Saturday, April 22, 2006

NYT: CIA confirms secret prisons

With the European Union whitewashing the issue of secret prisons, don't expect to see the New York Times standing tall. Which is why they crouch in "C.I.A. Dismisses A Senior Officer Over Data Leaks" -- written by David Johnston and Scott Shane.

Mary O. McCarthy has been dismissed after an investigation by the CIA. In dismissing her, and Pat Roberts might want to crow a little less over the dismissal, the CIA (and others) are confirming the secret prisons. That's your headline, that's your article, if you're paying attention. "C.I.A. Dismisses Senior Officer For Leaking Info on Secret Prisons."

The firing and public statements (by Porter Goss, by Roberts and others) confirms the validity of the secret prisons program. (Across the Atlantic, certain members of the European Union reach for the smelling salts.) One day after the EU whitewash is reported in the paper, the spin cycle on the Maytag still spinning, 'damage control' ends up confirming what could have been the subject of debate.

Which might lead some to wonder about Goss' timing in firing McCarthy? Not in the paper of record though. (Not in print, I should say.) For those who 'live by the public record' and frequently die by it without ever examining the subtext (no, I'm not referring to community members), we'll walk through slowly. Anonymice at the CIA say that "the case involved in part information about secret C.I.A. detention centers that was given to The Washington Post." We're also told that the agency's "inquiry focused in part on identifying Ms. McCarthy's role in supplying information for a Nov. 2, 2005, article in The Post by Dana Priest, a national security reporter." That's the article (for which Priest just won an award) that "reported that the intelligence agency was sending terror suspects to clandestine detention centers in several countries, including sites in Eastern Europe."

Stay with us. This "leak prompted the C.I.A. to send a criminal referral to the Justice Department" however, "[l]awyers at the Justice Department were notifed of Ms. McCarthy's dismissal. . . [unnamed official or officials at the Justice Dept. say] that her termination could mean she would be spared criminal prosecution."

So those who only believe what's clearly stated to them in the public record (or only when it suits their own purposes) would do well to look at the context of the report and not just the text. (There's actually quite a bit more context, but we'll leave it at that.) Jess had told me that a few "visitors" had written to say, "You don't know that there was a whitewash!" in regards to yesterday post. And to dispute the claim that there was ever any motive by members of the EU to use the disclosures of the secret prisons as a club against certain would be members of the EU.

You're a little late to the party. Thanks to the highlights found by Dominick and other members, this community has been following the secret prisons issue for many months prior to Priest's article. (As well as to grasping that Democracy Now! and other programs are news resources -- and not just hugging the wall of the mainstream and humping pedistrian coverage.) With not attempt to take anything away from her article, anyone following the European coverage (as opposed to depending upon the three sisters and the hybrid in this country) was well aware of the prisons. But for those who don't believe anything until it's in the Washington Post, the Times or the other two (and then only sometimes), the story today isn't, as written, that McCarthy was fired. It has to do with why she was fired. And Shane and Johnston's article (as well as the headline writer) may tiptoe around the obvious but it's in the article.

Martha notes this from Dafna Linzer's "CIA Officer Is Fired for Media Leaks: The Post Was Among Outlets That Gained Classified Data" (Washington Post):

Priest, who also won the George Polk Award and a prize from the Overseas Press Club this week for her articles, declined to comment yesterday.
Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said people who provide citizens the information they need to hold their government accountable should not "come to harm for that."
"The reporting that Dana did was very important accountability reporting about how the CIA and the rest of the U.S. government have been conducting the war on terror," Downie said. "Whether or not the actions of the CIA or other agencies have interfered with anyone's civil liberties is important information for Americans to know and is an important part of our jobs."

Also in the New York Times, Mark Mazzetti offers "Former C.I.A. Official Says Intelligence Was Ignored." Yet another example of someone coming forward and yet we're still not supposed to say "Bully Boy Lied" when, in fact, he did. The intel (presented to the American people by the administration) was cooked. We were lied into war and the media helped get the lies out by not questioning them. For many people, the news of another person coming forward (Tyler Drumheller, in this case) will be greeted with be one more name to the list. But some people still refuse to accept that Iraq had no WMD (some of them even believe that they did and that American forces found them -- proving that you don't have to abuse drugs to suffer from distorted reality). The firing of McCarthy, far from sending a chilling warning to potential whistle blowers, may in fact lead to even more coming forward.

The people's right to know is what's at stake. Too much is done in the name of "national security" and too much is kept from a public that is supposed to give consent to the governing.
Drumheller can be seen on this Sunday's 60 Minutes and Brent noted this article (AFP) at Common Dreams for those who don't want to fool with the Times:

But the operative, Tyler Drumheller, said top White House officials simply brushed off the warning, saying they were "no longer interested" in intelligence and that the policy toward Iraq had been already set.

Already been set, while the people were being told it hadn't been. They wanted their illegal war and they got it. Now they need to be held accountable.

Brad recommends Cindy Sheehan's "Raging Grannies and Raging Americans" (Common Dreams):

This morning I attended the beginning of the trial for the NYC Raging Grannies who tried to enlist in the Army last October and were arrested for blocking the entrance to the recruitment center in Times Square. Their average age has to be somewhere in the high 60's with the oldest one being 90. Eighteen of them came to trial today and they proudly marched slowly (many with canes and walkers) up to the defendant benches to defend their and YOUR rights to peaceably gather to dissent from a government who has gone way out of control and to express their disgust with the Iraq war and to stand up and be counted and say: "You are not committing these crimes in our name!" We need to distance ourselves from leadership who are war criminals to not be accused of this ourselves.
Everyone in this country who has not tried to shut down a recruiting station or has not gone down to sit in at their Congress-coward's office to demand an end to the war or who have not attended a march, written hundreds of letters, come to Crawford; or otherwise stepped out of their comfort zones to repudiate the Bush regime and call for indictment of the same need to be abjectly ashamed of themselves.
If the darling Grannies, who should be able to be home baking brownies if they want to, or running marathons, or reading books, or painting portraits, or shopping, or doing whatever else makes them happy, put their bodies on the line for peace—so your child won't have to go off to a war based on lies to die and kill innocent people--why can't you?
Today, I, and my co-defendants in our arrest at the US Mission to the UN, delivered subpoenas to Peggy Kerry (Sister of John Kerry and NGO rep to the UN, who arranged our appointment for us), the US Mission to the UN, and the management company who owns the very public building that holds coffee shops and restaurants and their security. Our trial is next week on April 26 th and we want to know who refused to take our petition when we had an appointment and we want to know who gave the order to arrest us instead of taking our petition that was signed by tens of thousands of women from all over the world.

Mia notes Thomas P. Healy's "Out Now" (CounterPunch):

Anthony Arnove's new book, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal (The New Press, 2006) is tailored after Howard Zinn's 1967 brief against the Vietnam War. Arnove has worked closely with Zinn on Voices of a People's History of the United States and a collection of interviews, Terrorism and War. Zinn provides both a foreword and afterword to Arnove's book. Arnove spoke with Counterpunch from his home in Brooklyn.
TH: How do you envision generating the political momentum to accomplish immediate withdrawal?
AA: We know from history--recently from the history of the Vietnam War--that public opinion and political protests can change the nature of the debate around a war and change the calculus of power. Right now I think if we want to change the calculus of power the first thing we need to do is to see that we have to pressure the Democrats just as much as we have to pressure the Republicans. It's not as if the Democrats are on our side in this fight--they're not.
So it's a mistake for us to put our energy and resources into persuading the Democrats to somehow be some animal that they're not or hoping that the Democrats are somehow going to become a standard-bearer for our movement--they are not. They will respond only to the thing that the Republicans respond to: a mass groundswell of opposition. Protest. Disaffection that threatens their power to the point where they see we're losing in Iraq, we're losing at home, and each day that we stay in Iraq, things get worse for us. In order to maintain some control over the system, in order to maintain some credibility for future U.S. imperial projects, we need to pull out. And that's going to involve a greater degree of mobilization, protest and disruption of business as usual. I think it's also going to involve gaining some clarity about who the targets of our protests are and on the nature of the Democratic Party that, unfortunately, the antiwar movement has lacked.

We're supposed to be noting that book at The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow. What we can note right now is Trina's "Cookie Marshmallow Cups in the Kitchen" where she provides a new recipe and shares some thoughts on immigration; Cedric's "Hawaii and we're overrun with Fluff" where he addresses what topics take up a great deal of space (reality TV) and what topics are less discussed; and Kat's "Ben Harper, Carole King, Carly Simon and Guns and Butter" where she addresses music (Harper, Simon and King) as well as KPFA's Guns and Butter. Also, Wally's "THIS JUST IN! FREE SPEECH DIED TODAY!" went up late yesterday in case anyone missed it. Ruth goes up later today. We're moving away from first thing in the morning. I did delay this from posting -- and will change the time on the entry -- so that other members posting today could be mentioned. Originally, Ruth was covering one show. She'd do multiple entries a week. Now she's doing one entry and attempting to cover multiple shows. So we're going to try posting later and see if that takes some of the pressure off. (And it is pressure. That's why Isaiah tries to get his latest comic in by Friday when possible. The closer Sunday looms, the more he becomes convinced he can't visualize anything for The World Today Just Nuts.) (That's not: Ruth should have her entry done on Friday. She has a busy week, including watching her grandson, and the reason for posting on Saturday is to allow her time to rest and figure out what she wants to highlight. Expecting it so soon on Saturday puts too much pressure on her -- my opinion.)

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Encuestas: Apoyo a Bush y a la guerra de Irak disminuye a cifras historicas

Maria: Buenos dias. De parte de "Democracy Now!" diaz cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Encuestas: Apoyo a Bush y a la guerra de Irak disminuye a cifras históricas
Volvemos a Estados Unidos. Una nueva encuesta indica que el índice de aprobación del Presidente Bush disminuyó a una nueva cifra histórica. Según Fox News, tan solo el 33 por ciento de los estadounidenses dicen que aprueban la gestión del Presidente. Mientras tanto, una nueva encuesta de "Bloomberg"/"Los Angeles Times" descubrió que el 58 por ciento de los estadounidenses considera que la guerra en Irak es innecesaria.

Gasto mensual en ocupaciones de Irak y Afganistán cercano a los diez mil millones de dólares
En otras noticias, un nuevo informe del Servicio de Investigaciones del Congreso indica que Estados Unidos gasta alrededor de diez mil millones de dólares al mes en las ocupaciones de Irak y Afganistán, un aumento de casi ocho mil millones de dólares con respecto al año anterior.

Bush se niega a descartar ataques nucleares contra Irán
El martes en la Casa Blanca el Presidente Bush se negó a descartar el uso de armas nucleares, en el estancamiento de las negociaciones sobre el programa nuclear de Irán. Bush dijo: "Todas las opciones están sobre la mesa. Queremos solucionar este asunto por la vía diplomática y estamos trabajando duro para lograrlo. La mejor manera de lograrlo es unir esfuerzos con los países que reconocen el peligro de que Irán tenga armas nucleares. Por esa razón estamos trabajando estrechamente con países como Francia, Alemania y Gran Bretaña. Pretendo, por supuesto, hablar este jueves con Hu Jintao sobre las ambiciones iraníes de tener armas nucleares. Continuaremos trabajando diplomáticamente para solucionar este problema".

Físicos advierten a Bush que no utilice armas nucleares contra Irán
En otras noticias, un grupo de destacados físicos estadounidenses escribieron una carta abierta al Presidente Bush, exhortándolo a abstenerse de utilizar armas nucleares contra Irán. Entre los signatarios de la carta se encuentran cinco ganadores del premio Nóbel y un físico que fue galardonado con la Medalla Nacional de Ciencia. Según los físicos, la utilización de armas nucleares sería "sumamente irresponsable", y acarrearía "consecuencias desastrosas para la seguridad de Estados Unidos y del mundo".

Cuba conmemora 45 aniversario de la invasión de la Bahía de Cochinos
Cuba está conmemorando el aniversario número 45 de la invasión a la Bahía de Cochinos organizada por Estados Unidos. El 17 de abril de 1961, un grupo de más de 1.400 combatientes armados, entrenados y dirigidos por el gobierno de Kennedy, arribaron a las costas de Cuba en un intento por derrocar a su Presidente, Fidel Castro. A los pocos días, los combatientes fueron derrotados en lo que resultó ser una gran vergüenza para el gobierno de Kennedy y para la CIA.

1200 trabajadores indocumentados detenidos en histórica ofensiva contra inmigración
1200 trabajadores indocumentados de 26 estados diferentes fueron rodeados y detenidos a altas horas del miércoles, en lo que está siendo calificado como una de las mayores ofensivas contra la inmigración en la historia reciente de Estados Unidos. Las redadas se centraron en la empresa IFCO Systems North America, con sede en Houston. Siete gerentes y ex gerentes fueron acusados de conspirar para trasladar, encubrir y alentar a inmigrantes ilegales a que residan en Estados Unidos por motivos comerciales y económicos. Los gerentes podrían ser sentenciados con hasta diez años de prisión, así como también deberían pagar una multa de 250.000 dólares por cada trabajador indocumentado. Los arrestos surgen luego de las manifestaciones masivas para apoyar los derechos de los inmigrantes, que fueron realizadas durante el último mes.

Amnistía: Estados Unidos entre los cuatro países con mayor índice de ejecuciones
Mientras tanto, un nuevo informe de Amnistía Internacional indica que Estados Unidos es el país con mayor índice de ejecuciones estatales luego de China, Irán y Arabia Saudita. El 94 por ciento de aproximadamente 2100 ejecuciones en el mundo entero se consumaron en estos cuatro países. Según Amnistía, en China se llevaron a cabo al menos 1700 ejecuciones el año pasado, pero la cifra real podría estar en el entorno de las 8000.

Bebé recién nacida entre civiles afganos que resultaron heridos en tiroteo estadounidense
En Afganistán, la policía y los residentes locales dicen que soldados estadounidenses dispararon e hirieron a seis civiles afganos que viajaban en diferentes autos el martes. Entre las víctimas se encontraban una bebe recién nacida y un niño de cinco años de edad. La abuela de la bebe habló después del ataque: "Luego de que la bebé nació en el hospital nos dirigíamos a nuestra casa, y en el camino escuchamos disparos, y vi que nos estaban disparando. Todos los que viajábamos en el auto resultamos heridos. La bebe sufrió heridas en la cabeza. No sé qué fue lo que hicimos, ni por qué atacaron a personas inocentes".

Corte Suprema rechaza apelación de ciudadanos chinos detenidos en Guantánamo
La Corte Suprema rechazó una apelación de dos musulmanes de nacionalidad china que han estado detenidos por más de cuatro años en la prisión militar estadounidense de la Bahía de Guantánamo, a pesar de que el gobierno reconoce que fueron detenidos por error. Sus abogados dijeron que deberían ser liberados de inmediato, pero el gobierno de Bush rechazó la solicitud. Funcionarios dicen que no han logrado encontrar un país que acepte a los hombres tras su liberación. Ambos detenidos son uigures, y no desean regresar a China por temor a ser encarcelados y torturados.

Hospital de Asuntos de Veteranos de Nuevo México reconoce que enfermera fue acusada erróneamente
Actualizamos una noticia que hemos cubierto anteriormente. En Nuevo México, El Centro Médico de Asuntos de Veteranos de Albuquerque, reconoció públicamente haber acusado erróneamente de sedición a Laura Berg, una enfermera. En septiembre, Berg escribió una carta a un periódico local criticando el manejo que hacía el gobierno de Bush del Huracán Katrina y la guerra de Irak. Sus empleadores respondieron confiscando su computadora, y poco después se le informó que la estaban investigando. Hasta esta semana, el hospital se había disculpado en privado con Berg, pero se había resistido a reconocer públicamente que sus acusaciones eran falsas.

Maria: Good morning. Now in English, here are ten stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

Polls: Support For Bush, Iraq War At New Lows
Back in the United States, a new poll shows President Bush's approval rating is at a record low. According to Fox News, just 33% percent of Americans say they approve of the President's performance. Meanwhile, a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll has found that 58% Americans believe the war in Iraq was unnecessary.

Monthly Spending on Iraq, Afghan Occupations Nears $10B
In other news, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says the US is now spending close to $10 billion dollars a month on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- an increase of nearly $8 billion dollars from one year ago.

Bush Refuses To Rule Out Nuclear Strikes on Iran
At the White House Tuesday, President Bush refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program. "All options are on the table," Bush said. "We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so. The best way to do so is there for (sic) to be a united effort with countries who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And that's why we're working very closely with countries like France and Germany and Great Britain. I intend, of course, to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao this Thursday. We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."

Physicists Warn Bush On Using Nuclear Weapons Against Iran
In other news, a group of prominent US physicists has written an open letter to President Bush urging him to refrain from using nuclear weapons against Iran. The letter's signatories include five Nobel laureates and a recipient of the National Medal of Science. According to the physicists, the use of nuclear weapons would be: "gravely irresponsible" with "disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world."

Cuba Marks 45-Year Anniversary of Bay of Pigs Invasion
Cuba is in the midst of commemorating the 45th anniversary of the US-organized Bay of Pigs invasion. On April 17, 1961, a group of over 1,400 fighters armed, trained and directed by the Kennedy administration landed on Cuba’s shores in an attempt to overthrow Cuban President Fidel Castro. Within days the fighters were defeated in what proved to be a major emberassment for the Kennedy administration and the CIA. Jose Ramon, who fought for the Cuban government during the Bay of Pigs, said: "Every year we celebrate this, it is celebrated in all of the country, and it brings us great memories. I don't wish for this to happen again, not only here, but in no other place in the world."

1200 Undocumented Workers Detained In Record Immigration Sting
In what is being called one of the largest immigration crackdowns in recent US history, 1200 undocumented workers from 26 different states were rounded up and detained late Wednesday. The raids focused on the Houston-based company IFCO Systems North America. Seven current and former managers were charged with conspiracy to transport, harbor and encourage illegal immigrants to reside in the US for commercial and financial gain. The managers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each undocumented worker. The arrests come on the heels of the massive rallies in support of immigration rights that have taken place in the last month.

Amnesty: US Among Top Four State Executioners
Meanwhile, a new report from Amnesty International shows the US ranks only behind China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in carrying out state executions. 94 percent of an estimated 2100 executions worldwide took place in those four countries alone. In China, Amnesty says at least 1700 executions took place last year, but that the actual number could reach as high as 8,000.

Newborn Girl Among Afghan Civilians Injured in US Shooting
In Afghanistan, police and local residents say US troops shot and injured six Afghan civilians who were traveling in separate cars Tuesday. The victims included a newborn baby girl and a five-year old boy. The baby's grandmother spoke after the attack: "After the baby was born in hospital we were heading to our home, on our way home we heard gunfire, I saw we are being targeted. Everyone in the car was hurt. The baby received head injuries. I don't know what we did, why they attacked innocent people."

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Chinese Men At Guantanamo
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from two Chinese Muslims who are being held at the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay even though the government acknowledges they were mistakenly detained. The men have been held for more than four years. Lawyers for the men said they should be immediately released but the Bush administration has refused the request. Officials say they have been unable to find a country that will accept the men after their release. Both men are Uighurs and do not want to return to China out of fear that they would be imprisoned and tortured.

New Mexico VA Hospital Admits Nurse Wrongfully Accused
This update on a story we've been following: In New Mexico, Albuquerque's Veterans Affairs Medical Center has publicly admitted it wrongly accused one of its nurses of sedition. In September, the nurse, Laura Berg, wrote a letter to a local newspaper criticizing the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. Her employers responded by confiscating her computer. Shortly after she was informed she was being investigated. Up until this week, the hospital had given Berg a private apology, but had resisted calls to publicly admit that its allegations were false.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Democracy Now: Stephen Kinzer on regime change; Kim Gandy, Dahr Jamail, Tom Hayden

Native Protesters Re-Occupy Disputed Site After Police Raid
In Ontario, Canada, a major standoff at a native site intensified Thursday when police used taser guns and tear gas to disrupt a protest. Native protesters have occupied the site for the last seven weeks in an attempt to prevent construction of a housing development on what they say is their ancestral land. 16 people were arrested in the raid. Within hours, the site was re-occupied by a group of over 200 native protesters who had come to provide their support.
100,000 Defy Shoot-To-Kill Curfew in Nepal
In Nepal, 100,000 people poured into the streets Thursday in defiance of a government warnings they would be shot on sight for violating a curfew. The demonstrations marked the largest show of opposition to the rule of King Gyanendra since the outbreak of pro-democracy protests more than two weeks ago. More than 2,000 people staged a sit-in at the site of a police shooting that killed three people and injured dozens more.
New Mexico VA Hospital Admits Nurse Wrongfully Accused
This update on a story we've been following: In New Mexico, Albuquerque’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center has publicly admitted it wrongly accused one of its nurses of sedition. In September, the nurse, Laura Berg, wrote a letter to a local newspaper criticizing the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. Her employers responded by confiscating her computer. Shortly after she was informed she was being investigated. Up until this week, the hospital had given Berg a private apology, but had resisted calls to publicly admit that its allegations were false.
Monthly Spending on Iraq, Afghan Occupations Nears $10B
In other news, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says the US is now spending close to $10 billion dollars a month on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- an increase of nearly $8 billion dollars from one year ago.
The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Joan, Shirley, Ellis and KeShawnDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 21, 2006

- 1200 Undocumented Workers Detained In Record Immigration Sting
- 100,000 Defy Shoot-To-Kill Curfew in Nepal
- Hu Jintao Heckled by Falun Gong Protester At White House
- UN Warns Darfur Efforts At Risk
- Native Protesters Re-Occupy Disputed Site After Police Raid
- Polls: Support For Bush, Iraq War At New Lows
- Monthly Spending on Iraq, Afghan Occupations Nears $10B
- In Closing Testimony, FBI Analysts Doubt Moussaoui Claims
- New Mexico VA Hospital Admits Nurse Wrongfully Accused
- Rev. William Sloane Coffin Remembered At Funeral Service
Immigration Crackdown: 1,200 Undocumented Workers Detained Across U.S.

In what is being called one of the largest immigration crackdowns in recent U.S. history, 1200 undocumented workers from 26 different states were rounded up and detained late Wednesday. We take a look at the unprecedented immigration raids and the ongoing struggle for immigrant rights.
Democracy Now! Interviews New Orleans Mayoral Candidates Mitch Landrieu and Ray Nagin

On Saturday, New Orleans will hold a primary for what is being considered the city's most important mayoral race ever. Voting rights activists fear tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees living out of state will be unable to vote. We speak with Mayor Ray Nagin and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. [includes rush transcript]
Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Author Stephen Kinzer discusses his new book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq." In it, he writes that the invasion of Iraq "was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew fourteen governments that displeased them for various ideological, political, and economic reasons." [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Now, something we see today, for example, in Iraq, is the critical role, not only of the U.S. government perhaps protecting U.S. corporations, but the role of the media in all of this. Going back to Cuba, what was the role of the media?
STEPHEN KINZER: The press played a really shameful role in the run-up to the Spanish-American War. The Americans had never been particularly fond of the Spanish rule in Cuba, but it wasn't until the press, actually in a circulation war, decided to seize on the brutality, as they called it, of Spanish colonial rule in the summer of 1898 that Americans really went crazy.
Now, there's one very interesting aspect of the Cuban press campaign that I think we see repeated periodically throughout American history, and that is, we never like to attack simply a regime. We like to have one individual. Americans love to have a demon, a certain person who is the symbol of all the evil and tyranny in the regime that we want to attack. We've had this with Khomeini, with Castro, with Qaddafi, various other figures over history.
Now, in the case of the Spanish-American War, we first thought we'd like to demonize the king of Spain, but there was no king of Spain. There was a queen, who was actually an Austrian princess, so she wouldn't work. The regent, her son, was actually just a 12-year-old kid, so he wouldn't work, either. So then, we decided to focus on the Spanish general, who was the commander of Spanish troops in Cuba, General Weyler, and for a time, Weyler was thought of as the epitome of all the carnal brutality that we attributed to Spanish colonialism.
Reuters reports that Cambodia has turned down requests to send troops to Iraq.This as the BBC notes Tory MP Michael Ancram's call for withdrawal from Iraq by all British troops.  Ancram's statements break with his party's official position. Though
Jawad al-Maliki is the new nominee for prime minister in Iraq, some aren't waiting for parlimentary process to make deals that will effect Iraq for decades.
 Reuters is reporting that Shamhi Faraj, director general of marketing and economics in the oil ministry, has announced that the Iraqi parliment doesn't need to pass the investment law, oil contracts can start now.  That is important to the US administration, they're getting antsy that they won't be able to install a new figurehead soon enough.  The investment "law" doesn't need to become "law" says Faraj.  Do the Iraqis want it?  No.  This is more US policy stamped "Iraqi" and passed off as a sign of "democracy."  In a true democracy, other countries don't design the potential laws and the proposal does not go into effect before it's been passed into law.  As Exxon and Chevron (and others) sniff around, it's worth noting that this is one more aspect of the (illegal) occupation that causes tension and strife.  It's not unrelated.  More traditionally recognized violence continued in Iraq today.
Iraqi police officers continue to be killed.  AFP notes the death of seven including five killed near Tikrit. Irish Examiner reports that four police officers died in Mosul (roadside bomb) and that, in Baghdad, at least nine Iraqi police officers were wounded in road side bombings.  While in Baquba, a police officer walking to his house was gunned down.
Corpses were discovered by police, six in Baghdad, one in Mahmudiya. Al Bawaba reports that two bodies with signs of torture were discovered between Qaem and Rutba. One body that was identified earlier this week, reports CBC News, was Sadeq Aldifai. A Montreal tailor, Aldifai left Iraq in 1991.  He was returning for his first visit since 1991 and had hopes of seeing his two eldest daughters.  In Beiji, the Associated Press reports that six Iraqi soldiers were killed following a kidnapping by unidentified people. Finally, in Al Diwaniya, Deutsche Presse-Agentur addresses a rocket attack aimed at a US Army base: "The extent of the damage inflicted on the US base and information regarding casualties was not yet know."
Highlights?  Iraq is a main topic.  Kevin notes Kim Gandy's "Beware the Uber-Patriots" (Below the Belt, NOW):
Tax season may be over (phew!) but from the looks of it, the number crunching is only beginning.
With midterm elections a little over six months away, the pundits and pollsters are having a ball analyzing, postulating, hypothesizing and guessing what we voters are thinking.
According to a March 27 Democracy Corps poll, voters are tired of George W. Bush. Two-thirds of us think the country should go in a "significantly different direction" than the one the Bush administration has mapped out. But, the report said, a winning strategy will require Democrats to "think outside the box."
In other words, the Democrats are in a position to win in November if (and that's a big if) they can prove to voters they have something to offer. Good luck with that.
Last time I checked, the Democrats' strategy involved ignoring their base (especially women) and focusing on winning the votes of male veterans, NASCAR dads, Alabama guys with gun racks in their pickup trucks, and the "ban abortion" crowd. The uber-patriotic rhetoric, combined with support for the war, confirmation of right-wing judges, and distancing themselves from women's reproductive rights, is starting to make a lot of democrats look like "Republican-lite"--same bad aftertaste, one-third fewer votes.
Repeat after me: It's not a winning strategy. Ignoring your base will not bring success at the polls. Ignoring the deeply held convictions of the majority of democratic voters won't either.
The Democrats want to convince us they have ideas that will turn this country in a new direction. I'm all for it. End this disastrous war, don't start a new one, restore public programs that were cruelly cut by this administration, raise the minimum wage, and secure the homeland in a responsible way--not by cracking down on hardworking immigrants. And restore our right to privacy--on our telephones and in our bedrooms. Just for starters.
Too bad Gandy's not writing the Dem platform.  Public's turned on the war.  It's not a roller coaster ride.  The only ones who can't face that are in DC (and they're on both sides of the aisle).  Which is why each new "They're against it too?" story is followed by the feeling of, "Not that it matters with our Congress."  Brad notes  Tom Hayden's "Generals Deepen Bush's Watergate, But Will War End?" (The Huffington Post):
Leading US generals are deepening President Bush's "Watergate Moment," reinforcing problems for military recruiters and anti-war feeling among American troops on the ground, thus weakening important pillars of the policy itself.
Similar pressures enveloped President Johnson in 1968 when a group of "wise men" criticized the Vietnam War, and President Nixon when he crossed the line into illegal spying in 1973.
By 1968-69, sentiment among American soldiers had become rebellious.
Noting "a perfect example of nonstated," Lewis notes Dahr Jamail walking us through what gets reported and what doesn't -- from his "The Ongoing War on Truth in Iraq" (Truthout via Iraq Dispatches):
On Monday, April 17, my sources in Baghdad reported fierce fighting in the al-Adhamiya neighborhood of the capital city, as well as fighting in the al-Dora neighborhood. One source, who lives in the predominantly Sunni area of Adhamiya, had been telling me the situation was disintegrating for days leading up to this. There had been clashes every day for four days leading up to yesterday's huge clash there, with sporadic fighting between Sunni resistance fighters and members of the two largest Shia militias. The armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Badr Organization, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army have been launching ongoing attacks against fighters in the neighborhood. There is a shorter version of this description.
Civil war.
Yet we don't hear it described as such in the corporate media, nor from the Cheney administration. Their propaganda insists that Iraq is not yet in a civil war.
But in Adhamiya, every night now for several weeks roads have been closed with tires, trunks of date palm trees and other objects to prevent "kidnappers and Shia death squads" from entering the area, according to one source, whom I'm keeping anonymous for security reasons.
His description of the fierce fighting in his neighborhood is quite different from the reporting of it in mainstream outlets.
"Sunday night at 12:30 a.m. clashes started just like on the four previous nights, but it was very heavy and from different directions. It was different from the other nights in quantity and quality; it was truly like the hell which I haven't seen even in the battles of the war between Iraq and Iran during the eighties," wrote my source. He added that mortars and rocket-propelled grenades were used, and so much ammunition that the sky was "glowing red." The situation went on until Monday morning. He said, "I usually have my cup of coffee in my small backyard to drink it in a good atmosphere, but the minute I opened the door someone from the interior ministry commandos shouted at me, telling me to get inside or he'd shoot me. Of course I stayed inside and the shooting continued in a very heavy way until 12:30 p.m., when the American forces came to start helping the militia's attack on al-Adhamiya after they were watching the scene from their helicopters."
He went on to state very clearly that "these were members of the Badr militia and Sadr's Mehdi Army who were raiding the neighborhood."
And following up on the EU whitewash, Dominick notes "Ed Horgan Tells European Parliament Committee That Ireland is a 'Rogue Neutral State'" (Ireland Indymedia):
Ed Horgan: I went to the European Parliament in Brussels to tell the Parliament what I knew of Ireland's involvement in the unlawful rendition for torture process at Shannon airport. I insisted on linking the extraordinary rendition process with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the combined serial abuses of international law that these wars and the torture process involved. To a large extent I was telling the EU parliamentary special committee what they did not want to hear -- "don’t mention the wars" -- I told them anyway in the brief summary of my submission that the 15 minute time slot allowed me. My main submission was thirty-seven pages long, with 45 separate attachments and it became clear very quickly that very few had even read the executive summary of my submission, and some of those who did, read it only with the intention of trying to discredit it, and discredit me. The Irish Times report on Friday captured the tone of the parliamentarians response -- "the witness failed to present the facts".
My response is that the parliamentarians failed to read the facts I put before them. Sean O'Neachtain, FF MEP, standing in for Eoin Ryan MEP, was put forward to attack my submission, but failed to address any of the facts in my submission, including my statement that the Irish Government’s reply to the Council of Europe on Rendition for Torture was fraudulent and misquoted Article 40.4.1. of the Irish Constitution thereby giving the impression that foreign prisoners being taken through Shannon are specifically protected by the letter or wording of the Irish Constitution. Simon Coveney incorrectly accused me of calling Ireland a "rogue state". My statement was that Ireland was “a rogue neutral state” and I explained this issue in detail.
Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan got a similar response from some MEPs and was accused of “disloyalty” by one UK MEP because he blew the whistle on the Government of which he had been an ambassador.
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Other Items

But Mr. de Vries came under criticism from some legislators who called the hearing a whitewash. Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of Parliament from the Green Party, said that even without definitive proof, "the circumstantial evidence is stunning."
"I'm appalled that we keep calling to uphold human rights while pretending that these rendition centers don't exist and doing nothing about it," she said.
Many European nations were outraged after an article in The Washington Post in November cited unidentified intelligence officials as saying that the C.I.A. had maintained detention centers for terrorism suspects in eight countries, including some in Eastern Europe. A later report by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch cited Poland and Romania as two of the countries.

The above is from Dan Bilefsky's "No Proof of Secret C.I.A. Prisons, European Antiterror Chief Says" in this morning's New York Times. It is a whitewash. The EU was perfectly happy to talk about the events as long as they could use them as a club to clobber those wanting entry into the EU. But as details continued to emerge, especially with regards to Tony Blair, and as Eurpeans began voicing their outrage (see coverage of "Condi takes a nose dive in Europe and rushes to Iraq to change the news cycle" in the maisntream -- and note that it worked as reporters were led by their noses and thought they were being 'daring' with silly little rumors and 'tude about what went on in flight), suddenly we heard statements that it wouldn't happen, couldn't happen. But it did and it continues and a whitewash investigation doesn't change that.

Highlights. Shawn notes John Nichols' "No to Prowar Democrats" (The Nation):

When Los Angeles teacher Marcy Winograd saw her Democratic representative in Congress making excuses for George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program on NBC's Meet the Press in February, she decided that someone had to challenge Jane Harman's acquiescence in Bush's reckless agenda. So Winograd, a veteran activist who had been instrumental in getting the California Democratic Party to take a firm stand against the war in Iraq, leapt into the June 6 primary. She quickly found that others shared her frustration with Harman; Winograd's been endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, the Western Region of the United Auto Workers union and a half-dozen presidents of local Democratic clubs. Recently her supporters blocked an early Harman endorsement by the state party after Winograd told a caucus: "When elected, I will have the courage to cut funding for the war in Iraq, to say no when the imperial George Bush wants to wiretap your home without a warrant and to immediately sign on to legislation for universal single-payer national healthcare."
Winograd is one of a growing number of challengers to Democratic House and Senate incumbents accused of being too supportive of the war in particular, and of the Bush Administration in general. Not since the early 1970s, when anti-Vietnam War insurgents like Ron Dellums in California, Father Robert Drinan in Massachusetts and Elizabeth Holtzman in New York defeated entrenched Democrats in primaries, has there been such ferment over foreign policy within the ranks of the party.
Ironically, a Democrat who helped form the antiwar caucus that in 1970 wrested the US Senate nomination in Connecticut away from a conservative incumbent, Thomas Dodd, was a young lawyer named Joe Lieberman. This year Lieberman, seeking re-election to Dodd's old seat, faces a serious primary challenge from telecommunications executive Ned Lamont, who entered the race after Lieberman emerged as the highest-profile Democratic defender of Bush's "stay the course" line on Iraq. Arguing that Connecticut needs "a Democratic senator," Lamont has attracted more than 7,000 campaign donations (many collected through the Internet, where liberal bloggers are promoting his candidacy) and hundreds of volunteers for a drive to collect 15,000 signatures to secure him a place on the August 8 primary ballot.

Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Position Available: Head Liar" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Here's the job description for Scott McClellan's vacated post.
Job Description:
Must be able to lie with a straight face on a daily basis.
Must be able to lie with indignation. (See Ari Fleischer.)
Must be able to answer a question by not answering a question. (See Scott McClellan.)

Need more humor? Wally will be doing The Daily Jot today (and hopefully everyone already saw yesterday's "THIS JUST IN! ALBERTO GONZALES IN THE MIDST OF MADONNA UP!") but for any who missed it, Betty has a new chapter up: "When friends are awarded, Thomas Friedman goes fugue." Cedric and I did not write it. We were on the phone with Betty listening as she attempted to condense several planned chapters into one. The plan last week was that she would post three chapters in a row. Only one made it up because, as Mike noted, everyone wanted her to have a break while she was in California. "When friends are awarded, Thomas Friedman goes fugue" is a great chapter and I'd feel that way even if I didn't know the process Betty put herself through to get that written and up last night. So please check it out. (Cedric plans to post tonight. I was working on the "And the war drags on" post last night while I listened and seriously considered dropping it or saving it until today because I was wiped up just listening to Betty go through her process.) The round-robin goes out today and a few members are guessing what's coming up. Betty answers some questions (not all). If you're reading carefully, you've probably sensed something. Check out the gina & krista round-robin (but warning, Betty is very tight lipped). (I do know the outline Betty works from. I picked up on her clues, but I'm not sure I would've if I didn't know the outline.) (ADDED: As soon as I posted, I remembered Kat was on the phone with Betty before I took part in the call. Since there are problems with Blogger and I have to republish, I'm adding that in here. )

Danny Schechter's News Dissector is the topic of a number of e-mails. He's traveling and covering many topics (it also went up later due to the time zone he's in).

One news item he notes is:

On Thursday, intruders broke into Al-Jazeera's Knightsbridge offices and pinched several items of highly sensitive computer equipment.
The haul included a dozen laptops and several hard drives. They belong to the English-language al-Jazeera International, which launches this summer employing Sir David Frost and Rageh Omar, right.
According to insiders, the nature of the burglary, which occurred when staff were celebrating the Easter bank holiday at a nearby restaurant, caused police investigators to suspect foul play.

The thing it reminds me of, actually two things, are the spying on European members of the UN (by the US government) in the lead up to the war on Iraq and the break in at the Brecht Forum.
Ruth covered that in her report two Saturdays ago, so you can read that and, if you have the ability to listen to audio online, you can also check out the April 3rd Law and Disorder broadcast that Ruth was summarizing.

Second most popular item Danny addresses (popular in the e-mails this morning):

Total Access Live is offering videos from the "Bring 'Em Back Home" concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom featuring Moby, Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan, Steve Earle, Fisherspooner, Bright Eyes and Chuck D. Videos can be watched by going to the main video page for the concert found at

Billie notes "A Tomdispatch Interview with Katrina vanden Heuvel" (

You enter the nondescript grey building off a small street just east of Union Square, ride an oh-so-slow elevator up to the 8th floor, and pass into the offices of the Nation magazine, which just turned 141 years old. It is housed in a vast space. Imagine something between an enormous loft and an old press room with a warren of open, half-walled cubicles clustered at its heart and filled with toiling interns, fact-checkers, and assisters of various sorts. Around the rim of the room, the editors have their offices.
Behind a modest expanse of glass, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor, publisher, and part-owner of the magazine, is at her desk, her phone headset on, deep in conversation. In our speeded-up media world in which reporters are constantly sent onto TV as pundits just to get a little attention for increasingly desperate newspapers, vanden Heuvel -- remarkably composed in any talk-show setting -- has become the branded face of her magazine.
On her desk is a half-full in-box, but only, as it happens, because the rest of the desk is bursting with papers, stacks of them, one of which half-obscures her as she talks. Turning, she spots me at the door. Clad in a black jacket and dark slacks, she rises with a welcoming smile. She's smaller than you might imagine from the television screen and, refreshingly, lacks any evident sense of self-importance.
Her office is neat as a pin, clean as a whistle -- unless you check out the surfaces which are chaos itself: the desk, a riot of paper; the bookshelves, stuffed not only with books but with nesting dolls of every sort, including a Mikhail Gorbachev one, a box of "revolutionary finger puppets," and lots of framed photos. Every inch of the small coffee table near which she seats us is stacked with books, except where a Santa nesting doll ("I did an interview with a Russian journalist and he gave me this") resides near a Talking Clinton doll (with two buttons on its base, one labeled "funny," the other "inspiration").

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) Democracy Now! today:

Democracy Now! broadcasts live from Chicago: Author Stephen Kinzer joins us to discuss his new book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq"

The e-mail address for this site is

NYT: A columnist can tell it's news -- why can't the reporting section?

It's news. That's what Clyde Haberman tell us via "What Did You Do In The War, Grandma" in this morning's New York Times. It's news that the Granny Peace Brigade got busted in October. He paints a visual of grandmothers in the court room yesterday, photos hanging from their necks of grandchildren and great grandchildren, but his news judgement is about the arrest, about the women being hauled off in a paddy wagon:

Grandmothers being hauled away in a police wagon is what we in the news business call a story.

I'm not disagreeing with his call. He's correct, it was a news story. Where was the Times? The arrest was in October. If it was big news (and it was news, we agree on that), why didn't the Times have a story on it when the arrest happened? It took place in Time Square, so where was the Times?

It was a one pargraph brief . . . on March 3, 2006. That was the arraignment. Eighteen women, ranging in age from fifty to in their nineties. Arrested on October 17, 2005. The brief appears, what, over sixteen weeks after the arrest? (Do the math, I'm too tired this morning to even try.)

So Haberman and I can both agree it was news then. I'd assume we'd agree it was news today (I could be wrong). Haberman's a local columnist for the paper. Why is the he the only one covering it? He appears to cover it the way anyone at the Times would: phone calls -- as Ava and I enjoy commenting in our TV pieces at The Third Estate Sunday Review whenever we can remember too, after working the phones to call people we know, "what the Times would call reporting."

If that was the 'method,' that might explain why the name Amy Miller isn't in the article. Who is Amy Miller? The Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case in court. I'm trying real hard to be fair here and would prefer not to cover the columnist at all. We try to stay away from the columns here. But when that's the only news of a story that is news (Haberman admits it and anyone with any grasp of news would as well), that's all we're left with.

Haberman gets a column out of it. It's good that it's in the paper. It's too bad it's not reported as news. I've avoided commenting on Haberman's tone and point of view since it is a column. But this was news. The arrest was news. The court appearance yesterday was news. (CNN carries an AP report here.) The arrest took place in Time Square, the trial's taking place in their own backyard -- as opposed to all the way across the country the way a trial that resulted in in five articles each week (frequently front paged) did -- the Michael Jackson trial. Yesterday, I said we could grade the paper by how they covered it and noted that it was news (it is) and that it could also be a feature story. It's neither today. It's a column, a local column that most will never see. (In the country, yes, but I'm referring to readers of the paper -- print and online.) Haberman's column is appreciated but it doesn't make up for the fact that the paper's failed.

Presumably, Haberman made his own decision to turn it into a column because he (rightly) realized the topic was good for a column. It's too bad the reporting section (as well as the features section) couldn't grasp that it was actually news. The paper fails.

The facts? The women turned down a plea proposal that would have dismissed the charges if they weren't arrested again in six months. They want to make their case in court (as they should). It'll be interesting to see how they can make their case if the paper of record continues to ignore the case. Yesterday, KPFA's Evening News covered it and went to it right after news of Iraq (including David Enders' report). They grasped (like Haberman) that it was news.

Walk on, walk

Iraq snapshots. From Kirk Semple and Richard A. Oppel Jr's "Shiite Drops Bid to Keep Post as Premier:"

On Thursday, gunmen in camouflage in six pickup trucks stormed two bookstores in Baghdad and kidnapped six people, according to an official in the Interior Ministry. Seven bodies were also found around the capital, the official said.
American and Iraqi security forces continued to come under attack on Thursday. An improvised bomb exploded near a police convoy in the Yarmouk neighborhood in Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding four policemen, the Interior Ministry official said. An American military convoy in Baghdad was hit by a homemade bomb, wounding two soldiers and seriously damaging a tank, the official said.
In Kirkuk, a convoy belonging to an electricity company traveling between Kirkuk and Tikrit was ambushed by insurgents firing machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, killing five people, all foreigners, and wounding three others, a police official in Kirkuk said.
In Basra, a car bomb killed two civilians and wounded five others, including three traffic officers and a border guard, the police said.

Though it's left unstated, Iraqis continued to come under attack on Thursday. Including from security security forces. Martha notes this snapshot, from Nelson Hernandez, Bassam Sebti and K.I. Ibrahim's "Iraq Leader Cedes His Nomination As Premier" (Washington Post):

While the talks drag on, Sunnis and Shiites have continued killing one another on the streets. At least 11 Iraqis died Thursday in shootings and bombings across the country, according to police officials and news reports.

Rod notes the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

Democracy Now! broadcasts live from Chicago: Author Stephen Kinzer joins us to discuss his new book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq"

The e-mail address for this site is

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Village Voice Fires Music Editor Chuck Eddy" (Democracy Now!)

Micah noted an item from Democracy Now!'s Headlines today and since it's an issue that matters to him, I asked him how he'd like to present it.  He wondered if it was okay to post the item and pair it with something else?  No problem.  First the item.
Village Voice Fires Music Editor Chuck Eddy
And finally, the Village Voice has lost another member of its staff with the firing of music editor Chuck Eddy. The Voice has now lost 17 employees since it was purchased by New Times Media in November.
Now the pairing.  I'm not a "font" person.  So to recreate the look of what Micah wanted highlighted, we need to do it by e-mail.  Sunday, at The Third Estate Sunday Review, we took a look at the possible road ahead for the Village VoiceMicah wanted to pair that with the latest news since "the only thing I thought they'd leave alone was the music coverage and now even that's not true."

No Voice for the Village

If you missed the news, Micah's called The Village Voice's time of death. What?? If you asked that question you obviously missed Democracy Now!'s "Village Voice Shakeup: Top Investigative Journalist Fired, Prize-Winning Writers Resign Following Merger with New Times Media." So now The Voice is part of a syndicate that brings about as many good things to life as G.E. What can you expect in the new and watered down Voice? A lot of the crap that the syndicate's other "alternative" weeklies offer. Here's our take on what we're sure we'll be the future of the weekly. Some of spoofs are based on the past publication history of New Times Media. One is based on a current story, one that required 'investigative' journalism and lots of leg work so you just know it has to be about an important topic, one affecting us all, right? Wrong. Add generic, grainy photo to the proposed cover items below.

New 'Tude Media presents . . .



Them Wacky Black Folks Always Got Their Hands Out!
An African-American claims a corporation owes him big bling-bling!
We side with the corporation and kick him to the
curb by recounting every messy episode
we can dig up from his dead mother's life!
Investigative journalism at its finest!
by Skip and Muffy Mayflower

Second period! Pavol Demitra scored on a breakaway!
Los Angeles grabs 2-1 victory! In your face, Calgary!
In your face!
by Chris Generic

Topher was on the honor roll at his all White school,
Whites Only, in a quiet suburb. He had it all.
He had a girlfriend (with a wealthy family, like his own).
He drove a BMW. He was captain of his football team.
She was a cheerleader. Then he discovered
a deadly cocktail: 'roids and meth. As his
girlfriend vows to wait for him, Topher enters
an upscale rehab. We take a hard hitting look
at what this may mean for Whites Only's
varsity football team this fall. Warning: This heart
tearing story will have you quaking in
your Pradas.
by Tiffany Buckley

Pink's I'm Not Dead is a masterpiece! We give
all the credit to Billy Mann!
Chris Generic
Also: Chris tells you what's in Hip-Hop for
White people!

The only thing missing from Friends With Money
is Meg Ryan to make this the total chick-flick disaster
of the year. Somebody tells the girls,
"Take it off or shut up!" That's what I'm
talking about.

Consumer reporter Betsy Faulkner delves into
the issue of 2000 Flushes and you won't believe
what her probe of the toilet tank unearths!
1999 flushes, not the promised 2000!
The e-mail address for this site is

Talk is cheap. Use Yahoo! Messenger to make PC-to-Phone calls. Great rates starting at 1¢/min.

And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)

For many of the more activist IVAW vets, their political evolution did not follow the simple trajectory one might expect, from idealism at enlistment to postcombat disillusionment. In fact, many of them shipped off to war despite serious political misgivings. "I went to Iraq opposing the war," says Garrett Reppenhagen, the former sniper with the irreverent potty-mouthed patch on his hat. Reppenhagen served a year with the Army's First Infantry Division in and around the very violent city of Baquba. "I was reading Zinn's People's History and John Perkins's Economic Hit Man before I went."
What's that? Someone went off to be killed or maimed or possibly to kill "hajjis" despite being an antiwar leftist? And Reppenhagen is not alone. A recent Zogby poll found that 29 percent of soldiers in Iraq favored immediate withdrawal, which some see as a sign of an imminent crisis in military discipline. But the poll could be read in exactly the opposite fashion. If the Army and Marines can keep the disgruntled soldiers fighting and fighting, even 70 percent of troops could favor immediate withdrawal and it would mean nothing.
The question for peace activists thus becomes: How is it that antiwar soldiers continue to fight? And what does it really take for an antiwar soldier to resist? The answers lie largely in the sociology of "unit cohesion" and the ways the military uses solidarity among soldiers as a form of social control. Similarly, the peace activism of IVAW requires the spread of an oppositional form of loyalty and camaraderie.
Since 1973, when Congress ended the draft, the armed forces have been restructured using unit cohesion as a form of deep discipline. In other words, social control in today's military operates through a system that could be straight from a text by French philosopher Michel Foucault: Soldiers are managed not with coercion but with freedom. Because they join of their own free will, they find it almost impossible to rebel. Volunteering implicates them, effectively stripping them of the victim status that conscription allowed. Soldiers who would resist are guilt-tripped and emotionally blackmailed into serving causes they hate. During my time embedded in Iraq, I met several antiwar soldiers, but none of them considered abandoning their comrades. They said things like "you signed that paper" or "they got that contract"--as if contracts are never broken or annulled.

The above, noted by Karen, is from Christian Parenti's "When GI Joe Says No" (The Nation). This is an indepth article and we may note it again on Sunday. Before Sunday comes Saturday and where will you be? If you're in Saratoga, you can see Jimmy Massey:

THE DISCUSSION WILL FOCUS ON how modern war affects members of the armed services, veterans, their families and civilians.
To be held SATURDAY APRIL 22, 2006
FROM 9:30 AM TO 11:30 P.M.
MR. Massey, a 12 year marine veteran, was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and given an honorable medical discharge after participating in the invasion of Baghdad during April and May of 2003. An ardent defender of the constitution, Jimmy became disillusioned with the occupation when he witnessed the killing of innocent civilians.
"One minute you’re passing out candy to a little kid, 10 minutes later you’re opening fire on a vehicle with women and children", said Mr. Massey.
Unable to reconcile this with his ideals for America, he went to superior officers with his concerns and was sent stateside. As part of his healing process he has been speaking about his experience in Iraq to individuals and groups across the U.S.
Dr. Edward Tick, a psychotherapist practicing in Albany, NY for over 30 years, specializes in work with survivors of severe trauma and violence, particularly combat war veterans. He is a nationally recognized expert on the psychological, spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of war. An ordained interfaith minister, Dr. Tick has also served as consultant to numerous community, church, and veterans organizations on the treatment of veterans and the training of staff for such work. He has authored a number of books, his most recent being "War and the Soul", published by Quest books.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jim Fulmer at 518-583-7501, or Elliott Adams at 284-2048

Massey, members may remember, was attacked by ulitmate embed Ronnie Harris on Democracy Now! "You're wrong, your story doesn't check out," (even though Ronnie doesn't read French and critiqued a book available only in French) cried the reporter who cried chemical weapons in Iraq. So Tom asks that we get the word out. If you're in the area, check it out. If you are in the area or aren't, get the word out.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

The war drags on. It's indymedia roundup and I'm dragging, sorry. Last Thursday, the number of US American fatalities stood at 2369. Right now? 2378. What will it take to end the (illegal) war? More speaking out. More getting the word out. More action. And more holding war hawks accountable.

War hawks like the one Sarah notes, "Senator Feinstein Joins Call For Rumsfeld To Resign" (The Santa Barbara Independent).

Feinstein, a moderate Democrat, is often mentioned by name when antiwar progressives talk about the failure of Democrats to distinguish themselves from Republicans. Feinstein said that long ago she decided to "govern from the center," choosing the best from both progressive and conservative agendas. On Tuesday, though, she seemed to play up her leftward leanings, warming up the crowd by citing her more recent environmental accomplishments, including a recent expansion of Gaviota State Park, through the acquisition of coastal and river habitats in Ventura County. She pledged to resist attempts to open the ocean floor to more oil drilling.

Environment? Concerned for the enviornment? And what does she think depelted uranium does to the environment? Or has she removed herself so far from the suffering in Iraq that she assumes it's on another planet? She'll keep distancing herself from the war (one she advocated for then and still is consumed with the war lust) until she realizes that even the Mighty Feinstein
is answerable to the voters. When she realizes that her "win" is far from guaranteed, she might have to start recognizing the opinion in her own state. She needs to grasp that the protestors staking out her various offices aren't a fringe mood, it's the mood of the state. Between the war and her hideous performance at the confirmation hearings (especially Alito), her re-election isn't the sure thing she's hoping for. If voters can get that message across, she may have to start being responsive to their cries for ending the war. But maybe she has a higher calling?

From Joshua Frank's "The Mansion the War Bought" (CounterPunch):

Senator Feinstein, who sits on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, is reaping the benefits of her husband's investments. The Democratic royal family recently purchased a 16.5 million dollar mansion in the flush Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. It's a disgusting display of war profiteering and the leading Democrat, just like Cheney, should be called out for her offense.

But there's money to be made in Iraq, if they can get the people "pacified." Which would be scared and it's the whole "carrot and stick" approach that the administration has pushed. The administration hopes the current chaos (that they created) makes the people run for a strong man and forget about everything but "security." The steps are in place. All they need is for the Iraqi legislative body to ratify the contracts that will allow corporations free rein. In the meantime, the money agencies get a little itchy. Amanda notes Basav Sen and Hope Chu's "Operation Corporate Freedom: The IMF and World Bank in Iraq"
(Left Turn):

Not content with the extent to which Iraq's economy has already been restructured on neoliberal lines by the U.S., the IMF and World Bank have more designs for the Iraqi economy, and are using debt cancellation as leverage to compel Iraq to comply with their conditions. In addition, they have begun normalizing their relations with Iraq, thereby strengthening their hand in the country. The IMF made its first-ever loan to Iraq in September 2004. In July 2005, the World Bank made its first loan to Iraq since 1973. This was followed by a $100 million World Bank loan for the education sector last November, and an IMF Standby Arrangement in December. The cancellation of Iraq's debt under the Paris Club plan, referred to earlier, is conditioned on Iraq entering into this Standby Arrangement, and implementing it to the satisfaction of the IMF.
Timing the IMF deal immediately after the elections is a move that appears designed to prevent Iraqis from having a say in the deal. If the deal had been signed before the elections, it would have been an election issue. "The timing of the decision spared politicians from voters' wrath," the Washington Post pointed out in a December 28 story.
The recent increase in domestic fuel prices was a requirement of the Standby Arrangement with the IMF, under which prices of petroleum products are to rise to the levels of corresponding products in other countries of the region by 2007. The price increases required by the IMF are staggering: the initial increases implemented in December on the eve of signing the Standby Arrangement were 400% for regular gasoline and kerosene (from 20 dinars to 100 dinars per liter, and from 5 dinars to 25 dinars per liter, respectively), and 800% for diesel (from 10 dinars to 90 dinars per liter), with further quarterly increases planned through September 2006. The IMF makes clear its intentions of keeping tabs on the price increases: "Progress in adjusting petroleum product prices will be assessed in the context of the programs' (quarterly) reviews," according to the language of the Standby Arrangement.
Fuel is an input to the retail price of most goods, since they need to be transported. Inevitably, the prices of most goods, including food, have risen sharply as a consequence of the increase in fuel prices.

How did so many fall for the Bully Boy's lies that led us into an illegal war? End Zone notes
Peter Eichenberger's "Our addiction to TV is killing us" (Raleigh-Durham Independent)

For example, Dumbya, greased by the fawning lapdogs of the media (you too, newspapers), had utter success flummoxing millions of Moo Cow Muricans into Iraq using the non-investigated murder hole of 9/11, later shucking any responsibility for negligence and/or manslaughter over Katrina. After the next prepositioned 9/11 goes down, Iran'll be a breeze to sell. Watch it happen. Mooo.
Remember how the Nazis used Massachusetts-born rocket inventor Robert Goddard's patents to rain death and terror on European civilians? In the mad scramble after the war, the U.S. intel community's Operation Paperclip brought Nazi war criminals/mass murderers to form the basis of the U.S. Apollo project. Similarly, the antidemocratic theories of Viennese-born Bernays were perfected by Joseph Goebbels and his Nazi mind-control freaks, and later adapted by the United States OSS/CIA to manufacture consent for illegal and immoral acts by way of outright seizure and control of the media.
Ve didn't loos, ve choost moofed.
So, my little television advocates, you are uninformed, willing subjects of mind-rape. Let the magic waves silence all those troubles, my children. Now, give us the money. Suckers.

The song the community picked for inclusion this week is Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier" which, I'm guessing, Belinda didn't vote for (hold on for the reason):

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years
He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

Why do I think Belinda didn't vote for it? She e-mailed to ask what the song used on Democracy Now! today ("it was a woman and something about a solider, I was driving and forgot the information as soon as I parked") was? There's the answer, Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier." Recorded by Donovan and by Sainte-Marie. Written by Sainte-Marie. Belinda liked the song and was hoping to get it this weekend. You're best bet, on a store walk-in, is a best of. If you're ordering it online, you can get it on The Best of the Vanguard Years, The Best of Buffy Sainte-Marie and (debut album) It's My Way. The albums can be ordered here (Vanguard) or you can use the link just for information on her life and career.

By the way, that's not knocking Belinda. Members have introduced me to many wonderful songs. And Democracy Now! uses some great music.

Terrence writes, "More music!" (Kat did a review yesterday of Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun -- in case anyone missed that.) He notes Hannah Levin's "Pink vs. Karen O: What the Little Girls Understand" (Seattle Stranger) which has praise for one of his favorite artists (Pink):

Her full-frontal attack on George W. comes from a similar political standpoint as Green Day's antiwar opus American Idiot, but with a deceptively demure, acoustic backdrop that throws lines such as "What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?/And what kind of father would hate his own daughter if she were gay?" into stronger relief.
Moments like that abound, including the admonishment of a possessive lover, and a hilarious swipe at the pointless bravado of "pimp culture." However, the most arresting track is the first single, "Stupid Girls," an incisive, take-no-prisoners critique of female gender roles, beauty standards, and consumer culture. Lyrically, Pink alternates between cheeky laments ("Whatever happened to the dream of a girl president?/She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent") and blatant barbs aimed at vapid girls who dumb themselves down to appeal to men ("Maybe if I act like that/That guy will call me back").
The video takes those assertions to literal levels, with Pink adopting the narcissistic, materialistic personas of Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, and other Hollywood pop tarts, satirizing what she sees as a plague of stupidity ("The disease is epidemic/I'm scared that there ain't a cure"), and urging other girls not to assimilate ("Outcasts and girls with ambition/That's what I wanna see!"). Marxist theory it ain't, but for an artist with such a huge audience of impressionable females, giving them imagery and inspiration of this caliber is both a potent endorsement of feminist values and an admirable creative jump for a huge pop star.

Liang found a speech she wanted to note a portion of and we'll close with it because it's something to think about (especially when, as Elaine noted, even some on the left want you to hop on the Force Wagon whose destination will probably be illegal occupation). From Grace Lee Boggs' "A Country that never was -- and yet must be" (The Boggs Center):

And, especially since 9/11, how are we to achieve reconciliation with the two-thirds of the world that increasingly resents our economic, military and cultural domination? Can we accept their anger as a challenge rather than a threat? Out of our new vulnerability can we recognize that our safety now depends on our loving and caring for the peoples of the world as we love and care for our own families? Or can we conceive of security only in terms of the Patriot Act and exercising our formidable military power?
When the chickens come home to roost for our invasion of Iraq, as they are already doing, where will we get the courage and the imagination to win by losing? What will help us recognize that we have brought on our defeat by our own arrogance, our own irresponsibility and our own unwillingness, as individuals and as a nation, to engage in seeking radical solutions to the growing inequality between the nations of the North and those of the South? Can we create a new paradigm of our selfhood and our nationhood? Or are we so locked into nationalism, racism and determinism that we will be driven to seek scapegoats for our frustrations and failures -- as the Germans did after World War I, thus aiding and abetting the onset of Hitler and the Holocaust?
We live at a very dangerous time because these questions are no longer abstractions. Our lives, the lives of our children and future generations, and even the survival of the planet depend on our willingness to transform ourselves into active planetary and global citizens who, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, "develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual society."
The time is already very late and we have a long wayto go to meet these challenges.

The e-mail address for this site is By the way, Micah's item hasn't been forgotten. It will be it's own entry after this goes up.