Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cindy Sheehan on her trial, press ignores Dutton's testimony

I took the stand at the end of the defense case and I testified that I came upon the scene when the resistance was already in progress and that when I saw Elaine and Matthis being penned in there that it was my intention to go and lie down next to them and the coffins in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people our nation has slaughtered in the name of profit.Persecutor Branch thought she had damning “evidence” in two of my blogs where I wrote in one that I “crossed the police line.” Well, I was arrested for “crossing a police line" and held in jail for 52 hours for “crossing a police line.”
Persecutor Branch said: “Then you agree with the charges.” Wow, was that one of the dumbest questions ever? “If I agreed with the charges, I would have plead guilty and I wouldn’t be here today,” I answered her. "No further questions."
I, and my co-defendants, have spent a considerable amount of personal money, time, and energy to protest the Bush/Obama wars. Elaine Brower’s convertible can probably drive down to DC from her NYC home by itself by now.
Jon Gold has taken considerable time off of work to join Peace of the Action in DC last March and this July. Both Elaine and Jon had to take the 12th off to be here on trial. Matthis has to live with PTSD and part of his “therapy” is the antiwar sacrifices that he makes. If we “agreed” with being arrested for exercising our human freedoms and the freedoms guaranteed to us under the First Amendment, then we wouldn’t have taken the time, expense and energy to come to DC for trial after trial.

The above is from Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan's "Government Persecutors Read my Blog" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox). Cindy reports on Monday's trial and the outcomes -- plural, Elaine Brower, Matthis Chiroux and Lafloria Walsh received one sentence ("failure to obey) and Cindy, Jon Gold and Jim Veeder were found not guilty. We noted Jon Gold's report on the trial yesterday. Cindy and Peace of the Action continue their work in DC this week:

July 14th (Wednesday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am
– group to move together to Military Recruiting Station (TBA) and protest until 3pm
– evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet

July 15th (Thursday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am
– group to move together to War Profiteer (TBA) and protest until 3pm
– evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet

July 16th (Friday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am
– group to flyer, bullhorn in LaFayette Park and in front of the White House
– evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet

July 17th (Saturday):
– POTA Retreat (location TBA 2pm to 5pm)

This will be an intense think tank session on the future of Peace of the Action and the future of anti-war protests in the U.S. With small numbers, where should our limited resources be focused? We have to dream up an entire movement based on very low numbers and very limited funds -- bring your creative solutions and a positive attitude that a better world is possible!

– POTA Dinner/Rally (possible picnic Lafayette Park)

Today's New York Times offers Steven Lee Myer's "Iraq's Modern Art Collection, Waiting to Re-emerge:"

What's left of Saddam Hussein's showcase collection of 20th-century Iraqi art is crammed into three dingy galleries of a formerly grand museum on Haifa Street here. The rest of the building once known as the Center for Contemporary Art has become a warren of offices and cubicles fortified by bricks, barbed wire and sandbags and closed to the public.

That's interesting. That the New York Times is interested this week in the antiquities is interesting. It's interesting this week because Monday the Iraq Inquiry heard from Carne Ross (First Secretary, United Kingdom Mission to New York, 1998 to 2002) and Lt Gen James Dutton (General Officer Commanding Multi National Division South East, 2005, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, 2007 to 2009). Carne Ross' testimony got attention from the British and international press, if not from the US press. Little attention was given to Dutton's testiomony. From Monday's snapshot:

Lt Gen James Dutton was the other witness today. We'll note this exchange between Dutton and Committee Member Lawrence Freedman about January 2003. And watch for when oil pops up.

Lt Gen James Dutton: It wasn't even 40 Commando specifically at the earliest stage, it was a commando unit and, of course, this was the time of Op Fresco, the fireman's strike, which had some effect as well on force levels and cables. 40 Commando came about actually because it was by far the best worked-up and exercised unit and, in fact, in the autumn they were out in 29 Palms in California exercising with the US Marine Corps on a regular exercise schedule. So it made sense for it to be them, but at the earliest stages, it was just a commano unit that could contribute to assisting the US effort to seize the oil infrastructure intact on the AL Faw peninsula. I'm sorry, I have forgotten the aim of your question now.
Committee Member Lawrence Freedman: You are answering it. It is how did it evolve into a full-scale --

Lt Gen James Dutton: I think it evolved because, you know, that looked fine, if that had been a simple, discrete operation with -- which was possible to be achieved with no outside influences or effects. I think the more we looked at it, the more we realised that, you know, the possibility of the Iraqi forces then trying to do something out of Basra or from further north, would have meant that perhaps the combat power ashore would have been insufficient at that stage. So we then started to look at a greater effect.

[. . .]

Lt Gen James Dutton: So it was a risky operation because it was potentially an opposed helicopter assault to seize the oil infrastructure. But the oil infrastructure was hugely important because of the environmental consequences of them blowing -- the economic consequences -- what is it, 92 per cent of the Iraqi economy or something then, maybe slightly less now, flowing through those pipes to the oil platforms at sea. So it was potentially a risky operation, but that riskw as mitigated by the fact that we were operating with the US Naval Special Warfare Group, which were clearly optimised for that sort of operation.

In the execution, a few things didn't go according to plan (including the crash of a helicopter) but they executed this according to the general. The point is that there was a plan to secure the oil industry. What was valued was decided ahead of the war. All the looting that went on immediately after the invasion -- then-US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered his "stuff happens" and "democracy is messy" excuses -- resulted from what the UK and the US decided was important, was of value and was worth protecting. The oil was their sole concern.

Again, the general's testimony received little attention. And none at all from the New York Times. To be clear, Steven Lee Myers isn't the reporter to cover that. He's based in Baghdad. But the paper has many reporters and stringers stationed in London. Apparently, John F. Burns, et al, are stationed there to ensure that Americans don't learn what happens in London?

Oil was protected. The antiquities were not. The general's testimony Monday again drove that home. So it's rather strange that -- having ignored that testimony -- the paper today wants to put a happy spin on the antiquities. But apparently damage control is all the New York Times will ever excel in.

E-mails? I'm not interested in silly nonsense. Meaning, to ___, that is a good column, congratulations. I'm sure those who reduce reality to 'praise all Democrats and hiss all Republicans' will chop it into lines and snort it madly but, point of fact, Barack's the one attacking Social Security. It's a shame you had to turn the GOP into the villains against Social Security and the Democrats into the saviors -- are you unaware with what Nancy Pelosi slipped into the War Supplemental at the last minute regarding the floor vote on the 'fiscal committee' and its recommendation? In fact, exactly what do you think the 'fiscal committee' is doing? Were I four-years-old, I'd happily link to your column. I'm not, so I won't.

The following community sites updated last night:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "James Meredith Defeats Racism in Mississippi" (Deceived World):

The inscription on the life-sized bronze statue of James Meredith on the campus of the University of Mississippi at Oxford reads “courage,” “perseverance,” “opportunity,” and “knowledge.” Certainly those generalities apply to Meredith, the state’s unflinching African-American native son who on Monday, Oct. 1, 1962, acted on his “divine calling” to integrate “Ole Miss”---and who, against the heaviest odds, succeeded. Yet they hardly serve history as they fail to tell the story of the state’s virulent racism and of the extraordinary effort required on the part of Meredith to overcome it, even though he came armed with a U.S. Supreme Court decision to open the doors to him and was backed by the White House of President John Kennedy who deployed troops and U.S. marshals to put down rioting mobs congregating on the campus. To protect Meredith, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy dispatched 123 deputy federal marshals, 316 border guards and 97 federal prison guards, with orders not to shoot. At the height of the disorder, some 2,000 rioters attacked them hurling bottles, bricks, and Molotov cocktails and firing guns. The Federals replied with tear gas. Nearly 200 U.S. marshals and soldiers were wounded and two persons---a French journalist and an innocent bystander---were killed in the ensuing mele, sometimes referred to as “the last battle of the civil war.” The phrase was no fancy turn of speech. The marshals proved to be only the vanguard of the 31,000 troops and lawmen President Kennedy subsequently was obliged to deploy to Oxford to maintain order. This was nearly as many as the 35,000 bluecoats General Ulysses Grant initially committed to capture Vicksburg, Miss., a century earlier in one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. Meredith won the right to attend Ole Miss after his lawsuit alleging racial discrimination had kept him out was determined on appeal in his favor in Sept., 1962, by the U.S. Supreme Court. The suit was filed in his behalf by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

“White militants, encouraged by (Gov. Ross) Barnett’s resistance and the inflammatory rhetoric of segregationist and states’ rights leaders, joined the violent students in launching bricks, bottles, and gunfire toward the marshals,” observes historian Charles Eagles of the University of Mississippi, looking back at those tumultuous days at Oxford. “After the military secured the campus early Monday morning (October 1, 1962), Meredith registered and attended his first classes, and a critical stage in the desegregation crisis passed,” Eagles explains. “In a major victory against white supremacy, he had inflicted a devastating blow to white massive resistance to the civil rights movement and had goaded the national government into using its overpowering force in support of the black freedom struggle.”

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends