Monday, May 01, 2006

Democracy Now!: James Green looks at May Day -- what happened, how it was reported

ROGER TOUSSAINT: The war in Iraq is linked to the war at home. At home, we just did some jail time, because they need to silence the fight back movement at home. We just did some jail time, because they are attacking pensions and health benefits and living standards at home, while they are waging a war abroad, spending a billion dollars a day abroad to conduct a war against the Iraqi people, while they're claiming that they don't have money for pensions, health benefits, living standards, education for American workers. A government that can't provide health benefits, pensions, education for its own has no business telling people around the world how they should live, has no business conducting an illegal war across the world, has no business at all. We need our troops home.
KeShawn asked that we open with the above (from "Up to 350,000 March in New York for Peace, Justice and Democracy" -- Democracy Now! today).
And that's actually a good way to open for many reasons but one is that the person I'm dictating this to just told me that the headlines aren't up yet.  We'll note some later today but if you were wondering about May Day, Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says) you got some answers today:
Headlines for May 1, 2006

- Millions Expected to Join "A Day Without Immigrants" Protest
- Three Years Ago: Bush Declared Missions Accomplished in Iraq
- Report: Cost Of Iraq War To Pass Cost of Vietnam
- 100,000 Iraqis Forced to Flee Homes Due to Violence
- Report: Bush Claims Authority To Disobey Over 750 Laws
- U.S. Gov't Seeks Dismissal of Domestic Spy Suit Against AT&T
- FBI Issued Over 9,000 Subpoenas to Monitor U.S. Citizens
- IAEA Report: Still No Proof Iran is Pursing Nukes
- Bolivia Signs Trade Pact w/ Cuba and Venezuela
- Rush Limbaugh Arrested on Prescription Drug Charges
Thousands of Protesters Demand End to Darfur Genocide in Largest Public U.S. Outcry Since Conflict Began

Tens of thousands of protesters from across the country rallied in Washington DC Sunday to demand an end to the genocide in Darfur. The rally was one of several that took place in at least 17 other cities, marking the largest public outcry in the US since the conflict erupted in Western Sudan three years ago. We hear speakers at the rally, including actor George Clooney and Rwanda genocide survivor Paul Rusesabagina. [includes rush transcript]
Up To 350,000 March in New York for Peace, Justice and Democracy

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the country marched through New York City on Saturday in what organizers billed as a March for Peace Justice and Democracy. We hear Cindy Sheehan and NYC Transport Workers Union leader Roger Toussaint address the crowd. [includes rush transcript]
A Day Without Immigrants: Millions Expected to Boycott Work, Not Consume to Protest Anti-Immigrant Bill

Millions of immigrant workers are expected to boycott work and school today in support of nationwide May Day protests against anti-immigrant legislation being considered in Washington. Dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants" protests are planned in over 70 cities. Immigrant rights groups are calling on immigrant workers to not show up for work and to not buy anything all day. [include rush transcript]
The Origins of May Day: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America

We look at the origins of May Day with James Green, a professor of history and labor studies at the University of Massachusetts and the author of "Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America."
I'm told there's no transcript yet for the last segment.  Besides information on May Day (in depth), pay attention to Green when he comments on the blood lust (my term) of the mainstream media at that time.  Check the transcript when it goes up later but I believe a remark was made (by Green) to the effect of, "The New York Times was more extreme, 'Somebody has to hang for this.'"  Listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today.
Iraq snapshot.
As May Day is celebrated even in Iraq (national holiday) but not, apparently, today, the Associated Press reports that at least 200 Shi'ites demonstrated on the edges of the heavily Green Zone area of Baghdad "to demand that U.S. and Iraqi forces do more to stop insurgents attacks."  This  as China's People's Daily Online notes the United Kingdom's stated intent to draw down their troops in Iraq "to 800 next month" (from 8,000 currently).  Meanwhile, FOCUS News Agency notes that Denmark's 539 troops may be reduced to 400 this month (May 18th).   AFP reminds that, it was three years today that Bully Boy stood in front of the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln to state: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.  In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." 
Far from Bully Boy's dress up and pretend, chaos and violence continues.  In Baghdad, Reuters reports that "[t]he wife and daughter of a former construction and houseing minister Omar al-Damluji were kidnapped" Sunday. Today, in Hawija, at least four were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near "an art college."  The Associated Press notes that, in Haqlaniyah, a US military base was fired on ("two mortar shells").  Reuters reports that at least "[e]ight members of the Interior Ministry commandos" were wounded from a roadside bomb that went off in Samarra. Tikrit was also an area where roadside bombs exploded (no wounded or dead reported). In Iskandariya, at least one civilian was killed and two injured in a car bombing that also took the life of the person in the car.
In Baghdad today, the Associated Press reports three corpses were discovered, "handcuffed and blindfolded" and that a Shi'ite store owner has died as a result of a drive-by shooting. At least two have been wounded in the three roadside bombs that have gone off today in Baghdad.
In the latest news on Australian solider Jake Kovco, who died in Baghdad on April 21st, despite Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson's assertion (which is a bit of a twist on his past claims last week) that Kovco died from an "accidental firing of the weapon he was handling," reports on the autopsy do not, thus far, support that assertion. Reporting for the Syndey Morning Herald, Les Kennedy, Tom Allard and Cynthia Banham note: "THE forensic examination of Jacob Kovco's body revealed no evidence of burn marks near the wound, indicating the weapon that killed him was not fired close to his head.  The finding appears to make it less likely that the young sniper -- Australia's first military fatality in Iraq -- committed suicide."    Kennedy, Allard and Banham note that the bullet is missing and that, as the outrage over the death of Kovco, Australian's Prime Minister John Howard has announced that he will be attending the funeral.  Jake Kovco is the first Australian soldier to die in Iraq.
Back in Iraq, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the US army is concerned with "Chicago gang graffiti" popping up throughout Iraq. And in the United States, as Bully Boy, who, again, exactly three years go declared "major combat operations," used the anniversary of that shameful moment to delcare his "confidence" in Iraqi leadership (or "leadership").  His new faith-based remarks come as CNN reports on their latest poll which found that 44% of Americans surveyed (4.5% +/- margin of error) "said the United States would never accomplish its goals in Iraq" and 40% of optimistic souls selected the "someday" option (someday goals will be accomplished).  Bully Boy's at 32% approval rating in the poll and 55% of Americans chose the option of "the United States made a mistake by invading Iraq." 
Our first highlight was noted by Rachel and it's an article written by David Enders.
Enders reported last week, on Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Evening News, on the continued violence targeting the schools in Iraq.  For today's Christian Science Monitor, Enders contributes "Families hunt for Iraq's 'lost': More than 34,000 Iraqis have been jailed, but officials often do not know where:"
At the small, crowded prisoner-tracking department of the Ministry of Human Rights (MOHR), tears often flow freely.
"He was arrested from his house on December 25," sobs Jameela Abdullah Hikmet, who was looking for her brother, Jameel Abdullah Hikmet.
With thousands of Iraqis kidnapped and arrested over the past three years, often in murky circumstances, the MOHR has become one more place Iraqis look for missing relatives. More than 34,000 Iraqis, according to MOHR figures, are held at one of the dozens of prisons across the country run by either the US military or the Iraqi Ministries of Interior, Defense, and Justice.
The system has become more organized in recent months, but prisoners are still "lost," says one Iraqi official.Ms. Hikmet says she visited morgues first, believing initially that her brother had been taken by men posing as government officials.
Hikmet says she then visited dozens of prisons before she was told by an official at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) that her brother was being held by the Wolf Brigade, one of the ministry's elite police units. She was then sent to the MOHR, which tracks prisoners in the US military and Iraqi detention systems centrally. She has been coming to the MOHR for two weeks, but they can still not confirm that it is the MOI that is holding her brother.
Even for prisoners who can be located, families often face confusing circumstances and long waits before legal proceedings take place. As the US military has tried to turn over more responsibilities to the Iraqi government since 2004, some prisoners have been transferred multiple times.
Iraq is the topic of many e-mails (some offer highlights, some ask where is the coverage in the mainstream media -- on the latter most are noting the lack of coverage of the protest in NYC Saturday).  Jill notes Brian Conley's "Qasem, and Media, Describe War Crimes in Ramadi" (Alive in Baghdad):
There has been little news coming out of Ramadi recently, most of it bad. I recently made acquaintance with an Iraqi, Qasem al-Dulaimi, who is in Ramadi with his family now.
As some of you may have read, Juan Cole quoted a recent article in Az-Zaman, regarding the resurgence of fighting in Ramadi. According to that article:
The US military forced an entire downtown city quarter to evacuate, so they could make it their HQ inside the city, apparently in preparation for moving against the guerrillas.
This morning Qasem sent me his account of the events in Ramadi over the past week, which you'll find below. He mentions a series of events which appear to be an account of this "evacuation" from the inside.
I am now with my family in Anbar [A province in western Iraq] I found my family ok....and most friends also....but the situation was very bad ....burned tank ( US tank ) was in front of my house and my house [was damaged] partially....there was hard fighting ....
At 22/April 2006 the US troops did clear crime in the other side of Ramadi ( Tameem ) ... US soldeirs inspect Iraqi family house and after they finished they killed 3 men inside it and one woman were dead when she shocked with this crime .... the resuilt was 4 civilians killed by US troops inside one house after inspection .... The people there told me that the US soldiers seems got mad for no reason and there was no fighting at that day....
Baghdad TV channel show the victems and the house and gave report about it....the clear thing was that US soldiers killed 3 men in a house of civilian family without any reason !!!!
I'll try to connect Qasem's letter similar accounts from the media on corresponding days.
Last highlight is Keesha's, Cindy Sheehan's "Mission Accomplished Day" (Common Dreams):
May 1st, 2006 will be the 3rd Anniversary of the end of "major combat" in Iraq. It was a glorious day when George Bush flew onto the deck of the Abraham Lincoln and was hailed by the rapturous throngs of toadie "news" persons such as Chris Matthews ("And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star," Hardball, May 1, 2003) and Bob Schieffer ("As far as I'm concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time. And if you're a political consultant, you can just see campaign commercial written all over the pictures of George Bush." Meet the Press, May 4, 2003). What a fast and clean war! G. Gordon Liddy was enthralled with the president's package ("all those women who say size doesn't count -- they're all liars." Hardball, May 7, 2003) and a new era free from terrorism was ushered in.
This is the faith based fable of what happened almost exactly three years ago. The reality based scenario goes something like this:
- Over 2400 American soldiers (including my son who was killed almost a year after Mission Accomplished Day) have come home in cardboard boxes in cargo areas of planes in the secrecy of the night.
- Thousands of our young people wounded, many grievously also bused into Walter Reed and other hospitals in the dark of the night.
- Tons of rubble upon rubble in Iraq with inconsistent electrical power still and not much clean water or chance of future power and clean water.
- Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are dead, being punished for the sins of a leader who was propped up, armed and supported by many US Regimes.
The Mission Accomplished Day (or, Operation Codpiece) public relations' dream for the presidential pelvic zone has turned into a frighteningly real nightmare for so many people around the world who have had sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and oftentimes entire families wiped out and devastated by the strutting and smirking terrorist who was feeling mighty "chipper" last night at the Washington Correspondent's annual dinner as the 2400 th soldier was being killed and as the 2400th Gold Star Mother was falling on the floor screaming for her child. There are hundreds of thousands of people on our planet who will have a hard time ever feeling chipper again because of George Bush, no matter how good he looks in a flight suit.
Last night, we noted Jake Kovco (who we've noted the latest on above) and Brenda wrote this morning that she's attempting to share his story but having trouble finding it.  There are links to coverage in the three entries we've noted him in previously but apparently Technorati's not read all the tags (no suprise there).  In reverse order,
last night, Thursday, and two Sundays ago. (Brenda also wanted Australian community members to know that she's following this story and "I thank them for highlighting it from the start.")
Remember Pacifica is broadcasting hourly updates on the immigration rights protests and rallies throughout today.
The e-mail address for this site is

Blab-away for as little as 1¢/min. Make PC-to-Phone Calls using Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.