Turning to the Iraqi Parliament. Baghdad's Kassakhoon noted Friday, "After 40 sessions of Parliament iraq lawmakers approved only 2 of 280 proposed measures." Meanwhile New Sabah reports that the chair of the Integrity Committee in the Iraqi Parliament announced that former ministers and officials have broken laws and is calling on heads of Ministries to utilize appointments correctly. The Committee was "shocked" by the corruption that has taken place and vows former officials and ministers will be brought to justice. Dar Addustour adds that today Parliament is supposed to, according the Integrity Committee vice chair Ahmed al-Jubouri, hold a workshop explaining how the commission did relatively little work in the last years due to the fact that a law was not passed giving them the needed powers.
If a law is passed this time, it will be a result of the demands of the Iraqi protesters who have loudly and repeatedly decried the corruption.
Al Rafidayn notes that Ayad Allawi -- who has taken himself out of the running for head of the (still hasn't emerged) National Council -- is seeking the nomination of Secretary General of the Arab League.
In the US, Philip J. Crowley was fired from the State Dept over the weekend (actually, he was asked for his resignation which he tendered). Why? Because he disagreed publicly with the treatment of Bradley Manning. 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. 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 has been at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key, for months. Earlier this month, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. David E. Coombs is Bradley's attorney and he provided a walk through on Article 104. Like many, Sophie Elmhirst (New Statesman) emphasized the possibility of the death penalty.
As a result of Crowley's remarks entering the Friday news cycle, Barack was finally asked a few serious questions (by one reporter). Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:
The inquiry by Jake Tapper of ABC News was the second and subordinate part of a question that began with the Japanese earthquake and its effect on Japanese nuclear power facilities. Tapper then continued as follows:
“And then, a second question--the State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley, said the treatment of Bradley Manning by the Pentagon is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid. And I’m wondering if you agree with that. Thank you, sir.”
Obama answered the question about Japan, then added:
“With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.”
This answer is a cowardly example of stonewalling, undoubtedly crafted in advance after consultation with the Pentagon brass. Obama does not actually say that Manning is being treated appropriately, only that unnamed military officials “assure me that they are.”
Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith speak to Lester Pines about the labor issues in Wisconsin, to Judith Berkan about abuses in Puerto Rico and to Stanley Aronowitz about this weekend's LeftForum.
March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries.
The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The U.S. is financing endless atrocities against the people of Palestine, relentlessly threatening Iran and bringing Korea to the brink of a new war.
While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the United States remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people.
Actions of civil resistance are spreading.
On Dec. 16, 2010, a veterans-led civil resistance at the White House played an important role in bringing the anti-war movement from protest to resistance. Enduring hours of heavy snow, 131 veterans and other anti-war activists lined the White House fence and were arrested. Some of those arrested will be going to trial, which will be scheduled soon in Washington, D.C.
Saturday, March 19, 2011, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, will be an international day of action against the war machine.
Protest and resistance actions will take place in cities and towns across the United States. Scores of organizations are coming together. Demonstrations are scheduled for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and more.
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