Thursday, June 05, 2008

Spare us the predictions and just try reporting

Starting with a US military announcement: "A Coalition force Soldier was killed by small arms fire June 4 during a patrol south of Baghdad." We'll come back to this topic in a minute.

A US marine has been cleared of covering up the massacre of 24 civilians in Iraq.
Women and children were among those killed by US forces in the town of Haditha in 2005.
The killings in Haditha are the most serious war crime allegations levelled at US forces since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Lieutenant Andrew Grayson, 27, was found not guilty by a jury on Wednesday of ordering photos of the slaughtered civilians to be deleted from army computers.

The above is from Al Jazeera's "Marine cleared over Iraq massacre" and we'll move straight to Patrick Cockburn's "Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control" (Independent of London):

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

I'm laughing. You're laughing too if you caught any of Amy Goodman this morning. She does note Cockburn . . . in headlines. Then it's time to revisit 1968 again. Cockburn thinks there will be "a political crisis in the US"? Stick to covering Iraq, Cockburn. Quit trying to predict. Not only are you wrong on that, you're also wrong about Barack and his 'pledges.' Apparently British Cockburn doesn't get the BBC and is unaware of Sammy Power's infamous interview where she explained -- while still his chief foreign policy advisor -- that anything Barack said on the campaign trail wasn't a promise. That nutty Cockburn family.

How about Cockburn reports from Iraq and leaves out all the predictions?

I'd love it if there was huge outrage in the US but, from Baghdad, Patrick Cockburn has no idea how little Iraq means to the media in the US. That's All Things Media Big and Small. There is no coverage.

This 'secret' deal was addressed in April. Hillary addressed it. Barack ignored it. Maybe that's why it's news to Cockburn? His only political information is text messages sent out by the Obama campaign?

The White House and the puppet of the occupation (Nouri al-Maliki) are trying to put together a treaty. Treaties have to have Senate confirmation. So the White House is insisting it's a Status Of Force Agreement. Senators Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Norm Coleman (a Republican, and he wasn't the only one) have already called that nonsense out back in April when The Petraeus & Crocker Variety Hour was doing their out of town tryouts. In the House, Susan Davis was among the many representatives calling it out.

The only thing 'secret' is what's in the treaty and the details Cockburn's outlining aren't surprising. This was all covered in the questioning (with the responses to the questions being 'Oh, no, we would never . . ."). The only outrage in the US may be in the Senate. Cockburn's got the makings of an explosive article but predicting US reaction isn't going to get it there.

Yesterday's snapshot noted that 3 US service members were announced dead, shot dead in Kirkuk. This is related to Cockburn's prediction on reaction in the United States. Where's the story in the New York Times this morning? Front page? No. They might have to ditch one of the three stories on Obama-mania, the food chain, a paper mill, a hospital in Los Angeles. Do you see any deaths or physical destruction stories on the front page? No. If it bleeds it ledes? Not these days.

Three US service members shot dead in Iraq and the Times puts it on A12. Andrew E. Kramer's "Explosions and Shootings Disrupt Relative Calm in Iraq." The three US soliders are paragraph two. There is no mention of how many have been declared this month or how many have died since the start of the illegal war.

Counting today's announcement, 4091 US service members have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and seven have been declared dead since the start of the month.

In paragraph 15, Kramer notes that 13 corpses were discovered "south of Baghdad" yesterday but misses yesterday's news -- which came out at the same time as the 13 -- that another mass grave (with 10 corpses) had been discovered on Tuesday.

Paragraph 16 contains news:

American airstrikes in Hilla, the city once known as Babylon, wounded five people on Wednesday, according to the local police, who said the Americans were responding to a mortar attack on the American Consulate.

Brad notes Lindsay Levin's "Hillary Wins South Dakota!" (

Thank you for your dedication and hard work -- because of you, Hillary won South Dakota!


From the public e-mail account:

Coalition On Political Assassinations (COPA).

COPA is a group of dedicated academics, forensics experts, documentary film makers, medical and ballistic experts.
This June we will be holding a conference on the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. The conference is from Friday 6th of June until the 8th. We plan to stream the first night of the conference this Friday. We would like to invite you to share the conference video with your readership by embedding some html code that will enable the live stream to appear on your blog.
The live stream will start at 7pm Los Angeles time and end at 10pm. So, by my calculations, the conference will start at 10pm EST.
The conference will be attended by William Pepper (attorney for Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray and the King family), Philip Van Praag and Robert Joling (audio experts who have proven the existence of more shots fired), Paul Schrade (Kennedy campaign worker and eyewitness to the assassination), Cynthia McKinney (former Democratic congresswoman and Green party presidential candidate), and several other film makers and researchers. Full listing available here.

The e-mail address for this site is