Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, October 3, 2006.  Violence and chaos continues in Iraq; war resister Darrell Anderson has turned himself in today at Fort Knox, the puppet of the occupation has a 'plan' which (US) domestics fluff and Andrew North (BBC) notes is greeted in Baghdad with "desperation"; Dahr Jamail writes of 'tribal' leaders with, apparently, summer homes in the Green Zone; and indpendent media continues to hone the method with which they covered Iraq all through the summer: War as an After Thought.  (Credit to Mike for that phrase.) Or possibly it's just a case of "going to where the sex is"?
In Iraq, the American fatality toll continues to rise. Opening papers today, one might have been greeted with Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher (New York Times) reporting that: "the military reported the deaths of 10 more American and British servicemen since Saturday. At least 13 troops have been killed in the past three days."  The count has continued to rise and you can drop "three past days" (and therefore Saturday).  Since Sunday, October 1st, thirteen US troops have died, and one British soldier, and it's only the third day of the month.  The total American military fatality count since the start of the illegal war is 2729.  To date, 19910 Americans have been wounded in the illegal war.
The month with the most known number of American wounded soldiers was April 2004 which had a total of 1213.  Among those wounded in April 2004 was war resister Darrell Anderson who has turned himself in today at Fort Knox after self-checking out of the military in January 2005 when Anderson drove with his parents to Canada, through a snowstorm. 
There, Anderson attempted to seek refugee status (which Canada has refused to grant any war resister thus far), worked odd jobs, met Gail Greer (who was working on a film about war resisters), dated her for a year, and then in February of 2006, Anderson and Greer married.  This should have increased his chances for Anderson to remain in Canada (Greer is a Canadian citizen).  A missed filing date by his attorney led to the refugee status claim going out the window. 
Anderson was already floating the possibility of returning to the United States early this summer.  Confirming this to Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader), Anita Anderson (Darrell Anderson's mother) stated that she hoped he would remaing in Canada "because he's probably going to get sponsorship in Canada now that he is married to a Canadian girl.  But he's constantly stressed out and worried, and he feels like he can't live out the rest of his life this way."
That feeling, the lack of medical help available to him as an immigrant (Anderson suffers from PST due to the roadside bombing), the lack of income (Anderson had no work-permit) and a desire to draw attention to the realities of the illegal war, led to Anderson deciding to return to the United States. Before turning himself in today, Anderson spoke with reporters.  Brett Barrouquere (AP) reports that Darell Anderson stated, "I feel that by resisting I made up for the things I did in Iraq.  I feel I made up for the sins committed in this war."
More information on war resisters can be found at  Courage to Resist and you can even find information on Suzanne Swift, who is not a war resister, but someone who suffered many tragic experiences while serving and should now be released from the military with an honorable discharge as a result of the abuse she suffered while serving.
Darrell Anderson is news.  For those who may wonder why something else isn't noted, I can't note what I don't hear.  So, despite listening to a radio station which airs Democracy Now! twice each morning, I can't note what Darrell Anderson said -- I didn't hear it because they didn't air it.  Apparently when the show needs to be boiled down to a little under forty minutes (due to fundraising), "going to where the silence is" means twice airing a lengthy segment on Mark Foley (whom no one is covering, apparently) and ditching Darrell Anderson (whom apparently is the saturation  topic of all the networks and cable).  
That's treating war, AGAIN, as an afterthought and the shame is on me for being foolish enough to think it might be different today.  To repeat, when you broadcast a 60 minute show twice in four hours, you can find a way to include Darrell Anderson if you think his actions are news.  Obviously some didn't feel it was. We may not have gone "where the silence is" but we did get to "go where the sex is" and to "go where big media is and has been since last week."  Well Monday was an infomercial for PBS so "fairness" must have dictated that Tuesday be an informercial for ABC.  Tomorrow?  Maybe the Pax Network.
In Iraq, the violence continues, whether it or anything Iraq related is covered or not.
CBS and AP report a bombing at "a fish market in Baghdad" left three dead and nineteen wounded. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that the bomber wore "a belt rigged with explosives in the outdoor market".  AFP reports that one person died and nine were wounded by a bomb which "exploded near a well-known Shiite mosque" and that mortar rounds killed one person in Baghdad and ten in Mussayib.
Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Rashad while AFP reports seven corpses were discovered in Baquba and three in Kirkuk.
Reuters reports fourteen people were shot dead in Baquba today (including "four members of the same family" who were in the midst of "moving to another house"); in Haditha one civilian was shot dead; in Mosul one civilian was shot dead; and in Ramadi: "Clashes between gunmen and U.S. forces killed a man and wounded three others, including a child".
Ramadi is the locale Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report on that so-called
 "tribal agreement" was never really that noting "Some Sunni leaders," not all, and the criticism they are under from residents in Ramdia such as Sheikh Sa-adoon ("chief of a large Sunni tribe"): "They are a group of thieves who are arming thieves, and this is something dangerous and nasty.  This only means we will have more disturbances here, and it could create a local civil war."  A lot is also made of the fact that the small "some" aren't in Al-Anbar, they're in the Green Zone.  So the much lauded "tribal agreement" was never composed of as many as the press said it was and now it turns out that the "tribal leaders" are living it up in the Green Zone.
Need more reality? 
Operation Happy Talkers are on the move and telling you that Nouri al-Maliki offers a 'four-point' peace plan.  You may have trouble reading of the 'four-point' plan because the third point isn't about "peace" or "democracy" so reports tend to ignore it. The first step has already been (rightly) dismissed by Andrew North (BBC) of the "local security committees": "In fact, most neighourhoods of Baghdad set up their own local security bodies some time ago to protect themselves -- because they do not trust the authorities to look after them."  AP reports that the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of the 'peace' plan (reality title: "continued carnage plan").  Step three?  Let's drop back to the September 7th snapshot:
Switching to the issue of broadcasting, were they showing episodes of Barney Miller or NYPD Blue? Who knows but police pulled the plug on the satellite network al-Arabiya in Baghdad. CNN was told by a company official (Najib Ben Cherif) that the offices "is being shut for a month." AP is iffy on who gave the order but notes that Nouri al-Malike started making warnings/threats to television stations back in July. CNN reports: "A news alert on Iraqi State TV said the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the office closed for a month."
Ah, yes, the puppet's war with the press.  The so-called peace plan is more of the same.  The third 'plank' is about the media. Which is why the "brave" US media repeatedly cites the first two and stays silent while a free media (something a democracy is dependent upon) walks the plank.
It's disgusting and shameful, the third 'plank.'  The whole 'plan' is a joke.  Reuters is one of the few to go beyond the first two 'steps' but even it does a really poor job and those over coverage of Iraq in the mainstream (producers to suits) are very concerned about this.  (So why don't they report it?)  The "plan" isn't a plan for peace, it's a plan for the puppet to attempt to save his own ass for a few more months. Lee Keath (AP) is only one of many ignoring the third step (possibly AP thinks readers are unable to count to four?) but does note that al-Maliki took office last May with a 24-point plan that, to this day, "has done little to stem the daily killings."  Nor will this so-called 'peace plan.'  The US military and the American "ambassador" have announced  that Nouri al-Maliki better show some results ('after all we've paid' going unspoken). 
So al-Maliki pulls a page from Paul Bremer's book and decides to go after the media.  For those who've forgotten, on March 28, 2004, al-Hawza was closed down as a result of running a cartoon of Bremer leading to the violence in Falluja in April 2004. 
It's not just that there's no new plan (by the Bully Boy or by the puppet), it's that they never learn from their mistakes.  (First mistake for the US administration was plotting an illegal invasion.)
But this failure goes across the board to War Hawks of all nations.  Terri Judd and Kim Sengupta (Independent of London) report: "A coroner has severely criticised British army officers, saying their failure to plan was partly to blame for the capture and execution of two of their men in the early days of the Iraq war.  Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36 and a father of two, and Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24, were murdered by Iraqi intelligence after being captured in an ambush when they strayed into dangerous territory. . . .  Instead of being told to skirt around the town of Az-Subayr, in southern Iraq, they were ordered to go through the outskirts.  When they took a wrong turn, it led them straight through the town where they were hit by a hail of bullets and a rocket-propelled grenade before being dragged from their vehicle." 
In peace news, Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is gearing up to go back out on the road in October. Remember Ehren Watada?  If not, Watada, as David Krieger (National Catholic Reporter) writes, "is taking a stand by refusing to follow such orders. He is exercising his rights as an American citizen, an officer of the U.S. Army and a human being with the capacity for thought and reflection. He is making it clear that he did not check his conscience at the door when he joined the military three years ago and is unwilling to be placed in a situation where he will have no choice but to commit war crimes." 
Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  After an Article 32 hearing in August, he awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings and his father Bob Watada is on his second series of speaking engagements.  Here are some of the events he will be speaking at starting with tonight's event:
Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email: answerla@answerla.org
Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus
Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063
Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email: la@worldcantwait.org
Fri. 10/6 7:00 am  Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email: incuip@pacbell.net
Fri 10/6 12:30  San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email pshig2000@yahoo.com.
Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email: ncrrla@yahoo.com.
Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502
A full schedule (PDF format) can be found here.
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