Thursday, October 20, 2005

Indymedia roundup focus on Iraq

This is our Indymedia Roundup that's focused on the occupation and we're opening with a plug that Eli asked for. It's Dahr Jamial that's promoting the DVD. I'll note here and I'll note in an entry on the Times tomorrow. From Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches:

Victims of combat operations in Iraq
ConceptionMedia presents:
A Joint Production of Iraqi & American Filmmakers
Proceeds go to ongoing relief efforts in Iraq
See the trailer and purchase the DVD:
Shot from November 2004 to April 2005 inside the city of Falluja, 'Caught in the Crossfire' details the conditions experienced by civilians as they endured the violent clashes and consequences of Operation Phantom Fury and became refugees outside the eyes andcare of the international community. A joint production between American and Iraqi filmmakers, 'Caught in the Crossfire' was filmed entirely un-embedded, outside the protection or influence of the military or corporate media, in order to capture the unique and honest perspective of the civilians themselves.
ON SALE NOW $24.95
Purchase the DVD:
Proceeds from the sale of this film go directly to aid the innocent civilians and refugees caught in the crossfire of combat areas inside Iraq.
The plight of the civilians is THE unreported story of the Iraq war. The refugees of Falluja risked their lives to bring this story to you.
Help spread their message around the world.

Please forward this on.
"If you want to know what happened inside Fallujah during the November, 2004 assault on the city, this film is a must see. I could not recommend this film more highly." -Dahr Jamail
You may also find a link to view trailer and purchase this film:

Now we'll start the roundup proper:

Military recruiters occupied San Diego State University for three days this week. They put on an extravagant display with hummers, war simulation games, a rock climbing wall, and even propelled off of buildings and parachuted out of aircrafts. All of this was an attempt to project an image of the military as a hub of adventure and excitement.
Our protest showed up to expose the reality of life in the military: war, discrimination, sexual harassment and unfulfilled promises of opportunity. 10 activists from the Campus Anti-war Network (CAN) and the International Socialist Organization surrounded the recruiters during one of their propelling stunts and demanded that the military leave our campus. Within minutes, campus security showed up and tried to shut down the protest through intimidation. We refused to leave and they became even more aggressive in their attempts to silence us. We told them that we know our rights and that it is against CSU policy to confine free speech on campus to a designated "free speech zone."
As the confrontation escalated, a group of bystanders grew. Several of them joined the protest against the recruiters and defended our free-speech. Even the dean and assistant dean of the university left their offices and came to our defense. Finally, after failing at all of their intimidation tactics, the campus police left in frustration.
We continued to protest the recruiters with no further interference. We made it clear that we are unwilling to relinquish our right to free speech and that we will continue to oppose any military presence on our campus. During the protest not a single person stopped to talk to a military recruiter. At the same time, CAN was able to connect with dozens more students that want to make the anti-war majority known at SDSU. Find out how you can get involved in this dynamic anti-war coalition by coming to our weekly meetings on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 at the Scripps Cottage Patio at SDSU.

The above, sent in by Cindy, is from Jocelyn Blake's "SDSU Activists Protest Military Recruiters" (San Diego Indymedia). We're focused on the invasion/occupation for this entry and a lot of counterrecruiting going on that members have spotlighted.

Bryan e-mails to note Bob Fitrakis' "Did Bush administration attack peace movement with military grade biological bacteria?" (The Free Press):

What do we make of the Saturday, October 1 Washington Post headline "Poison Found in Air During Anti-War Protest"? Washington D.C. Public Health Director Greg A. Pane posed the right question in the Post article, "Why that day? That's what is not explained." Pane pointed that it was "just this 24-hour period and none since." The Post noted that Pane found ". . . it was puzzling that the finding was from a day when the mall was packed with people." Puzzling? Indeed. Biohazard sensors detected tularemia bacteria at the mall on Saturday, September 24. Equally puzzling was an earlier Post report: "Weekend protesters hit travel snags." The article reported that Amtrak trains from New York City were turned back, cancelled or delayed from heading to the nation’s capitol for the biggest peace demonstration since the Vietnam War era. Also, Metro subway cars coming into the capitol were disrupted by repairs. Federal officials are still pondering the death of five people on U.S. soil and scores of others who were infected with U.S. military-grade anthrax in the fall of 2001. The wholly implausible "working hypothesis" put forward by Pane is that the bacteria found in rodents, rabbits and other small animals just happened to occur on the same day the trains failed to run on time and more than quarter of a million people assembled to directly challenge the Bush regime's illegal war in Iraq.

Lori e-mails to note Erin Gilday's "Rally, Queer Kiss-in Greet Military Recruiters at UCSC" (Santa Cruz IMC):

On October 18th, hundreds of students marched and rallied at UC Santa Cruz to protest the presence of military recruiters at the campus career fair.
A Queer Kiss-in was staged in front of recruiters' tables during the march and rally. From inside the fair, kissers were able to effectively block access to military recruiters without shutting down the entire career fair.
The military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" hiring practices are in violation of the UC system's non-discrimination policy. Protesters demanded that the UC adhere to its own policies by protecting all students from discrimination and securing UCSC as a hate-free zone.
Currently, the Solomon Amendment states that anyuniversity which denies military recruiters "equal access" to students will lose federal funding. The Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) is challengingthe constitutionality of the Solomon amendment in a Supreme Court case, FAIR v Rumsfeld, which will be heard in December. Protesters on Tuesday urged the University of California to become the thirty-ninth school in the country to join FAIR.

Micah e-mails to note A.K. Gupta's "Looking For A Winning Strategy" (The Indypendent via NYC Indymedia):

Following the gathering of an estimated 300,000 protesters in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 24, the movement to end the Iraq war has newfound momentum. Hany Khalil of United for Peace and Justice, the main antiwar coalition, says Sept. 24 "signifies a profound shift. Bush recognizes that public opinion is moving in our direction."

Recent polls indicate that Americans have turned against Bush's handling of Iraq, but elites in the media and across the political spectrum continue to support the occupation. The challenge for the antiwar movement is what strategy to use for turning the overwhelming dissatisfaction into a movement that can force the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
While the traditional peace movement is emphasizing numbers and pressuring Congress, others feel that only more radical tactics will succeed, such as the militancy exhibited by the global justice movement a few years ago. UFPJ, says Khalil, is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to that end: building alliances with organized labor and communities of color, along with liberal groups such as MoveOn and the National Organization for Women, lobbying and pressuring Congress to cut funding for the war, and trying to "exacerbate the recruiting crisis" by emphasizing counter-recruitment work.

Jonah e-mails to note Sarah Ferguson's "Cindy Sheehan Pledges Civil Disobedience Campaign" (The Village Voice):

Her plans for this trip to New York are fairly low key. Besides doing press interviews, she'll be guest hosting on Air America with Randi Rhodes on Friday at 6 p.m. and giving the keynote address at the Brooklyn Peace Fair this Saturday at 11 a.m.
But Sheehan vowed to turn up the heat by returning to the front gate of the White House as soon as the death toll of American soldiers hits 2,000 (as of Thursday, the Department of Defense reported 1,982, including the five killed Wednesday). "I'm going to deliver a speech and then I'm going to get arrested. And when I get out I'm going to go back and get arrested," Sheehan told the Voice.
Sheehan said she now believes lobbying and marching in the streets is no longer enough and that "nonviolent civil disobedience is the way we have to go" to end the war.
"Hundreds of thousands of people were in D.C. on September 24 and the leaders still are not leading us," Sheehan said of last month's
antiwar demo in Washington. "They're still spouting the Republican talking points even if they're Democrats. So what are we going to do? It's going to have to be massive non-violent civil disobedience I believe."
Sheehan said she and her fellow members of
Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, and Iraq Veterans Against the War plan to hit the road again for another speaking tour in November, caravanning from the West Coast to Crawford, Texas, where they will reprise their "Camp Casey" protest over Thanksgiving weekend and demand once again that the president meet with them to explain what noble cause their loved ones were dying for.
"We're going to invite George and Laura--and tell Laura to bring the turkey," the peace mom quipped.

Leslie e-mails to note Christopher Martin's "Virginia Anti-War Network protests Vice President's appearance at Richmond fundraiser" (Richmond IMC):

Demonstrators from the Virginia Anti-War Network held a vigil in suburban Richmond, Virginia October 17 to "protest the arrival of Vice President Dick Cheney and demonstrate our dissatisfaction with his key role in embroiling us in an illegal and immoral war in the Middle East," said VAWN organizer Garrie Rouse.
Recent articles in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have portrayed the vice president's office at the heart of an investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a CIA agent. Cheney came to Richmond Monday as the featured guest for a fund-raising dinner for Republican Jerry Kilgore's gubernatorial campaign. This event was invitation-only at $5000 a plate.
"As a key planner and promoter of the 'preemptive' war with Iraq, we need to remind Mr. Cheney that he is not free to travel this country with impunity, nor is he welcome in our home town," said Garrie Rouse."
We had the good fortune of learning of the location of the home of the hosts for this event. It was at a gated community (Rivergate) on the south side of Patterson Avenue (Route 6), just inside the Goochland County line," about one-half hour west of downtown Richmond. The Virginia Antiwar Network vigil took place near one of the entrances, guarded by State Police, to this gated community from 5-6 pm.
"This was not be the same kind of setting as some of the vigils we have had in downtown Richmond. This is a semi-rural area, without sidewalks or immediate places to park."
The group parked at a nearby shopping center and walked to an area across from the entrance. "This was a rare, local opportunity to make a statement of our opposition to this war to the highest administration leadership and its supporters."
The Virginia Anti-War Network is a recently-organized coalition of groups opposed to the war in Iraq. The group held a Cindy Sheehan Solidarity Day in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Richmond and sponsored the visit of the "Bring Them Home Now" Tour to Richmond.

Note, Wednesday Brian Conley of Alive in Baghdad (and Boston Indymedia) got the passport (click here for that story) and should be in Baghdad now so check out Alive in Baghdad for posts tomorrow and this weekend.

Heather asks if we can note two items from Democracy Now! that we already noted today and absolutely. One is on the marketing of Iraq, the other is on Afghanistan. Heather feels the Afghanistan one should be noted because it goes to how we will be seen in the Arab world and she says she listened to NPR and only heard a brief mention of the story (during Morning Edition) that made no reference to PsyOps' involvement.

1) Ex-Powell Aide: Cheney 'Cabal' Hijacked Foreign Policy
Colin Powell's former chief of staff publicly accused top-level officials in the Bush administration of hijacking the country's foreign policy in ways that have undermined American democracy. The official - Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson spoke Wednesday in Washington. Up until January he was chief of staff to then Secretary of State Powell. "What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense... that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made," Wilkerson said. Wilkerson went on to accuse President Bush and Rumsfeld of condoning the abuse of detainees overseas. The Financial Times described Wilkerson's comments as the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill early last year. Wilkerson admitted Wednesday his decision to publicly criticize the administration has led to a falling out with Colin Powell, who he worked with for 16 years.

2) Report: U.S. Soldiers Burnt Bodies of Captured Taliban Fighters
This news on Afghanistan - an Australian TV program has aired footage of U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters. The program also aired footage of a U.S. Army psy-ops unit caught on tape broadcasting news of the burning to local residents. The message read : "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be... You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are." On Wednesday the Pentagon announced it would investigate the incident.

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