare. If he only wants to run if Hillary gets the nomination then he's not really running to win and we don't need it, the Greens don't need it. When that debate takes place next weekend, he's either announced his run or he's out. I don't care if after Super Duper Tuesday he shows up and says, "I'm running!" I won't support it. I'll support Cynthia McKinney. I may support her even if he announces in the next few days. But I will not support him if he's only running due to who gets the Democratic nomination. Ralph is a great man but he is not a Green. Cynthia switched her membership over. She's joined the party. She's made clear that she plans to run. The Greens owe a lot to Nader but we do not owe our party to him and I'm really ticked off that he's still not made an announcement. If he would, either way, you better believe Cynthia would be doing this or that. Instead, she's in holding position because she's really not sure who she's running against. That's not fair to her, that's not fair to the party. It's not fair that an election will take place in November and it's almost February and Nader hasn't made an announcement. It's sending a message and that's, "I'll do what I want." Well do what you want, but the Greens don't need to support that. Again, Cynthia changed her membership. She declared last year. She was amazing in that non-debate debate. If Ralph has not declared his run by the end of next week, the party does not need him. I'm not trying to be rude about his accomplishments or take away from what he has done. But I am pointing out that we need a candidate, in the Green Party, and we can't wait around for Ralph to decide. Cynthia has held elected office, she's eager to run, she knows her stuff and she's declared. Can I have a few more minutes?
Dona: Yes.
Jess: Ralph, my opinion, shouldn't even have been allowed at the Bay Area event. He's not on the ticket in California. That they held him for the end, allowed him to speak then, overshadowed -- just by placement -- every candidate who had participated in the forum. We don't need to do that again. At our convention this year, the final speech will be delivered by our candidate. To give that place of honor, as they did in the Bay Area, to Ralph was an insult to everyone who had declared. He was the 'star' and he's not even declared that he'll run. The Party needs to get their act together. By doing that, they sent the message that all the ones running weren't as important as Ralph. Ralph isn't a member of the Green Party and he's certainly not the Green Party. I'll go ahead and say it, I endorse Cynthia McKinney. She's the future. Going with Ralph risks going with another 'safe state stragey.' Time's moved on. It's not 1996, it's not 2000, it's not 2004. It's 2008. We either run another candidate, one who has declared, or we change our name from "The Green Party" to "The Party of Ralph."

Democrats are not the only game in town. In terms of the topics prior to Jess' remarks, those are important and, if they weren't, we wouldn't have noted them. It's very loud and clear that members are insulted. Women are insulted with these men and 'feminists' (ha!) and their insulting comments about women, working class members (of both genders and all races) are offended with 'independent' media repeatedly talking down to them and repeating stereotypes (just because 'independent' media can't accept that it's not their job to sell a candidate -- good thing because they'd be out of business) and, of course, Ireland is a topic we covered regularly prior to the focus shifting solely to Iraq (at the request of members). They're all important and we don't have time for more on it tonight. What I will do is carry the e-mails over to Third this weekend and advocate for a piece on this there.

Turning to Iraq, Brenda notes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's editorial "Iraq: The Forever Treaty:"

And we're starting to learn about the byzantine tactic being employed to get this done. Senior administration officials will say they're not interested in permanent bases in Iraq. They use terms like "long-term" and "enduring" (U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said as much on Thursday). It’s all a matter of slyly edited statements, woven to obscure their true meaning and aim: What's being crafted is a treaty. Iraqi leaders seem to know this, and describe what’s being negotiated (formally named "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America") as a "long-term treaty."
The reason that distinction is important is this: A treaty requires Senate ratification.
Supporting Iraq “in defending its democratic system against internal and external threats” is the first principle of the declaration. But according to Michael Rubin (an expert on the domestic policies of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and more), who
testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, "Any langauge…which would commit U.S. forces to defend Iraq in the face of an external threat would transform the agreement into a treaty subject to Senate ratification."
Imagine what this will mean for the next administration: A pre-packaged deal, leaving our military stuck in Iraq for decades to come, to guard against "external threats" -- which external threats are they talking about?

Yeah, the topic 'independent' media should have been all over last week. What will they cover this week? Iraqi diplomats have sent out an SOS, the US military has announced two more deaths today, and war resisters got support in Canada. No doubt there will be time to hop around the globe, no doubt they'll try to find another Bambi supporter that can convince "the masses" that he equals salvation, no doubt they'll spend another week wasting everyone's time and prolonging the illegal war. That has, in fact, been the pattern.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3927. Tonight? 3935 announced. Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed Jan. 26 while conducting a dismounted patrol near Kadamiyah when an improvised explosive device detonated." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed Jan. 27 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive devise in northeastern Baghdad. " Just Foreign Policy lists 1,168,058 as the number of Iraqi deaths since the start of the illegal war. Yes, that was what they listed last Sunday.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing today that left five wounded, 1 "US army hummer was burnt in an IED explosion" in Baghdad (this incident is the second death announcement noted earlier by the US military today) and a Diyala Province bombing that left two people wounded. Yesterday McClatchy's Mohammed Al Dulaimy reported a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded five people, a Muqdadia roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more wounded, in the latest attack on officials a Diyala Province roadside bomb aimed at "the personal car of one of Diyala governor's body guards" left one guard dead and an Al Salam mortar attack that left three people wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Saturday home invaision (Ahmed Jwad Hashim's home) in which the husband, wife and two children (daughter and son) were slaughtered and an armed clash outside Baquba today in which two police officers were wounded. Yesterday, McClatchy's Mohammed Al Dulaimy reported an armed clash in Baghdad left 1 police officer dead and another wounded, an armed clash in Diyala Province left four people dead and an armed attack on the "local council building in Baquba injuring two guards."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 women kidnapped off a bush in Baghdad today.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 4 corpses discovered in Muqdadiyah and the corpse of Sheikh Sami Hussein al Bahadili was discovered in Basra (he was kidnapped yesterday). Yesterday McClatchy's Mohammed Al Dulaimy reported 1 corpse was discovered in Dora and 2 were discovered in Diyala Province -- Alaa Atiya is the name given for one (the other's name is not provided).

Micah notes an "Urgent appeal from Iraqi Diplomats Association" that we'll note in full since it is an appeal:
Urgent appeal from Iraqi Diplomats Association to:

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
All legal and humanitarian institutions worldwide, governmental and non-governmental.
The International public opinion.

The Iraqi sectarian Government established under the US occupation is about to agree with the occupying power to transfer all Iraqi prisoners of war (POW) and detainees held in the Baghdad International Airport prison from US authority to its authority. This information was confirmed by the American airport prison authority who informed the defense lawyers of Iraqi POW that beginning with 31 March 2008 it will relinquish the responsibility of their safety during their visits to the prison .This means that the handover is imminent, and a new carnage is about to take place, similar to that when president Saddam Hussein and his comrades were handed over to the same sectarian Government and its Militias.
The International public opinion witnessed the mockery of law of the illegal Iraqi High Criminal Court .In addition to its illegal status, the court lacks the minimum conditions for fair trial .This illegal Court was established mainly to revenge Iraqi legitimate leadership and to propagate the sectarianism and ethnic cleansing in Iraq . Iraqi POW and detainees could also face summary execution and dropped in the streets of Baghdad as (unidentified tortured and killed bodies).

The ICRC has a permanent mandate to take impartial action to uphold International Humanitarian Law , supervise its implementation, denounce its violations ,and endeavors to stop these violations .The ICRC is well aware that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546(2004), which pretended the end of US occupation of Iraq , was a flagrant violation of the International Law. Iraq is still under the rule of the occupying power. Thus, the rules of the International Humanitarian Law are still applicable to the Iraqi POW and detainees in US detention centers. Article 118 of Third Geneva Convention of 1949 stipulates that (Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.). The US declared the end of its military operations in Iraq the first of May 2003. Furthermore, the US did not announce any judicial prosecution on Iraqi PWO during their detention, which could justify the continuation of their detention.

The transfer of Iraqi POW to the Iraqi Government and its Militias to try them for (crimes) in carrying out their official duties before the US invasion is illegal too. Art 99. of Third Geneva Convention of 1949 stipulates that ( No prisoner of war may be tried or sentenced for an act which is not forbidden by the law of the Detaining Power or by international law, in force at the time the said act was committed).

We call upon the ICRC to shoulder its responsibilities under the International Law, and use all means permissible by the International Law to grant the release of all Iraqi POW's and detainees and grant their safety.
We call upon all legal and humanitarian institutions worldwide, governmental and non-governmental, to act now to prevent the looming carnage of Iraqi POW by the sectarian illegal Iraqi Government and its Militias.
We call upon all states and the United Nations to speak up immediately and work for the release of Iraqi POW.

We call upon the UN Security Council to affirm the legal basis governing international relations and in particular the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law. US occupation of Iraq should end and Iraqi POW should by release immediately.

Iraqi Diplomats Association
Baghdad-Iraq- 26 Jan.2008.

Pru notes an action that will be taking place in England. In March (if not sooner), we'll work this into every snapshot. We have a number of members in the UK and I expect you to keep me on my toes. (I know Pru will.) From Great Britain's Socialist Worker, "Opposing war five years on:"

Anti-war activists are organising to ensure a huge turn out for the national demonstration in London called for Saturday 15 March, the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Stop the War groups in England and Wales are organising transport.
There will be protests across the world on the day.
In the run-up to the demonstrations Stop the War groups are organising events to mark 15 February – the anniversary of the biggest demonstration in Britain.
Activists plan to use the day to organise film showings, vigils and banner drops to highlight the ongoing misery of occupied Iraq and to build for the March demonstration.
In London anti-war campaigners who marched on 15 February 2003 will deliver a letter to Gordon Brown explaining why they are going to demonstrate on 15 March.
Students in Manchester have called a funeral march to the nearest army recruitment centre. There is also a major speaking tour organised for February and March.
The World Against War
Demonstrate 15 MarchTroops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't attack Iran.Assemble 12 noon, Trafalgar Square, London. Called by the Stop the War Coalition, CND and BMI as part of a global protest.There is also a demonstration planned for Glasgow on 15 March.
World Against War tour
Tour with Hassan Juma, the president of the Iraqi Oil Worker’s Union, Ibrahim Mousawi, the editor of Hizbollah's newspaper, and other speakers including Tony Benn, Andrew Murray and John Rees.
London – Thursday 28 February
Bristol – Friday 29 February
Birmingham (Unions Together event) – Saturday 1 March
Manchester – Saturday 1 March
Cambridge – Sunday 2 March
Norwich – Sunday 2 March
Cardiff – Monday 3 March
Liverpool – Tuesday 4 March
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Scottish Stop the War demo on 15 March» Military Families Against the War take fight to the law lords
For more information go to » or phone 020 7278 6694
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