Monday, January 04, 2010

More US troops prepare to deploy to Iraq where Little Nouri grandstands

Katheleen Conti (Boston Globe) reports on the send-off ceremony yesterday for member of the Massachusetts National Guard who will deploying to either Iraq or Afghanistan including Sgt 1st Class Jeffrey Hollett who will be deploying to Iraq for the third time. Conti explains the ceremony was attended by families and friends as well as the state's governor, Deval Patrick, US Senator Paul Kirk and US House Rep Stephen Lynch. Lt Col James Halley tells NECN (link is video) that Before 2001 it was almost inconcievable that you would -- as a National Guardsman -- that you would go anywhere. After 2001, that's all changed. We're almost considered part of the regular Army now and utilized that way." Marilyn Gonzalez tells Amanda Grace (WHDH link has text and video) that the send off was "Emotional, a little bit." She'll be deploying with someone who she calls her "best friend," her 19-year-old daughter Jessica Pedraza who says, "She eases the pain for me so that makes it easier." Priyanka Dayal (Worcester Telegram & Gazette) offers this historical note, "The Massachusetts National Guard includes the Massachusetts Army National Guard and the Massachusetts Air National Guard. It began as a colonial militia in 1636 and is the oldest standing army in the United States -- older than the country itself." Sgt Gary Underhill is in Iraq and shares (at Nevada Appeal) how he spent Christmas Day.

Also in Iraq, the government or 'government' of Nouri al-Maliki is still publicly stamping feet. RTE News notes they are 'outraged' over the decision by Judge Ricardo Urbina. (There's nothing outrages with Urbina's decision. Prosecutorial abuse or misconduct is always supposed to be punished.) Alsumaria TV reports the rag-tag Parliament actually managed to avoid insulting each other as they bonded over mutual 'outrage' over the Urbina's decision. And, no, Urbina did not dismiss over "procedural errors." The joke that is 'justice' in Iraq might be less so if media outlets could get their facts right. If someone is told that their statements cannot be used to prosecute them, then their statements cannot be used to prosecute them. It's that damn simple. Nouri's grandstanding as well. Rebecca Santana (AP) reports he declared today, "We have done what is necessary to protect our citizens and to punish those who committed the crime and we have formed committees and filed a lawsuit against Blackwater security firm either in America or Iraq." Big words from Little Nouri. The slaughter took place in September of 2007. After the judge's decision, the foot stamping began and it was decided, "Blackwater get out!" That decision's way too late, by too many years, for Nouri to effectively grandstand. In the US, the big surprise is that there aren't calls for the Justice Dept to be punished, for heads to roll. Then again, there rarely are calls for accountability in 'The Age of St. Barack.' Hypocrisy? Did someone say Claire? This is from Chris Stirewalt's "With shoe on other foot, a Democrat cries foul" (Washington Examiner):

McCaskill, who used a wounded Iraq veteran and a woman with Parkinson's disease in her ads attacking Talent for budget votes and stem cell policy, also attacked Bush for domestic wiretapping.
And she favored withdrawing all troops from Iraq by 2008 because the Bush troop surge was "a wild failure" that had bred a "culture of dependency" in Iraq. "We are not breeding a democracy," she warned.
But that was a long time ago, politically speaking -- before McCaskill became one of the first senators to endorse Barack Obama, before she voted to extend the same domestic wiretapping she once deplored, before she joined her fellow Democrats in congratulating the Iraqis on their new framework for national elections, before Obama committed 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and before he became responsible for keeping Americans safe from terrorism.
Now Obama is under attack for the way his administration handled the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner, and McCaskill and other Democrats are crying foul.
"I think it is unfair and, frankly, political to take pot shots at the president as we respond to this failure in our systems," McCaskill sniffed to guest host Gloria Borger.

Meanwhile Victor Darst writes the editors of the Northwest Herald:

Beginning in 2004 and through the campaigns in 2006 and 2008, Democrats criticized the decision to invade Iraq and frequently talked of ending the funding for the war. Although the Democrats took control of the Congress in 2006, they did not end the funding, but said that they would end the war with a Democrat in the White House. A funny thing happened on the way to ending the war – Democrats not only won the White House, but they also ended up with large majorities in both houses of Congress. During the campaign, President Obama, who constantly criticized Hillary Clinton for her vote to give President Bush authority to invade Iraq, promised to bring the troops home in 16 months if elected.
But not only have congressional Democrats not stopped the funding, the president has flip-flopped on his promise to bring the troops home in 16 months (June 2010).

Hypocrisy? Did someone say Little Nouri? While Nouri grandstands, Alsumaria TV reports that Karim Wahid, Minister of Electricity, is stating the budget Nouri's proposed for his depart is not "enough to cover the costs of the 2010 plans and projects". Meanwhile AFP reports that Little Nouri's just replaced the Sunni oil chief at North Oil Company, based in oil-rich Kirkuk, with a Shi'ite which is stirring up additional tensions since Kirkuk is already a disputed territory.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Colgate Ready" went up last night.
Year-end pieces: Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2009 in music" and Ruth's "Ruth's Report" and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Brownie Approved" and his "The 2010 Plan" went up Friday. Kat's "Kat's Korner: The decade in music" and "2009 in books (Martha & Shirley)" went up Thursday and "Reflecting on 2009 (Beth)" posted on Sunday. In addition, Ann's "2009 in DVDs" and Stan's "DVDs of 2009" (joint-post) looks at DVDs. I did "The Year of Living Sickly" Friday and Trina examines the economy in "The economy," Marcia the 'message' sent to the LGBT community in "What I learned this year" and Rebecca notes how the sexism came from the top in "the 2009 take-away."

As Nina Simone sings in "Feeling Good:"

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good.

It's a new year. We'll note Debra Sweet's "Action Plan for 2010" (World Can't Wait):

What people think is important - but what we do based on what we think is also important. World Can’t Wait is developing surveys to learn more deeply how people see things, and to get suggestions. Meanwhile, Here are projects & protests World Can’t Wait is involved in, starting this week:
January-May 2010:
We Are Not Your Soldiers Tour. Iraq & Afghanistan veterans giving students the reality of the US wars of occupation, and why they should resist the military recruiters in the schools.
To volunteer as a speaker, to organize dates, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 347 385 2195. Films, resources, letter to teachers, and help with organizing are all available.
January-May 2010:Stand Up for Women's Right to Abortion and Birth Control! Campus tour featuring abortion providers & activists. 30 minute film, speakers available. Contact our organizers via emailor by phone at 718 825 9119
January Events:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 Washington, DC: Support Bagram Detainees for Habeas Rights
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit 333 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington @ 3rd Street NW.
Hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. Vigil by the City University of New York Law Students for Justice at Bagram begins 8:30am. Hearing in Ceremonial Courtroom (Room 20). There will be a rally/vigil after the hearing.
More information: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and the International Justice Network, representing 3 men detained without charges in Bagram
Monday January 11 through Friday January 22: Witness Against Torture fast to close Guantanamo.
Monday, January 11:
10:00 -11:00 am - Witness Against Torture Vigil with Guantanamo lawyers and Center for Constitutional Rights @ the White House. 11:00 am procession to the National Press Club. 12:00 pm Vigil continues during press conference at National Press Club.
7:00 pm: Evening Gathering @ Georgetown University Law School:
World Can't Wait calls for people everywhere to mark the 8th anniversary of Guantanamo with street protests and showings of the film Outside the Law: Stories of Guantanamo. Write for details on getting the film to show. There will be protest events in the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago January 11-22. Watch for details.
Tuesday January 12:
Protest Torture Lawyer John Yoo as classes open, UC Berkeley
For continuous, important coverage of John Yoo, the torture memos, and the US torture state, see
Saturday January 16, Langley VA
Protest CIA Drone Attacks

1:00pm - 4:00pm CIA Headquarters (Langley, Virginia)

It was recently announced that the White House gave the CIA permission to increase its drone bombings in Pakistan of which to date over 1/3rd of the deaths are civilian. The CIA is a profoundly violent and corrupt organization and, while we don't think the Military should be using manned, or unmanned aerial vehicles, we think the drone bombings from CIA robots are particularly despicable. Sponsored by Peace of the Action (It's Camp Out NOW begins Saturday March 13 in DC) Cindy Sheeahn,Cynthia McKinney, Ann Wright, Debra Sweet, Bruce Gagnon speaking.
Monday January 18:
Vigil for Fahad Hashmi outside Metropolitan Correctional Center, Lower Manhattan

6:00-7:00 pm 150 Park Row at Pearl Street (one block east of Foley Square)
US citizen Fahad Hasmi has been detained in solitary confinement under harsh SAM regulations
Weekly presentation with special guests from Broadway and Off-Broadway. Sponsor: Theaters Against War 206-312-2201 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Friday January 22
Washington DC Roe v Wade Anniversary Pro-Choice Presence at Supreme Court
The anti-abortion "March for Life" annually fills the Mall and focuses on the Supreme Court, usually without much opposition. This year we're calling on people to be in front of the Court from early morning, to be sure support for women's lives and access to abortion & birth control is represented. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Saturday January 23
San Francisco Day of Action for Reproductive Justice v. Right Wing Anti-Abortion Rally
10 am Justin Herman Plaza Music Concourse near Embarcadero BART Station. Sponsored by Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights & World Can't Wait 415 864 5153

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