Saturday, September 18, 2010

More rumors of Iraq forming a government

northsum32 (All Voices) recaps the talk coming out of Iraq: "The deal would involve the Iraqiya group of Allawi that won the most seats the INA which includes Al Sadr and the Kurdistan Allliance. The prime minister would be current vice president Adel Abdulmahdi a member of the Iraq National Alliance and also lead of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. The SIIC lost many seats while supporters of Al Sadr gained and took over leadership of the group. Ayad Allawi would become president. The Kurdistan Alliance would get the chairmanship of the parliament."

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted last month, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's six months and ten days with no government formed.

The Tehran Times offers an article which opines:

Adil Abdul Mahdi as representative of the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) will be prime minister. This important proviso – that he is selected as a representative of the SIC rather than the Iraqi National Alliance (which also includes the Sadrists) – is significant because it downgrades the weight of the Sadrists who control a little over half of the seats of the Iraqi National Alliance and who will probably be making unacceptable demands, including the one that the strategic agreement with the U.S. should be terminated, or that they should be assigned one of the two key security ministries – either defense or interior. The presidency will be assigned to al-Iraqiya, with one vice president to be offered to al-Maliki's State of Law.
The ministry of foreign affairs would most likely go to a Sunni politician, in an effort to bring Iraq back into the Arab fold.
The parliamentary speakership goes to the Kurdish alliance. They will be compensated for the loss of the office of the president with the highly significant ministry of oil. This will allow the Kurds greater flexibility in dealing with the oil extracted from their province and its sale, and reduce the conflict with the central government.

Asso Ahmed (Los Angeles Times) interviews KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih:

Q: Regarding forming the government, in one of your previous statements you have stated not forming the government is a disgrace, Why?

A: In fact, it is a shame…. We do not have a government that has emerged as a result of this [March] election. The country is exposed to serious terrorist attacks and crises in the basic services of electricity and water supply to the people. In normal circumstances, governments fall because of these problems and a new government comes. What is happening now is a major failure for the political elites in front of the Iraqi voter who challenged terrorism when he went to the ballot boxes and wanted to establish a new beginning for his country.

Q: Not forming the government, has it shown any kind of repercussion or side effects in terms of security and services?

A: There is no doubt that this situation negatively affects the security situation. The continuity of the problems and political quarrels represents an outlet for extremists and terrorists to destabilize security. Iraq’s security will not stabilize permanently without resolving unfinished political issues in the country and in particular the problem of the power-sharing between the main Iraqi components and bringing an Iraqi government supported by the general public to serve as an impervious dam against terrorists and extremists who are trying to defeat the emerging Iraqi experience.

Q: Do you think that the Iraqi public if the situation stays the same and the government isn’t formed will be forced to protest?

A: There are now demonstrations denouncing the government’s performance in the field of services. I think that the continuation of this situation would lead the current political elite to lose its credibility before the people.

On the issue of protests, Human Rights Watch notes:

Iraqi authorities should stop blocking peaceful demonstrations and arresting and intimidating organizers, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi security forces should also respect the right of free assembly and use only the minimum necessary force when violence occurs at a protest.
After thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in the summer of 2010 to protest a chronic lack of government services, Iraqi authorities cracked down on demonstrations. The Interior Ministry issued onerous regulations about public protests, and the prime minister's office apparently issued a secret order instructing the interior minister to refuse permits for demonstrations about power shortages. In the past few months, the government has refused to authorize numerous requests for public demonstrations, with no explanation. Authorities have also arrested and intimidated organizers and protesters, and policing actions have led to deaths and injuries. The clampdown has created a climate of fear among organizers and demonstrators.
"To take away the rights and freedoms Iraqis have been promised in exchange for all the suffering they have endured since the war is to add insult to injury," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch. "When will Iraqi officials learn that silencing the voice of the people is only a formula for strife?"
In recent months, public frustration has mounted across Iraq at the government's inability to provide sufficient electricity and other basic services. With as little as a few hours of electricity a day in many areas, and with summer temperatures soaring to 50 degrees Celsius, demonstrations broke out across the country in June. The protests in Basra culminated on June 19, when security forces killed two protesters and wounded two others after demonstrators tried to force their way into the provincial council building.

Still on the issue of the still-not-formed government, Tim Connolly (Dallas Morning News) reports the opinions former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker expressed on Thursday:

Crocker, who stepped down as ambassador in 2009, said he is confident that Iraqi leaders will form a government "in the coming weeks," after months of deadlock. And he said he expects the new government to ask the U.S. to extend its military role there.
Such a request is needed, he said, because of the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, which calls for all U.S. forces to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

The Iraq War has not ended and may not anytime soon. Crocker's statements -- similar to ones he's already made repeatedly -- are also being made by Joe Biden and assorted others. But a news media desperate to spin 'the end' following Barack's August 31st speech hasn't been so eager to probe the meanings of such statements -- let alone the realities that combat operations have not ended. Bill Van Auken tackles that reality today in "Raid by US troops kills Iraqi civilians" (WSWS):

Two weeks after President Barack Obama proclaimed the end of the US “combat mission” in Iraq, a night raid by US troops in the city of Fallujah has claimed the lives of at least eight Iraqi civilians.

Wednesday’s raid provided one more indication that the US occupation of Iraq continues and American troops are still battling to suppress Iraqi resistance. While the US military has reduced its deployment in the country, the nearly 50,000 troops that remain are prepared for and are engaged in combat, the August 31 official deadline for an end to combat operations notwithstanding.

American military officials claim that the raid was aimed at killing or capturing a leading member of Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia, an insurgent group. Those killed, they say, were insurgents who fired on the joint US-Iraqi raiding party as it approached a house where the targeted individual was believed to be.

Both residents and local officials, however, strongly dispute this account. Fallujah’s police chief Brig. Gen. Faisal al Essawi told the AFP news agency that eight civilians were killed, including two women and two children. The casualties were confirmed by a local hospital.

Turning to today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack (no known deaths or injuries), a Kirkuk bike bombing which claimed 2 lives and left nine people wounded and, dropping back to Friday, 2 Baghdad roadside bombings which claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier, injured six more and also wounded five by-standers. Reuters notes 2 Baquba raodside bombing which left six police officers injured and two by-standers, a Baghdad sticky bombing which claimed the life of 1 police officer and that the death toll in Hawija's bike bombing yesterday climed 4 and that the wounded is now number at seven.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person shot dead last night in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 1 person shot dead in Mosul.

The Institute for Public Accuracy notes

Kors wrote the Nation cover story "Disposable Soldiers: How the Pentagon Is Cheating Wounded Vets."

Kors and Luther testified this morning before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Kors described Luther's testimony: "Medal-winning sergeant Chuck Luther described for the committee how he was tortured by the U.S. Army. Luther provided graphic details of his month confined to a closet at Camp Taji, Iraq, where he was pressed to sign fraudulent documents saying his mortar fire wounds were caused by a pre-existing 'personality disorder.'" Attributing injuries to "personality disorders" saves the military money in disability benefits and keeps casualty figures down. Added Kors: "Chairman Bob Filner (D-Calif.) referred to Luther's treatment as 'torture.' The ranking Republican, Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), stormed out of the hearing."

Kors states that "over 22,000 soldiers have been discharged with 'personality disorder' since 2001."

Listen to Kors and Luther in a recent BBC interview

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Steve Buyer's storm out is covered in Wednesday's snapshot, Kat's "Steve Buyer's nuclear meltdown" and Thursday's snapshot. From the Sept 15th snapshot:

Ranking Member Steve Buyer: I have records in front of me!
Joshua Kors: All said what?
Ranking Member Steve Buyer: I'm not going to do this! I can't -- My integrity as a gentleman will not allow me to do this. Dr. Roe! Will you take this seat? I will not participate in this! I'm not going to do it! It's wrong!

He had already launched into a tirade in the hearing prior to that but those were his exit lines as he stormed out of the hearing. (Before that Wednesday morning hearing, a markup hearing was held -- immediately before -- and Buyer launched a similar attack on US House Rep Debbie Halvorson where he all but screamed "You're an idiot!") The records in front of him, for those who missed the drama? He claimed to have documents on Chuck Luther but insisted his integrity wouldn't allow him to refer to them -- he repeatedly insisted that his integrity wouldn't allow him to refer to them. Repeatedly.

And we'll close with this from Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan's "Relentless Propaganda by Cindy Sheehan" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):

Recently, on MSNBC, we saw establishment critic (oops, only when a Republican is in office), Keith Olbermann call Karl Marx a “lousy thinker,” when even the most anti-Marxist in the world would have to concede that Marx was one of the most brilliant thinkers and political/social philosophers in modern history—anyway, that’s a little off the subject.

Currently, I am making a documentary film about Venezuela and President Chavez and the people’s revolution there called, the Bolivarian Revolution—and what happened on September 17th, is one of the reasons I am doing so. Of course, in making this film, I am obsessed with all things Venezuelan and all the news from and about the country and its charismatic president and that’s how this “news” item crossed my path—the headline:

US couple accused of trying to sell nuclear secrets to Venezuela.

(Extra, extra, read all about it!)

Well, we know in the past decade, that if the U.S. Military junta wants to invade a country, they start a demonization campaign that should have the requisite “nuclear component” in it—Iraq (WMD, “mushroom cloud”) and Iran are perfect current examples of nuclear-fear bullcrap.

Now look at that bold headline that appeared on CNN online on September 17th via the U.K. Guardian—if you were the average, casual consumer of the “news” and you had already had the stuffing propagandized out of you that Chavez is a “communist dictator” that “supports terrorism,” what would you automatically think? You would think exactly what the headline wants you to think—that Venezuela is in the market to make nuclear weapons by purchasing secrets from the undisputed champion of the manufacture and usage of nuclear weaponry: the USA. (We’re number one!)

The e-mail address for this site is

The fallen

September 7th an Iraqi soldier launched an attack on US soldiers, wounding nine of them and killing two. 16-year-old Staff Sgt Philip Jenkins was one of the two killed. Steve Penhollow (Journal Gazette) reports that the Belmmont High School was the location of a public memorial for the soldier today. Megan Trent (Indiana News Center) notes that "hundreds" turned out for the service and:

"Sergent Jenkins was lost in Iraq, which is ironic because our mission in Iraq has been downgraded from a combat mission to a mission of helping the Iraqi people rebuild their nation," said Patriot Guard Rider Chaplin Pat Brase.
Hundreds of people turned out for Saturday's viewing and funeral... a testament to the legacy Jenkins leaves behind.
Scott Nolan works with Sgt. Jenkins' mother, Rose Jenkins. "I think it's very important that the community show some support for our military personnel and support them and what they're doing and just pay tribute and give thanks to all that they do for our and for our country."

The other soldier shot dead September 7th was 22-year-old Pfc James F. McClamrock.
Ben McNeely (Independent Tribune) reports on the Friday funeral for McClamrock at Forest Hill United Methodist Church:

Mark McClamrock, pastor of Concord A.R.P. Church, eulogized his son, saying James lived his life knowing full well the biblical mantra -- "There is a time to be born and a time to die." -- and what that meant.
"We all want to be loved – to know that we have a purpose," the elder McClamrock said. "James found that. He told us when he signed up for the military I could die right here. He chose to serve his country."

Meanwhile Rick Maze (Army News) reports:

Veterans of Operation New Dawn, the name assigned to the newest phase of military operations in Iraq, would be guaranteed the same veterans benefits as people who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom under legislation introduced Thursday in the House of Representatives.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said he is trying to ensure that the Defense Department’s decision to give a new name to Iraq deployment as it shifts to less combat-intensive operations does not inadvertently lead to the denial of any special benefits or access to health care approved by Congress for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The following community sites --plus Antiwar and Jane Fonda -- updated last night and today:

We'll close with this from the Michigan Green Party's John Anthony La Pietra:

John Anthony La Pietra for
Fairer, Better Elections
Secretary of State * Green Party
386 Boyer Court * Marshall, MI 49068

News Release: September 17, 2010

La Pietra Celebrates Constitution Day
With Call to Guard "Equal Voting Opportunity"
Posts Survey of Voting Conditions on Website;
Invites Voters to Report on All Precincts Statewide,
and Help Build a Case for Fairer, Better Standards

John Anthony La Pietra -- the Green Party of Michigan’s candidate for Secretary of State -- is celebrating Constitution Day by calling on voters across the state to join him in finding out how equal everyone's opportunity to vote really is in Michigan.

"Voting and election rights are critical rights, because they help protect all our other rights," John says. "And the right to an equal voting opportunity is even more fundamental than the right to vote itself.

"But if one precinct with 1,500 voters has enough equipment, staff, and space for 20 people to vote at a time -- and another precinct with just as many voters can only accommodate five voters at a time -- which one's going to have longer lines and longer waits? Where will more people get discouraged and go home without voting at all? That's not equal voting opportunity."

That's why John has posted a Survey of Voting Conditions on his campaign Website, at

And he's asking voters in all 5,050 precincts to look at their polling places on November 2, and ask themselves:

* How many voting stations, standing and sit-down,
the precinct has. (And how many more would fit
in the polling place.)

* How many touch-screen voting machines there are.
(This refers to the AutoMARK systems made available
mostly for voters with disabilities, though anyone
may choose to use them.)

* How many vote-counting machines (or "tabulators")
there are.

* How many poll-workers ("election inspectors") there
are, and whether there's any room for more workers.

* What time they went to vote, how long they stay at
the polling place, and how long voting itself takes

* How long the lines are.

The survey page also has spaces for voters to report their city or township, the number of their precinct number, their polling place (and whether or not it is shared with other precincts) -- and, if they can find out from their clerk or the poll-workers, the number of voters registered in the precinct.

"You can print a copy of the survey page and bring it to the polls with you if you want," John says. "But please don't leave it there! You'll lose your survey answers -- and if you leave the page at the voting station, you'll just make more work for the election inspectors who have to keep those spaces clear of any campaigning material."

John will also gladly collect any comments voters make, positive or negative, about what they see happening at their polling places. And he promises to offer his results to whoever wins the election -- and to watch what they do with the information. "But I promise to protect commenters’ privacy rights, too -- unless someone tells me they’re willing to go public."

Current Minimum Equipment Standard
Only Allows 2.6 Minutes to Vote
An important part of the survey, John says, is gathering some basic figures so that simple mathematics can show how equal or unequal voters' opportunities are.

"State law says the minimum requirement for a polling place is 1 voting station per 300 voters registered in the precinct. The polls open at 7am and close at 8pm. That's 13 hours, or 780 minutes. So in a precinct with just enough equipment to be legal, the average voter has two minutes and 36 seconds to vote."

"That's assuming everyone comes in to vote, of course," he adds. "But it also assumes there's no such thing as a peak-hour rush . . . just someone coming in the door every 2.6 minutes, like clockwork. And never spoiling a ballot and needing to vote again, either."

To analyze the survey results, John will also need to know how many voters are registered in each precinct across the state. He plans to ask all 83 county clerks for these figures as of Monday, October 4 -- the deadline for voters to register so they can vote November 2.

"With that set of numbers, and the equipment counts from voters across the state, we can see who has plenty of equipment and who needs more -- where things are fair and where they could be fairer."

And the more voters participate in the survey, the more evidence there'll be about how much higher that one-per-300 standard needs to be. "A station for every 200 registered voters still wouldn't give our hypothetical average voter four full minutes to mark a ballot. How much shorter would that make the lines?" John asks. "What about a station per 100 voters, giving each one almost eight minutes? The surveys can tell us which precincts have that much equipment -- and what voting was like there."

"One way or another," he concludes, "the survey can help make voting conditions fairer and better for everyone."

He's heard one proposal to give the average person 15 minutes to vote, by setting a new standard of providing all precincts with a voting station for every 50 registered voters. But other reforms might make that less necessary.

"If more people can vote absentee, or in person at the local clerk's office the last week or two before Election Day, fewer people will need to come to the polling place -- and the more time will be available at voting stations for those who do vote in person."

Open Letter Sent to Almost 200 Editors --
Have You Seen It in Your Newspaper?
The survey was the main topic mentioned in an "open letter" John sent voters "in care of Michigan’s newspaper editors" -- almost 200 of them -- on September 3, two weeks ago.

John saw the letter Monday on the editorial page of the Battle Creek _Enquirer_ -- and Google shows that it also appeared as a letter to the editor in yesterday's _Observer and Eccentric_ and Westland _Observer_.

"If your newspaper ran it, or runs it -- as a letter to the editor, an actual news story, or both -- please let me know," he asks voters.

The open letter also mentioned an invitation to John's fellow candidates to join him in arranging for a recount of the Secretary of State race. And he renews the pledge he made in the open letter to pay his statewide vote percentage of the $10-per-precinct recount fee -- if his rivals will do the same.

He knows a post-election sampling audit, as described in a proposal by the Michigan Election Reform Alliance, would be a more efficient and cost-effective first step toward verifying vote results. It could serve the same function as statistical sampling of statewide ballot petitions does now. But there's no provision yet in state law for an election audit.

"For now," John says, "a recount may be the best we can do to use our race to set an example and start building voters' trust that it's worth their while to vote because all votes will be counted."

John’s campaign home page is at

The Survey of Voting Conditions page is at

John's September 3 open letter is at

The main page for the Michigan Election Reform Alliance's proposal for post-election audits is here:

To contact John’s campaign for Secretary of State, please e-mail

or write to 386 Boyer Court; Marshall, MI 49068; phone 269-781-9478.

For a list of all of the 2010 Green Party of Michigan candidates, please visit

or contact GPMI at 548 S Main St; Ann Arbor, MI 48104; 734-663-3555.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, September 17, 2010

Iraq snapshot

Friday, September 17, 2010.  Chaos and violence continue, support mounts for Bradley Manning, the US military announces yet another death in Iraq, reports insist the political stalemate is about to be a thing of the past, and more.
Starting with Bradley Manning. Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. This month, the military charged Manning. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. As Daniel Ellsberg reminded from the stage in Oakland last night, "We don't know all the facts." But we know, as Ellsberg pointed out, that the US military is attempting to prosecute Bradley.
Daniel Ellsberg was a RAND Corporation military analyst alarmed by the Pentagon Papers charting the government's continuation of a lost and illegal war.  He copied the papers to pass to the press (the press feared receiving the originals would be receiving stolen property and leave them open to prosecution).  Lengthy court battles ensued via Richard Nixon and his so-called Justice Dept but the press -- for a change -- didn't buckle. Ellsberg was targeted by Tricky Dick with various efforts to smear him and to harm him.  He also faced imprisonment.  Back then, fundraisers were held.  Barbra Streisand, for example, sang to a group of people -- including Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and David Geffen -- present, singing their requests for donations to the defense fund and she also took requests over the phone at the event (Carl Reiner was among those calling in and making a request).  Nixon kept an enemies list and Barbra ended up on it for fundraising (over $50,000 was raised from Barbra's event if I remember correctly) on behalf of Daniel Ellsberg's defense. We'll note some of Daniel Ellsberg's remarks from last night:
Thank you very much, Let me echo what you just heard, my wife, when I set out for this, said how many people do you think will be out there? I said "who knows?  Half a dozen? A dozen? What will it be?" It's wonderful to see this place filled, standing room only. And I was thinking who would like to see this? And I thought of a way to do it.  I was just talking an hour ago to Bradley's aunt, Deborah van Alstyne,  who was possibly his relative who was closest to him, mother's sister and who's seen him several times in jail.  And she did want to say -- I told her what was happening tonight -- and she said, "Let people know how much he appreciates the support thaty he's getting.  It means a tremendous amount to him. He was in prison, you know, in Kuwait for a long time, a couple of months. No communication with anybody. I don't even think he was seeing military lawyers at that point.  Who knows what was happening?   But no news whatever.  And until he got to Quantico, he had no news of what happened, how anything had been received. He didn't know how well, actually, the [New York] Times, der Spiegel, the Guardian had dealt with the early disclosuers -- which I think would probably be very important for him to know. Or the reaction to the video and so forth. So, when she sees him, it's through heavy glass with somebody listening at the side at all times -- which brings back memories of what I expected to happen to me.  People have asked me why I had my children help me copy papers for a couple of nights?  Seemed very strange to them and I can understand that.  But there was a reason.  At that point in the fall of '69, when I was copying these 7,00 pages of top secret documents, I reallly expected them to come out shortly to Senator [James Willism] Fullbright, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, within a couple of weeks, and I expected to be in prison  almost surely.  Oh, I'm sorry, where do you want me? Oh, sorry, okay.  Okay.  Do I have to be behind this [podium]? Just in the light, right?  [Laughter.]  Okay.  Third degree here, right?  I knew that what they'd be hearing then within weeks was that their father had gone crazy.  Just what Bradley Manning's friends and relatives are hearing right now.  And what I suppose he's getting. He's heard that I'm sure. And that he was a traitor.  But that he 'snapped,' that he'd gone crazy. And I wanted my children to see before I started a lifetime, perhaps of talking to them through glass that I'd done this because I thought it was the right thing to do, in a business like way, just something that I thought had to be done.  And that I hadn't gone crazy. I wanted them to see me doing it.  And so it just occured to me, of course, Bradley had a technology here that I didn't have, that I'm very jealous of, I must say, if he did what he's accused of.  It does imply, by the way, that the possibility of telling the truth about a policy that's reckless, criminal, murderous, disasterous,  of various kinds. The power to change that by telling the truth is literally at the finger tips of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. Just a few key strokes can actually -- the policy is vulnerable to that.  They have to rely -- "they," the ones who are running this policy -- have to rely on the trustworthiness or what they call the loyalty, the faithfulness, the patriotism -- in their eyes.  Of the thousand people, even more who know what's happening, but the thousand who know that its wrong and who could change it if they told the truth but they have to count on those people.  And they do. And on the whole, I'm sorry to say, they're right to rely on those people keeping their mouths shut.  The three of us here, you saw before, two in the army, one in the Marine corps, were all in the service.  We share a number of things in common and one of them is that there were times when there were truths that we could have told but didn't. And could have made a real difference. And we've learned to be real regretful of that and to want to use our lives differently and to urge other people to do the same. And okay, it finally, when I first spoke to Deborah van Alstyne a month ago after she'd just seen him.  She said he'd finally learned of his support. The Guardian article a while ago on the support that was quite good. And he'll be learning of this. I asked her whether he knew that Michael Moore was campaigning for him, was supporting.  She said that she didn't know directly but that one of the lawyers had mentioned it to her so she was pretty sure he had discussed it with Bradley.  And that's very good.  But as I say with all this new technology in the world here, I can now get your pictures to Bradley in a matter of days because Debraorah going to see him this weekend. And it just occured to me, I have her e-mail. So those of you who wish to hide your faces because this is going over e-mail -- that means copied to NSA and the FBI and who knows who ever else.  But there were 25,000 people who contributed to my trial and so I have learned to appreciate that and I have been doing fundraisers for other people every since -- never more enthusiastically than tonight. So another way to use that technology -- You may not have had much cash here, you may not even have had your checkbook with you, but at home, if you have computers, the Bradley Manning -- what is it?  Dot org? will give you a chance with Paypal to send as much as you can possibly send. And the people who are watching on the internet should now turn to your computers and don't bother watching me.  It's much more important to send a contribution right now before you forget. while you have the impulse to this because it really is essential. And so here we go, I can actually send Bradley a video.  Thank you for standing up for me, how about standing up for Bradley?  [Cheers and applause.] Okay. Now. Great. Okay and as I say that's very good. That's virtually as important as I say of going to your computers and doing your own e-mail and getting it all to him. What are we doing? We're honoring an American hero. I'm glad that Ray [McGovern] made the point here, let's no go through locution, we don't know the facts. We don't know the facts and, in particular, as I know, it's up to the government to prove their case beyond a reaonsable doubt, and we can't hand it to them anyway.  We don't know anymore than they do or less.  But let's just assume that for once the army is telling the truth about what they accuse him of.  [Laughter.] They're hardly the last word on any subject but maybe on this one.  Whoever was the source, and let's call him Bradley Manning, deserves our thanks and deserves honor. Not everybody, of course, honors him. I actually am very happy to see this room fuli --  If not in Oakland and Berkeley, then where? But I am glad to see it. And he'll be glad to see it. But there are a lot of people who see him differently, obviously and in terms, by the way, that are not very well grounded in American history, in America principals., I was just a few days ago in New York on a show called The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC and he quoted at me in his brief interview, an article by a guy Marc Thiessen who is a former George W. Bush speechwriter -- obviously deserving of indictment himself. And I'll explain why a minute. He's now a Washington Post columnist, of course. And so Ratigan quoted him saying to me, "WikiLeaks is a criminal enterprise."  Well interesting that Thiessen would say that since he's just retired from a very large criminal enterprise, I would say, the George W. Bush administration.   And I must say that the, let me give you a little piece of current history probably most people here don't know. Barack Obama, who said that he doesn't want to look back at the crimes -- or the alleged crimes -- of the George W. Bush administration, wants to look forward and move forward and, in effect, has decriminalized torture, a war of agression, warantless wiretapping -- obviously criminal under both the Fourth Amendment and American domestic law at that time -- years of criminal activity. Renditions, kidnappings, indefinite detention, the suspension of Habeaus Corpus in effect meaning, which most people really don't have a very clear idea of that, meaning  detention without charges indefinitely. We now have a president actually who has declared the right to keep detained people indefinately that he suspects should not be out, even if they've been acquitted, he can keep them.  In other words, as well as before without charges,  following in the foot steps of George W. Bush in virtually all those respects.  He claims that torture has ended but there is lots of evidence that it has not ended in Bagram and probably other secret sites at various places.  The rendention, the kidnapping.  Still. He's gone actually further than Bush in terms of open claims, the claim of the right -- through his intelligence chief at that time, Dennis Blair, who announced that the president had a hit list of American citizens and others that he felt -- that he'd given orders to kill, to assasinate, to execute, to murder abroad American citizens basically.  But I just happened to read the words of the Magna Carta of 1215 today.  I'd seen it before, I looked it up, but somebody else was referring to it.  And the words are: "No free man shall be deprived -- shall be harmed, shall be destroyed or deprived of freedom except by a jury of his peers." In other words, this is a wiping out of rights that go back to 1215 -- almost 800 years right now.  In short, in these Constitutional matters, we have an administration -- and in the foreign affairs matters, we have an administration that is a third term of George W. Bush.  I'm not saying that's true in every respect. I'm not saying that the Republicans are not much, much worse.  Actually they are in domestic matters.  Actually Obama has not been strikingly better or different in matters of foreign affairs or Constitutional policy.  In fact, we thought we were getting something here with a Constituational lawyer, a teacher of Constitutional law, Barack Obama,  I haven't seen any opinions his Dept of Justice has been putting out [with] any difference in the opinion of Berkeley tenured professor John Yoo.
From across the Atlantic, support is expressed by people who knew Bradley when he lived in Wales. BBC News quotes James Kirkpatrick stating, "He is an absolute hero, anybody who is going to bring up such injustices, you've got to consider them a hero. I found out the first week he was being held and was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I felt proud of him really, whistleblowing against such controversies, it's quite a heroic thing. I was shocked but really impressed by him as well."
A number of events are planned and A.N.S.W.E.R. offers this list:

United States

Los Angeles, California
Top of the Santa Monica Pier (Palisades Park, just north of the pier at the cannon)
Sunday, September 19, 1-3pm

Oakland, California
Thursday, September 16, 7-9pm
Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland CA (Between Telegraph and Broadway)
Presented by Courage to Resist, with the help of National Lawyers Guild Bay Area Military Law Panel, Veterans for Peace-Bay Area Chapter, CodePink, War Resisters League-West, Iraq Veterans Against the War-Bay Area, and BAY-Peace.

San Diego, California
Rally and film showing
Sunday, September 19, 12-2 pm
Horton Plaza, 4th & Broadway 
Sponsored by Activist San Diego, San Diego Peace and Justice Coalition

San Francisco, California
March and rally
Saturday, September 18
Rally at 2pm, march at 3pm, ending at 4pm at Union Square
in front of the SF War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue
Organized by Courage to Resist, Veterans for Peace-SF Bay Area, ANSWER  Coalition, Bay Area United for Peace and Justice, and CodePink

New Haven, Connecticut
Friday September 17, 4 pm
59 Elm Street, New Haven, CT 06510. In front of Rosa DeLauro's office.
Sponsored by the Greater New Haven Peace Council

Cambridge, Massachusetts  
Sunday, September 19, 4 pm  
In front of 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (MIT building with the dome.)
Sponsored in part by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade 

Minneapolis, Minnesota  
Rally & Film Showing  
Friday, September 17, 4:30-6 pm 
Mayday Bookstore – 301 Cedar Avenue – Minneapolis 

Rochester, Minnesota 
Peace Happening  
Thursday September 16, 5 pm  
South Broadway & 2nd Street SW 
Sponsored by the Southeastern Minnesota Peace Makers 

Keene, New Hampshire 
Keene town commons 
Saturday September 18, 11:00 am 
NH Peace Action, in conjunction with the Free State Project 

New York City, New York 
Film showing and speakers 
September 16th, 7pm 
St. Mary's Church, 521 West 126th Street 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for Conscience 
Friday, September 17, 5-6 pm 
SE Corner of S. 59th and Western Avenue 

Corvallis, Oregon 
Friday September 17, 5 pm  
Benton Country Courthouse, Corvallis, OR, 97330 
Supported by Veterans for Peace 

Knoxville, Tennessee  
Thursday, September 16th 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville  

Norfolk, Virginia  
Friday, September 17, 11:30 am-1 pm   
Granby St. & City Hall Ave.  
Sponsored by the Norfolk Catholic Worker  

Quantico, Virginia  
Rally followed by outreach  
Sunday, September 19, 11:30 am  
Town of Quantico Municipal Park (River Road and 4th Avenue)  
Sponsored by IVAW, Code Pink, and other area activists           

Seattle/Fort Lewis, Washington         
Saturday, September 18, 2-4 pm 
"Freedom Bridge" and gate area at I-5 exit 122 (Madigan Hospital exit). 
Sponsored by Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace (VFP 92)  

Spokane, Washington 
Thursday, September 16, 12:00 noon  
Corner of Wellesley and Division 


Toronto, Ontario, Canada  
Sunday, September 19, 12:00 noon            
U.S. Consulate, University Avenue       

Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia             
Speakers and cultural performances          
Friday, September 17, 7-9pm                        
SCU Room, upstairs in the Byron Community and Cultural Centre          
Last night World Can't Wait attempted an NYC web broadcast but due to problems substituted an August 1st webcast on Bradley. Elaine Brower and Debra Sweet anchored the webcast.  Marcia notes Elaine: "She observed, 'In 1971 there was a very strong antiwar sentiment in the country and Nixon was frightened by the Pentagon Papers coming out. I believe that the White House is frightened because they don't want to see an anti-war movement like we had in the late sixties and early seventies'."  To keep the webcast free of charge, commercials run every 20 minutes or so which can mean a break in streaming.  Trina explained Debra asked people what the number one thing that needs to be carried to the general population is: "And what did the people say? My stream went to the commercial. But when the commercial was over, they were discussing Barack Obama's continuation of George W. Bush's crimes and wondering why do we support him and what's a war criminal and what does it mean when civilians get killed in war? (Debra's words.)" Ann had trouble with the stream and specifically when attempting to hear Ethan McCord speak: "I'm sure he was amazing. That's why I picked him. But I just couldn't hear what he was saying, sorry. Now there will be a DVD made of this event (to raise awareness of and money for Bradley Manning) that World Can't Wait will sell and I'm sure Ethan will be easier to understand on that because they'll probably have him plugged into the sound board. Whereas on the livestream, he's echoing and the connection is bad." Stan enjoyed Josh Steiber's remarks but disagreed with an aspect of them, "But I really think that in the movement there's been too much effort to glorify soldiers. I think Josh probably sees a lot of stuff and he speaks from that and that's great. But there's also the reality that either everyone's welcome or no one really is in which case, it's not a movement, it's a clique. I don't think he's trying to start a clique. I think he's trying to address serious problems and I believe him that he's seen these serious problems; however, I also believe there's a lot of group-think and a lot of 'let's hide behind soldiers' and other stuff like that." Kat covered Matthis Chiroux who stated, "Debra, you know me, and the type of messages I put out tend to be very direct. These things are resonating with folks, they are identifying Boldwith the truth. Which in our current situation are very radical." Ruth noted Matthis stated that people in the military he was in contact with were looking through their old videos to see if they have anything like the WikiLeaks vidoe and she quotes him stating: "We need you to hear this call to action. Whoever released this video didn't do it because they wanted to be a hero or whatever, they did it because the contents were so shocking and so disturbing."  Rebecca did not enjoy Ray McGovern or McGovern's inability to call out Barack Obama while aiming 'jokes'/smears at Hillary Clinton and offered McGovern had issues: "no, cause he's a little, witty boy coward. still angry that mommy pulled him off her tits and going to take that out on every woman in the world. what a pig."  Betty was so angered by McGovern's stunt that she stopped streaming and only turned it back on when Rebecca called her to say Dahr Jamail was on.  Betty quotes Darh stating "I'm very excited about the WikiLeaks situation I think Julian Assange should get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I think it's the most important journalism this year." and "Someone put their butt on the line to get this information out there, taking huge, huge risks." Cedric and Wally offer a humor take on McGovern, focusing on a young McGovern playing football: "AS THE OPPOSING TEAM'S RUNNING BACK BARRELLED PAST HIM, YOUNG RAY-RAY MADE THE 'STRATEGIC' (COWARDLY) CHOICE TO IGNORE THE RUNNING BACK AND INSTEAD LAUNCHED A FLYING TACKLE AT 7-YEAR-OLD BOBBY MASON WHO WAS CHEERING FROM THE SIDELINES AND CONSIDERED 'SMALL FOR HIS AGE'."  Isaiah wasn't planning on covering the stream but Cindy Sheehan came on and he quoted her stating, "We do have to realize that the traditional antiwar movement is mostly anti-Republican and they're not so antiwar when a Democrat is in power but Barack Obama owns the drone bombings, they've increased, they've more than tripled since he's been president." Mike also covered Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan who spoke about the weak turnout in opposition to the latest war funding.  Mike outlines her points:
* Many people on the left on the so-called left on Tuesday they responded
like it was a victory because so many more Democrats voted against it this time
than last time. 

* We have to decide what's the response of the so-called two-party system. 

* As an antiwar movement we have to be more organized and we have to
be more outspoken now than we were when George Bush was president. 
Today the DoD announced: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn. Sgt. John F. Burner III, 32, of Baltimore, Md., died Sept. 16, in Iskandariya, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 63rd Signal Battalion (Expeditionary), 35th Signal Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga. For more information media may contact the Fort Gordon public affairs office at 706-791-6001 or 706-791-6839." Add today's death to the DoD count and that's [PDF format warning] 4425 Americans who have died serving in Iraq.  USF (formerly MNF) did not issue a release on the death -- which is their job, they announce deaths, DoD issues releases identifying the fallen.  Yet again, USF is caught still not doing their job but they work for a president who wants to lie that the Iraq War is over (it's not) so don't look for any discipline to take place as USF continues to earn tax payer dollars while failing to do the most basic of their jobs. John Burner III is the fourth US service member to die in Iraq since Barack announced the 'end' of 'combat operations' in Iraq August 31st.
In other news of deaths and injuries, Reuters notes a Hawija bike bombing claimed 2 lives and left nine people injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Ministry of Interior employee, a Baghdad roadside bombing injured two police officers, 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Mosul, 1 suspect killed in an Iraqi military raid in Mosul and 1 corpse discovered in Kirkuk.
Today Alsumaria TV reports that the leaders of Syria and Iran's governments -- Bashar Al Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- will meet to discuss many issues including Iraq's government: "A well informed source in Damascus said last Saturday that Syria tends to nominate Syrian Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki for a second term stressing that Damascus currently wants to form an Iraqi government that encompasses all the components of the Iraqi society disregarding the candidates to Premiership." What's going on?
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted last month, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's six months and ten days with no government formed.
There Will Be War offers a timeline of Iraq which they believe illuminates the current political stalemate while Falah Mustafa Bakir (Washington Times) offers a series of questions:
However, if the situation remains at a standstill, other measures may be necessary. How long can a state hold out without a government, awaiting consensus? The lack of progress may force Iraq to take some difficult decisions to overcome this crisis and preserve the possibility of a democratic and pluralistic nation.               
If all four blocs do not agree, should we consider a government formed by only three blocs? Should Iraq convene a caretaker government and hold a new election in a year's time? Should the Kurdistan Alliance itself consider identifying a compromise candidate?                     
If the three blocs will not budge and cannot move forward, does the bloc system any longer serve its purpose of representing the Iraqi people in a federal government? The principal blocs all contain a number of moderate parties. If the blocs are not capable of forming a government very soon, is it preferable to bring together the factions of each bloc genuinely interested in forming a government?
WERMAN: What is at stake for the US if something doesn't get sorted out with Iraq's civilian government?
SHADID: It's already embarrassing, the American government at this point,
that it's gone on as long as it has. We're talking about six months here and
the Americans they expected to have a government far before this August 31
deadline that they had set up as a turning point in this seven-year
experience there. So there is the issue of embarrassment. There's also the
issue of growing frustration in Iraq. Discontent across the board where you
think you're reaching a point where you may have the entire political system discredited. It's always struck me in [ Iraq that the country's still a lot like it
did in 2003 in some respects. And I don't want to overstate that comparison.
Back in 2003, as you have now, a country that's anxious, a country that has
an unclear political future. There's a question about American intentions
and there's a lot of ambiguity covering almost everything that goes on in
the country today. That's not to mention, of course, more practical issues. Electricity, water, sewage, lack of housing for education. It's an unsettled
place right now and it's probably going to stay that way for a little while.
Alsumaria TV reports today, "A well informed political source said that the Sadrist
bloc tends to work from within the Iraqi National Alliance in order to prevent State of
Law Coalition Leader, Nouri Al Maliki and Head of National Coalition Adel Abdul
Mahdi from winning Premiership position and aim at bringing another candidate for this position. The same source added that Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq might withdraw from the Iraqi National Alliance and form a parliamentary opposition bloc if Maliki wins
for a second term. In an interview with Alsumaria News the source uttered that the
Sadrist Bloc aims at complicating choosing a candidate for Premiership by
nominating Adel Abdul Mahdi which leads to undermining the candidature of both
Maliki and Abdul Mahdi because there is a mutual rejection between the two parties." 
UPI adds, "Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, himself a candidate for prime
minister, said he was close to securing backing from a Shiite political alliance but
was blocked by former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari." And, if DPA is correct,
that alliance might have been Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc, "Former prime minister Iyad
Allawi's Sunni-backed bloc on Friday backed Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq's Shiite vice-president, to form a government, a blow to efforts by Shiite incumbent Premier Nuri
al-Maliki's to form a ruling coalition." UPI also reports that, "Aliya Nusseif, a key
figure in the secular Iraqiya slate, told the Voices of Iraq news agency that there
was an 'initial agreement' to give Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi the position
of prime minister and Iraqiya leader Iyad Allawi the position of president. A member
of a Kurdish alliance would get the position of the speaker of parliament." 
Jason Ditz ( adds, "Ayad Allawi, who led his secularist Iraqiya bloc
to the largest plurality in the election despite the notable handicap of having a
number of its members banned by the ruling party, is said to be tapped as the
next president replacing Jalal Talabani. The Kurdistan Alliance would get the
parliament chairmanship."
Turning to the US, Senator Daniel Akaka is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and his office notes:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced a bill to extend the age limit for coverage of veterans' dependents through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) to the level set by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 


"Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, families with private health insurance coverage can keep their children on their plans

until age 26.  Surely coverage for veterans' family members in need

should meet this new national standard," said Senator Akaka. 


CHAMPVA was established in 1973 to provide health care services to dependents and survivors of certain veterans.  CHAMPVA enrollment

has grown over the years, and now covers over 336,000 unique

beneficiaries.  Under the current law, dependent children lose eligibility

for CHAMPVA at 23-years-old if they are full-time students, or 18-years-

old if they are not. 


To read Senator Akaka's introductory remarks and the text of the bill (S. 3801) in the Congressional Record, click here: LINK

Yesterday's snapshot mentions Libbyliberal's post a Corrente but does't include a link. My apologies. And I noted the wisdom of her post here.
TV notes. On PBS' Washington Week, Jeanne Cummings (Politico), John Dickerson (CBS News, Slate) and John Harwood (New York Times, CNBC) join Gwen around the table while Dan Balz (Washington Post) files a report from Des Moines on the speech Sarah Palin makes to Iowa's GOP. Gwen now has a weekly column at Washington Week and the current one is "Who Exactly Are the Bums?" This week, Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Debra Carnahan, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Leslie Sanchez and Tara Setmayer on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And this week's To The Contrary online extra is on college tuition -- its cost and its worth is debated. Need To Know is PBS' new program covering current events. This week's hour long broadcast airs Fridays on most PBS stations -- but check local listings -- and it explores US combat in Afghanistan, the US role in institutionalizing Afghan corruption; abuse and mistreatment of US seniors at home-based senior centers, Jon Meacham discussing "superlativism" and more. Turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

To understand how Bernard Madoff could have done what he did, listen to so-called "mini-Madoff" Ponzi schemer Marc Dreier tell Steve Kroft in his first television interview how he scammed $400 million. | Watch Video

Jimmy Carter
Lesley Stahl speaks to the former president about his new book, "White House Diary," in which he admits mistakes and blames Ted Kennedy for delaying comprehensive health care. | Watch Video

Football Island
"60 Minutes" goes to American Samoa to find out how a territory with a population less than the capacity of a pro-football stadium sends more players to the NFL than any similarly populated place in America. Scott Pelley reports. | Watch Video

60 Minutes, Sunday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.