Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mass fatalities from Armili bombing

Armili is a town noth of Baghdad in Iraq. It is located in the Salaheddin province which has seen it's share of violence. In August of last year, the city of Tirkrit was the site of a bombing resulting in mass fatalities (a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers, 23 were killed, 20 more were wounded). Tikrit is regularly targeted and the Salaheddin province, this year, may be most noteable for being the site where bombs claimed the lives of four people and left 8 more wounded as Senator Crazy John McCain was talking up the 'success' in Iraq during his heavily guarded stroll through the Green Zone of Baghdad. Today's attack is being reported as the first for Amerli. Yahya Barzanji (AP) reports that a truck bombing has killed more than 100 Iraqis there. Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

Around 8.30 a.m. a truck bomb was parked near a local market at Amerli town, about 35 km south of Tuz Khurmatu, killing 115 people and injuring more than 240. The huge truck bomb leveled more than 35 houses killing many of these families in their houses. The devastated city didn't witness similar violence before and this is the first attack of its kind in the town.

Dean Yates (Reuters) reports that the death and wounded tolls are expected to rise and also reports that it was a parked truck and not a "suicide bomber." AP goes with the latter and also rushes early on for their official US statement from the US military. Yates notes:

The bombing in the largely Shi'ite town was a blow to a U.S.-backed security crackdown in Iraq, and underscored the ability of militants to stage large-scale attacks despite the arrival of nearly 30,000 additional U.S. troops.

Yates also quotes Jasim Ali on his search for his wife after the explosion, "I ran to the market and saw burned cars along with dead and wounded people everywhere. I screamed until I found my wife. She was wounded in the head and hand."

In some of the other violence today, Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 19 corpses discovered in Baghdad, six police officers wounded in a Kirkuk bombing, an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Al Dholouair, "An Iraqi police checkpoint shot at a speeding car approaching their checkpoint in Balad today. A pregnant woman was injured," an Al Khuudaira roadside bombing claimed 1 life, "Tikrit general hospital received 3 inured citizens from Samarra today. The hospital said the injuries due to shooting by Interior Ministry commandos shooting in the city" and a car bombing in Iraq claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left 16 more wounded.

In other Iraq news, the US backed oil law that would ensure the theft of Iraqi oil (foreign companies would receive as much as 70% of the profits) is still billed as a 'benchmark,' however, Reuters reports Usama al-Nujeyfi has resigned from the energy committee in the Iraqi Parliament over the law declaring to "a small news conference that the proposal would cede too much control to global companies and 'ruin the country's future'."

Two visitors e-mail regarding Paul Hackett. One says, "You always praised him like to see that now!" The other e-mails he's forwarding the news "So you can beat up on Lt. Hackett again."
The visitors are partially right and partially wrong.

I never praised Hackett. Party hacks did. That was the great Party Hack strategy: "We'll run for office by hiding behind the US military!" Resulted in many lousy candidates. Also demonstrated that instead of working on ideas, the Democratic Party was still trying to push cult of personality. That's how a pro-war libertarian ends up running as a Democrat, which is what Hackett was.

Hackett was never praised here. He minimized Falluja all along. He would not call for an end to the illegal war when he began his first campaign and was all about a 'smarter war' proving he's far from the brightest in any room.

He wasn't a main focus of this site. He wasn't supported by this community. We didn't follow his campaign. I believe you'll find his name in relation to appearances on Democracy Now! and there he would have been called out by me (Rebecca also called him out on her site). When Hackett stepped out of his second campaign (for Senator), he got the most space here. I stated if he felt what he said, he shouldn't be dropping out (and he shouldn't have). I noted I wouldn't vote for him but there are many people I wouldn't vote for, they all have a right to run. But we didn't support him here. We didn't hail him as a "rock star" and you can take that crap up with various Party Hacks who did. Hackett isn't a Democrat and the Congress has enough problems without putting a libertarian in there to pose as a Democrat.

Party Hacks created him (including the Hacks at Air America Radio who really lapped at his crotch). We didn't promote him here. We also didn't note his violent outburst which was also criminal after he left the race. He's come out in defense of someone accused of taking part in one of the many slaughters of Falluja.

Hackett's declared, "Weemer is an American hero. Every American should be on their hands and knees thanking their god there are men in the American military like Ryan Weemer doing the heavy lifting their country requires." Which is why the little bully boy should have never run on the Democratic ticket. He was a whiney ass, libertarian. This is only one of many idiotic statements he's made. Every American doesn't not have a "god" nor are they required too, asshole. Every American doesn't need to drop to their hands and knees. That may be Hackett's position of choice but in a democracy, people are encouraged to stand, not crouch.

The same ones lapping Hackett's crotch were echoed by Hackett doing the same to the military.
He's an idiot and he never should have entered public life. By the time some kids joy riding accidently hit his fence with their car and he was grabbing his guns and chasing them down the road, stopping them and pointing a gun at them, it was obvious he needed more help than was generally known and he should have been disbarred over the incident.

This is the most I've ever stated on him. I don't care for him and I never did. I did defend his right to re-enter the race after he dropped out. I support anyone's right to run because we do need more voices, not less. Hackett's mistake was in not challenging Schmitt as a Republican, he could have beat her. Why he, and others, attempted to portray him as a Democrat (in the Congressional race -- lost -- and in the Senate primary race he dropped out of) is an issue to take up with Party Hacks. They ran a lot of War Hawk losers and did so because they were starved on vision and wanted the quick-fix of hiding behind the military. That's not bravery.

He was a creation primarily of Air America Radio (others as well) and, for those who have forgotten, with very few exceptions, AAR hit the airwaves promoting the illegal war. Their hosts supported it and, like Hackett, just wanted a "smarter" illegal war. A lot is made (rightly) of the John Kerry campaign's refusal to call out the illegal war. AAR wasn't technically a part of the Kerry campaign (and began broadcasting before Kerry had the nomination). Rachel Maddow, to name one on air still, played the "smarter" card repeatedly and hid behind the military obsessively with that dumb ass "Ask a Vet" which, although a weekly segment, could never find a vet who was opposed to the war. It wasn't about informing you, it was about attempting to recruit you. (Laura Flanders and Janeane Garofalo called out the illegal war consistently -- not all hosts, though they'd like to pretend otherwise today, can make that claim.)

The only support I've ever given Hackett was the right to run, the same support I would give to anyone. Party Hacks wouldn't offer that, they're all about the easiest race possible. They're all about lying to voters and playing as if they're 'independent' voices when they take their talking points from others. When the orders came to drop the man they'd built up, they quickly fell in line. True independence wouldn't have resulted in billing a self-described libertarian as 'progressive.' And, for the record, I believe Hackett was a major, not "Lt." But I don't worship at the crotch of the military machine so e-mail AAR or The Nation and see what they can tell you. More than likely, they'll all play dumb and act like they don't even know his name. Today.
They built him up and then dumped him. No doubt that was a "Bitter Sweet Victory." In fact, I believe I hear them singing right now, don't you?

You know I can't change, I can't change, I can't change,
but I'm here in my mold, I am here in my mold.
And I'm a million different people from one day to the next.
I can't change my mold,

A truly "Bitter Sweet Victory" for Party Hacks and, no, they probably can't change. Fortunately, they still have little Mommy's Pantyhose and his war cheerleading. And of course they play left while embracing a publicly exposed pedophile.

In the real world, where Iraq 'coverage' does not mean you ignore war resisters, you can find CounterPunch and Brad steers us to Paul Rockwell's "An Army of None:"

Legislators do not end wars. People do. That's the theme of a practical new book on counter-recruitment and people power -- Army Of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War and Build a Better World. "The anti-war movement needs a new strategy to stop the war and end the occupation," write Aimee Allison and David Solnit.
I first met the writer-activists at a vibrant rally in Oakland, California. After songs and raps, 300 Black and Latino students shut down the Armed Forces Career Center. Graffiti over the front door read: "A better world is possible." I remember one of the raps: "Ain't no power like the power of the people, 'cause the power of the people can't stop -- say what?" As one speaker put it: "We don't need to rely on intermediaries to make change. We ourselves are agents of peace and democracy."
Allison and Solnit helped organized the rally. Allison is a popular Green Party activist in Oakland. Solnit was a key organizer of "the battle of Seattle" in 1999. Their hopes, their new concepts of strategy, and their experiences in the counter-recruitment movement are explained in this timely book published by Seven Stories Press, 2007. Army Of None is a direct challenge to the militarization of American youth. It's not a treatise on non-violence or strategy. It's a toolkit, a practical how-to manual, for the emerging politics of non-cooperation and direct action. It is addressed to students, newcomers in the movement, practitioners of change, ordinary people who are prepared to end militarism through their own direct efforts.
The Jeff Paterson and David Hanks photos -- a Latino march for immigration rights and peace; recruitment centers plastered with anti-war graffiti; war resisters denouncing the military lies of state; Lt. Ehren Watada delivering his historic address to Veterans for Peace; the feisty Harlem Grandmothers Against the War -- all convey the humor, the joy, spontaneity, the defiance and sense of empowerment of an emerging force for change.

Eddie wasn't the first to note Margaret Kimberley this week. He was, however, the most recent. He e-mailed "in case you forget" (thank you, Eddie) this excerpt from Kimberley's
"The United States of Israel" (Black Agenda Report):

Americans celebrate their nation's independence on the Fourth of July. On that day in 1776 a group of propertied, nearly all slave holding, white men declared that Britain's American colonies no longer existed as such. America was an independent nation and would fight to retain that status. How ironic that in July 2007, America is anything but independent from foreign influence.
The Israeli government tells the American government and by extension, the American people, what they will do and when they will do it. Israel's influence was always immense, but the Bush administration's desire for endless empire makes that nation a perfect partner in crime. Israel's allies determine how that country is portrayed in the media, what elected officials can say and do about Israel, and even determine whether elected officials will stay in office.
The Israeli example of successfully lobbying against the interests of the American people is not unique in politics. The pharmaceutical industry, the NRA and many other lobbies are among the deep pocketed interest groups that get their way regardless of the effect on the public good.

Israel's influence is so great that it gets Congress to act when no action is required. Charging genocide in the absence of any violence is an amazing feat, but not when a nation that holds unprecedented levels of power wants to say that a lie is the truth.
In 2005, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be "eliminated from the pages of time." That often repeated wish for an end to zionism was
deliberately misquoted and turned into a declaration of war by the neocons, their Israeli allies, and the neutered media.

Rachel notes the following programs on WBAI this coming week, times given are EST, beginning tomorrow:

Sunday, July 8, 11am-noon
WBAI/NY 99.5 FM/
A discussion of atheism with Jonathan Miller, the British intellectual, TV producer, theater and opera director, and neurologist. Miller's BBC series "A Brief History of Disbelief," will begin its American launch on PBS on July 15. Hosted byJanet Coleman.
(Re-broadcast of an earlier program.)

Monday, July 9, 2-3pm
WBAI/NY 99.5 FM/
Cat Radio Cafe
Cheryl Faraone and Richard Romagnoli, founders of the Potomac Theatre Project (now in repertory in New York with Howard Barker's "No End of Blame" and Anthony Minghella's "Politics of Passion"), talk about re-defining political theatre for the 21st century; director Patricka Dallas on a production of "Sitting in Limbo," a retrospective on the revolution in Grenada; and author Trevor Corson on his new book, "The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket." Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.

The e-mail address for this site is

Judge Toilet stinks up the law

We're starting off with Ehren Watada. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He took his stand in June of 2006 (took it publicly). The US military decided to court-martial him. In February of this year, at Fort Lewis, the joke of 'justice' took place. Watada was not allowed to mention his opinion on the legality of the war. The judge, Judge Toilet, aka John Head, refused to allow it to be mentioned. Watada was expected to say "Yes" or "No" when asked about his actions but he was not allowed to address why he took the steps he did.

And we were all supposed to play stupid (or pretend to be Judge Toilet) and act like that was justice. Prior to the court-martial beginning, an agreement was entered into by the prosecution and the defense with the judge's consent. On Monday, when the hearing began, Judge Toilet himself advised the jury (Watada went with a jury of his peers) about the stipulation (agreement). On Tuesday, the prosecution (badly) made their case. Wednesday, Watada was to take the stand. Suddenly Judge Toilet (noting how badly things went for the defense on Tuesday) began hinting (from the bench) that the prosecution might want to move for a mistrial. The prosecution didn't immediately catch the hint and stated they were prepared to go forward. (There was no legal reason to call a mistrial.) After he brought it up again, the prosecution was all for it. The defense objected. The National Lawyers Guild's Marjorie Cohn has noted that the Constitutional provision of double-jeopardy had already attached to the hearing. When Judge Toilet decided to ignore the defense objections and declare a mistrial, Watada should have then walked.

Those issues and more required a Court of Apeal. Yesterday, pretrial motions took place. And guess what? Judge Toilet declared himself in charge of the trial.

Adam Lynn's "No double jeopardy for Lt. Watada: Military judge also won't disqualify himself in case of Fort Lewis war protester" (The News Tribune) reports:

Military judge Lt. Col. John Head first refused to disqualify himself from the case, despite arguments from Watada's new attorneys that there is at least the appearance that Head cannot be impartial in this matter.
Head then ruled that trying Watada again wouldn't violate his constitutional right not to be prosecuted twice for the same crime, also known as double jeopardy.
Head is the same judge who declared a mistrial in Watada's first court-martial in February after he questioned whether the officer understood a pretrial agreement he’d signed.

How the above makes any sense? There's no justice and the US military is now not even attempting to give the impression that military justice is anything but a sick joke.

Kenneth Kagan and James Lobsenz are representing Watada and they discovered an e-mail that further turns the issue of 'justice' into a joke. The supposed judge was taking instructions in February from a superior in the military chain of command.

Judge Head is overstepping his bounds to anyone paying attention. AP's not paying attention. Their headline should read, "Same Judge Rules on Self." That's what's going on.

We'll note this from L.A. Chung's "War resister's predecessors stand with him" (San Jose Mercury News):

Besides the usual list of anti-war celebrities and politicians in Watada's corner, what impresses me most are the members of the Heart Mountain draft resisters. They know all about taking an unpopular stand on principle.
These are people like Mits Koshiyama in San Jose, Frank Emi and Yoshi Kuromiya in Los Angeles, and others. They know the personal cost can still resonate and sting, even after 60 years.
Heart Mountain, Wyo., is where so many Japanese-Americans from Santa Clara

County were interned during World War II. A group called the Fair Play Committee rose up in reaction to a move to draft young men from the camps to fight in the segregated - and storied - Army unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Branded as draft resisters, and condemned by the leading community organization - the Japanese American Citizens League - the committee persevered through their trial on principle. They would gladly fight if their country first treated them equally as citizens - restored their civil liberties, released their families from internment camps. In the largest mass trial in U.S. history, 63 were convicted of draft evasion, and they spent nearly two years in jail before the convictions were overturned on appeal. Koshiyama, who worked for years as the gardener at Willow Glen High School, was one.

Martha notes Josh White's "Alleged Slayings In Fallujah Spur Military Inquiry" (Washington Post):

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is probing allegedly wrongful killings of suspected Iraqi insurgents during heavy fighting in Fallujah in November 2004, but officials said yesterday that no criminal charges have been proposed so far.
Military officials and civilian defense lawyers familiar with the investigation said a group of Marines with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment have been questioned. Other soldiers in the same company have been criminally charged in the 2005 slayings of two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq.

The New York Times offers nothing. (An article -- one -- and we're not interested -- buried inside the paper.) In the real world, US service members and British ones have been announced dead. Starting with the British.

The UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep sorrow that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death yesterday, 6 July 2007, of a soldier of 4th Battalion The Rifles at the Basra Palace base in Basra city centre, Southern Iraq." And they announced: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence can confirm that a British soldier has been killed during a large scale operation in Iraq during the early hours of this morning, 7 July 2007." The two deaths bring the ICCC total to 158 for the number of British soldiers who have died in the illegal war since the start.

Today, the US military announced: "An MNC-I Soldier died July 6 of a non-battle related cause." And they announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed July 5 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "Two Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near a combat patrol in a eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 6. Three other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." And they [PDF format warning] announced: "A Multi- National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed when a patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in western Baghdad July 5." And they [PDF format warning] announced: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed by an explosively-formed penetrator targetin a combat patrol in a southeastern section of Baghdad July 6. An interpreter was also killed and three other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." The 7 deaths bring the ICCC total to 3601 since the start of the illegal war. This would be noted in the title of the entry but I hadn't looked at the announcements until after I e-mailed the title (see a bit below). There's also an issue about the totals that will be noted later today.

Moving to the public account quickly . . .

Last Saturday, a visitor noted this from Radar on Adam Kokesh. I didn't see it until Monday and meant to work into a snapshot last week. Hopefully that will happen this week. On visitors. Rita S****, you have been asked [by me] for six months to stop e-mailing your forwards. I do not know you, I've never met you. Your e-mail forwards are racist and offensive. If you do not stop e-mailing them (what is it, daily?), I'll pick the most offensive one, put it an entry here and put your e-mail address with it so that others who are offended can weigh in to you personally.
That you are pro-war doesn't bother me. Were you writing to scream about something up here, I wouldn't be bothered. But that you continue to include me in your 'circle of hatred' bothers me. A week or so ago, Shirley mentioned one of the offensive e-mails and that almost got posted. Instead I asked Shirley to just (again) e-mail you and tell you to stop sending. We've blocked you, you keep coming back. Go away. The public account gets enough e-mail and when I'm rushing (like this morning) and trying to go through as much as I can (not all), I don't want to see your name as a sender. Next time I do, your racist crap will go up here (edited with "*"s) so everyone can realize how disgusting you are and I will include your e-mail address so that they can share their thoughts with you. You have been repeatedly asked, for over a year [by Martha, Shirley, Eli, Ava and Jess], to stop e-mailing. You have been blocked but that only makes you create a new e-mail account and continue e-mailing. Go away or suffer the consequences.

No one working the public account needs to suffer through your nonsense. I'm sure your "Christian to Christian" e-mails are sincere. I'm also sure that many slave owners had the same attitude then that you do today. They were insane and so are you. Go away.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen

Jess filled in for Trina.

I've e-mailed the title to the site (for those e-mailing to ask where the entry is?). Blogger/Blogspot is acting up again. There would be no title for this entry otherwise. That's something happening at all Blogger/Blogspot sites. You'll note that at other community sites. It's been described elsewhere. I'll note I wouldn't have a title if I hadn't used the e-mail option to e-mail a blank post (other than title) to the site. For whatever reason, in Blogger/Blogspot currently, you can't type in the field for the title. You click and the cursor doesn't even show up in it.

That's it for this morning. I'll do another entry later today and note Margaret Kimberley and the issue on the count. The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, July 06, 2007

Iraq snapshot

Friday, July 6, 2007.  Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces the death of another US soldier, the US military flacks turn out to say "no" to withdrawal, Ehren Watada's pre-trial motions hearing is set to begin, Iraqi refugees face restrictions from one formerly open Western nation, US outlets play "Brendan Nelson who?", and more.
Starting with news of war resistance.  Today, at Fort Lewis, pretrial motions were supposed to be heard in the court-martial of Ehren Watada.  If the judge allows the court-martial to begin, it will start July 23.  Yesterday, in San Francisco, a rally was held by supporters for the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq whose February court-martial ended in a mistrial call over the objection of the defense.  Tim Ryan (KCBS) noted Ying Lee's statements on why a retrial should not be taking place, "As the first military officer in the US military to refuse to be sent to Iraq, he said the war is unconstitutional, it's illegal, it violates the Nurember principles and it violates the rule of law."
In other news of war resister, don't say this too loudly, we don't want to shock The Nation, but there's another war resister who's gone to Canada.  Now The Nation, the AP and a whole lot of media want to pretend that war resisters just don't exist.  So let's all speak in whispers because, otherwise, we might give them all heart attacks (or at least dirty drawers).  Ross Spears, 19 years-old, in Canada from his Virginia military base.  Michael Bhardwaj (Canada's CBC) reports on Spears decision and notes Ross Spears' attorney, Kourosh Farrokhzhad "is hoping Canada will fulfill its obligation to protect people who are wrongfully persecuted for their beliefs or their actions."  Spears has settled in Ottawa as has US war resister James Burmeister who was noted in Monday's Iraq snapshot.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
Joel Bleifuss deserves much credit for already having covered the issue of Iraq Veterans Against the War but he's also written "The New Children's Crusade" (note, that link is being given by a friend with In These Times and it's not working currently -- hopefully, it will work shortly) which opens with a look at Vincent J. Emanuele returning home to Chesterton, Indiana.  I don't have time to hear the article read over the phone.  We'll note it in Monday's snapshot.
Regardless, Iraq Veterans Against the War are completing their summer base tour. Showtime is filming the tour for a documentary. The last dates are:  the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm. They have really given their all and if you are in those areas, you should show your support by attending and you can hear about the efforts to surpress and silence them -- none of the efforts have worked.  Last Friday, Adam Kokesh, Nate Lewis, Mike Blake, Sholom Keller and Steve Mortillo were harrassed at Fort Jackson for the crime of t-shirting with an alleged intent to be fully dressed.  Saturday went smoothly, but Sunday was another story Kokesh, Lewis and Liam MaddenWriting at his site, Adam Kokesh discusses the July 1st arrest at Fort Benning which "is an open post, anyone with proper ID is allowed on base" but Nate Lewis and Liam Madden were arrested for approaching the gate on foot (not entering the base) and:
We raced to the gate and got there just in time to see Nate and Liam getting loaded into cruisers.  One of the cops came out to where we were standing and explained "they had been arrested for protesting," and told us that if anyone crosses the line "in protest," they will be arrested.  We have this on tape.  Then the press showed up and wanted a statement, so I waited until they were set up and put a mic on me, and gave a statement to them and for the record to the documentarians who were with us, and our own camera for safety.  I changed by shirt so it would be clear I was not protesting and went across to ensure that Liam and Nate were, "afforded the full protection of the law."  You can see a video of that here
Fortunately, Michael Blake stepped up and dealt with all of the press that came and really did a great job presenting our side of the story as opposed to the Army spokeswoman's story, which only identified me as a "third unidentified protestor."  We've really seen some stupid coverage over this.  (But that all pales in comparison to the lie the Marine Corps told about Liam Madden's response to the plea bargain that, "they were dropping the case because they had 'received sufficient indication' from Madden that he would no longer wear his uniform when engaged in political activities.  They also determined that his statements did not warrant futher action.)
Further action? As a second Republican (Pete Domenici) has joined Richard Luger in calling for an end to the illegal war , Rick Lynch, who not all that long ago while being billed as "Maj. Gen." was also billed as "spokesperson," issues his own statement.  CBS and AP report Rick Lynch says that there can be no withdrawal of US forces because that would leave "a mess" in Iraq which begs the question what term does Lynch think currently describes Iraq?  The Getty Images photo with the story reports that the newly designed camo (2004) is really intended for both a younger person and a much thinner person.  Study the photo and wonder if Lync's camo is the footy-pajamas version.  If you doubted the overgrown boys who let others do the fighting weren't being sent out 'on point,' click here for the nonsense Maj. Gen Benjamin Mixon repeated on CNN. 
Less attention, in the US, has been given to the remarks of Australia's Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.  On Day Two, Kathy Marks (Independent of London) reports, "The Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson has admitted that oil was a major factor in the government's decision to keep troops in Iraq, a unexpectedly frank confession that sent political commentators into a tizzy." Marks also notes that only 1000 Australian troops are in Iraq (Green Zone), the other 600 are "in the region."  Rod McGuirk (The Scotsman) cites Hugh White ("Australian defence analyst") who judges the remarks as, "In the kind of washing machine of different arguments that they've been tossing around, the oil one has come to the surface, so to speak, accidentally."  As to the clampdown in this country, it has nothing to do with the press refusing to allow some of those against the war early on to cry, "We were right!"  No, the silence has everything to do with the fact that such a remark by a sitting member on the government of a coalition government should immediately trigger an international investigation because a war of choice on another country to take control of their resources is a war crime.
As the US government strong arms the puppet, Nouri al-Maliki, to push through the theft of Iraqi oil in the form of oil legislation that would turn over as much as 70% of the profit from Iraqi oil to foreign corporations, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) interviewed Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein (first woman to be president of a national union in Iraq, president of Electrical Utility Workers Union) and Faleh Abood Umara (of Federation of Oil Unions).  From the interview:
AMY GOODMAN: Explain the law.
FALEH ABOOD UMARA: [translated] According to Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution, which states that the oil and gas of Iraq are owned by the Iraqi people and they have the right to control it. But when you look into the details of the law, many of the articles of the law actually conflict with this preamble of the law, the most important point of which is the issue of the production-sharing agreements, which allows the international oil companies, especially the American ones, to exploit the oil fields without our knowledge of what they are actually doing with it. And they take about 50% of the production as their share, which we think it's an obvious robbery of the Iraqi oil.
We also object to the procedure by which these companies are given the contracts for exploiting the oil, because it allows the granting of the contracts with the aid of foreign advisers. We demanded that it's actually the Iraqi experts that need to be consulted with regards to the granting of the contracts.
In brief, there is hardly an article in the law that actually benefits the Iraqi people. But they all serve American interests in Iraq. And we know well that the law was actually written here in the United States, with the help of James Baker and Ms. Rice and the experts from the IMF. And it serves the interests of the American government and not the Iraqi people.
We're still negotiating with the Iraqi parliament and the Iraqi government, and we succeeded in halting the discussion of the law in the parliament until next October. And we hope that we will manage to modify some of the articles of the law. As regards to the strike, we actually declared victory last week.
HASHMEYA MUHSIN HUSSEIN: [translated] It's more stable than other places in -- like in Baghdad, because they handed the security over to Iraqi forces security and the British forces were redeployed to the outskirts of the city. But the situation in Iraq, in general, and Basra, just like any other part of Iraq, suffers from the situation. It's not very good, especially economically. We have about 65% unemployment rate, and nine million Iraqis live in poverty. The services are really bad, especially electricity. So for every hour of electrical current, we have six hours of black out, and sometimes they skip the actual hour of electrical current. And this is really an adverse situation, because it's really hot and humid in the south.
AMY GOODMAN: And how did that compare under Saddam Hussein?
HASHMEYA MUHSIN HUSSEIN: [translated] The electrical situation was better under Saddam. At least during the night you would have a constant electrical current. And this situation is such, because of the sabotage and exploding the power stations in the center of Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: How has life changed for women in Iraq, in Basra, where you are?
HASHMEYA MUHSIN HUSSEIN: [translated] As a part of the Iraqi society, they suffer like everybody else, but also there were laws that were issued under the occupation that specifically targeted women, especially Law No. 137, which canceled the old civil law and delegated all issues that have to do with civil law to the local communities and religious communities, religious authorities. We took this very seriously and went out in demonstrations until the new law was canceled, but it was reintroduced through the new constitution, and we now demand the cancellation of this article.
As far as women's rights are concerned, women are not completely suppressed. As you can see, I am right here in front of you. And we have 25% of the parliament members who are women, and we seek, we hope that it will soon become 40%. And this is a result of our struggle and determination that women in Iraq will have their rightful place.
Goodman also interviewed Iraq poet and novelist Sinan Antoon and we'll note that next week.  Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that American planes destroyed three houses in "Al-Medea'ain area (south of Baghdad)," a Kirkuk roadside bombing that wounded two police officers and "two unknown missiles were launched upon Tisaeen Al-Jadeeda in downtwon Kirkuk and one of them hit one of the houses damaging it and injuring one resident in the area."  Reuters notes 7 people (from the same family) from a mortar attack in Baghdad, 1 dead from a Baghdad roadside bombing, 1 Iraqi police officer killed by a hand grenade in Mosul (another wounded), and a Samawa roadside bombing that claimed 4 lives.

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 people were shot dead in Baghdad, an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Hawija and, in Mosul, a husband and wife were shot dead as they attempted to run from unidentified assailiants.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mahmudiya.
And today the US military announced: "One MNC-I Soldier died of wounds received during combat operations in western Baghdad on Thursday." 3592 is now the total number of US service members to die in the illegal war since it began.
On PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio, which begins airing this week's new episode tonight in many markets (check local listings), they provide an update on Nour al Khal, an Iraqi translator, who has been attempting to receive asylum in the US.  There are an estimated 4 million Iraqi refugees, internal and external.  Karl Ritter (AP) reports that Sweden, one of the few Western countries that has been welcoming in the past, is now "tightening its asylum rules and will forcibly deport Iraqis who are denied refuge" after having received an estimated 18,000 "since 2006."

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A now-dead plan to ring Baghdad with a trench to keep out insurgents has found new life in Karbala, a predominately Shiite Muslim city 50 miles south of the capital.
Iraqi construction crews this month will begin digging a 12-mile-long trench to the west and south of the city of 1.4 million residents to help prevent car bombs and protect two holy Shiite shrines.
U.S. and Iraqi officials shelved plans announced last year for a bigger trench to surround Baghdad. Instead, they've focused on conducting military operations in the provinces and raiding car-bomb shops.
The Karbala trench will create a 10-foot-deep crescent, buttressing approaches from the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Ramadi, about 70 miles northwest of Karbala, to the main highway running south to Najaf. Police towers will punctuate the trench, which will funnel traffic to checkpoints outside the city center.

Remember, for all the talk of new 'plans' and 'new' strategy, there's nothing new about anything going on Iraq. The above is from Hussam Ali and Mike Drummond's "10-foot-deep trench will protect Iraqi city of Karbala" (McClatchy Newspapers). The moat is back. Those paying attention last summer (a small number, granted) will remember when it was previously seen as the 'cure' for Baghdad. Now let's turn to the New York Times for War Pornographer Michael Gordon's latest entitled "G.I.'s Forge Sunni Tie in Bid to Squeeze Militants" which begins like all of Gordo's 'reporting,' he presents things he cannot verify as though they are facts. In this case, an April 7th meeting in Baquba. For those wondering, not only was Gordo not in Baquba at the time, he was not even in Iraq. He was, however, in DC. But Gordo's happy to present stories whispered to him as reality and hasn't that always been the way for his 'reporting'.

It's amazing that Ben Richards is given weight (so much weight?) until you grasp that Richards is pushing the lies the Times always runs. Let a US officer show up publicly stating something that goes against the narrative coming out of the State Department and watch them be the subject of verbs such as:


But when it fits with what's being sold, as Richards' claims to do, a meeting that Gordo cannot verify let alone tell you what took place in it, 'reporters' rush to present it as factual.

So what's today's New Told Lie (nod to Hair)? There's "a new alliance" in the Diyala Province. Gordo's feeling good from head to shoes, he's selling war and he knows what to do, wooh-wooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, he's got a new alliance, apparently.

Not so new and nothing worth bragging over but if Gordo couldn't be useless, what could he be?

Let's drop back to yesterday's snapshot for this comment Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher) highlighted from Gordo's recent Charlie Rose appearance:

So I think you know, as a purely personal view, I think it's worth one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view, I think it's worth one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we're never really tried to win. We've simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think if it's done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something.

Now let's go to Democracy Now!, March 17, 2006 for this exchange (also noted in yesterday's snapshot):

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Gordon, do you think the invasion itself was a mistake?
MICHAEL GORDON: Well, that's a policy judgment and a political judgment that’s really beyond the scope of our book.

Gordo, who'd been reporting on Iraq since before the illegal war broke out (and was on DN! to promote his bad book that most thinking adults avoided). Is the escalation not "a policy judgement"? Yes. Gordo who couldn't weigh in on the war itself went on Charlie Rose to peddle his (tired) ass for the Bully Boy, he swung it, he stuck it in the air. No one's buying and not just because of the greasy facial skin or the fish eyes. No one's buying because Gordo's sold himself cheap that he should be offered as a freebie at this rate.

Today, Gordo sells a 'new' 'strategy' that's neither new or a strategy but still Gordo manages to pen this:

The new coalition reflects some hard-headed calculations on both sides. Eager for intelligence on their elusive foes, American officers have been willing to overlook the past of some of their newfound allies.

So Gordo's high on the Sunni alliance, all but doing a lap dance in print. Let's go to Nancy A. Youssef for a reality check:

American officials were surprised Monday when an explosion in the lobby of Baghdad's Mansour Hotel killed six Sunni Muslim sheiks whom the U.S. considered top allies.
The hotel's tower is visible to most officials who work in the heavily fortified Green Zone, and U.S. officials had talked regularly with the sheiks and given them money. But the officials had no idea that the sheiks were planning to talk with their Shiite Muslim counterparts in the hotel's lobby, though clearly someone else did.
One U.S. military officer based in the Green Zone characterized the American reaction as "Huh?"
"No one here knew they were getting together until it happened," said the officer, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic.
In the end, the sheiks were operating on their own, and therein lies the risk in the U.S. strategy of working with Sunni tribal leaders.

That's from Youssef's "Experts caution U.S. on alliance with Iraqi tribes" (McClatchy Newspapers) written at the end of June. Whether or not Gordo was born full of ___, it's all he has to offer today and the New York Times is at all troubled by letting him fling it at readers or, as is so often the case -- including today, smear it on their front page.

Let's stay with McClatchy Newspapers because they really are the only US outlet doing any real work in the last 24 hour cycle on Iraq. They have two blogs on Iraq and this is from Leila Fadel's and is from her June 23, 2007 post "Slander:"

Twenty-four young special-needs orphans were discovered by U.S. soldiers June 10, naked, starving and laying in their own excrement. Some of the emaciated little boys were chained to cribs in a government orphanage. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Mahmoud al Sheikh Radhi, was outraged according to Iraqiya State Television after the images of these abused boys were aired on CBS. Who wouldn't be outraged to see emaciated children treated like this, when in a locked closet there were shelves of new clothes and food?
However Radhi's outrage was with U.S. troops, according to state television. State television reports that the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs wants to sue the U.S. military for "slandering" Iraqi children.
In a press conference earlier this week the minister told reporters that U.S. soldiers put "terror into the souls" of the abused boys by rescuing them at the Al Hanan orphanage at 2 a.m., according to Iraqi news outlets.
"I believe that those who conducted this raid deserve to be tried," he was quoted in Iraqi news outlets as saying. "Can a reasonable person accept horrifying these sons and putting terror into their souls at such a late time."
He said the boys were naked because of the summer heat. He didn't explain why they had been beaten and starved.

We link to McClatchy's Iraq section on the permalinks on the left. We'll get back to links in a moment, but Brad notes Khody Akhavi's "Torture Routine in Kurdish Jails, Report Charges" (IPS):

Kurdistan's security forces, attached to the two largest political parties in the region yet out of the control of the government's Interior Ministry, routinely torture detainees and deny their due process rights, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday.
The 58-page report, "Caught in the Whirlwind: Torture and Denial of Due Process by the Kurdistan Security Forces," documents systematic mistreatment of detainees held by Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish (literally "security").
While detainees' have experienced torture at the hands of Asayish, many of the abuses reported in region pale in comparison to the violence, terrorism and criminality currently engulfing much of Iraq.
"The outside world, they look at Iraq they see this mess and disaster, and Kurdistan appears secure and stable," said Ayub Nuri of Human Rights Watch. "The violence in the rest of Iraq has overshadowed the abuses in Kurdistan."
Most detainees are not charged with offenses, given information regarding their legal status, or provided with a mechanism to appeal their detentions. The Asayish have held hundreds of detainees, particularly those arrested on suspicion of terrorism-related offenses, without due process, for more than five years in some cases. Many detainees also complained that the authorities denied them access to relatives, and that in some cases their relatives were unaware of where they were being held, according to the report.

As noted already, Australia's just not news to the US domestic media. Neither is Falluja. As Mike noted yesterday, apparently someone serving in Iraq who took part in acts that are War Crimes as described, applied for a Secret Service job, was asked during a polygraph test about involvement in killings and the issue came up. This is from Thomas Watkins' "Navy Probes Marines in Captives' Deaths" (AP):

The Navy is investigating claims that Camp Pendleton Marines killed between five and 10 unarmed captives during a fierce battle in Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2004, current and former Marines told The Associated Press.
The criminal probe centers on the actions of several members of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, they told the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Different members of the same unit were later accused of wrongdoing in the killings of 24 civilians in Haditha in 2005.

Two things. One, Nate Helms has interjected himself into this and we don't need to go Helms' entire history, we can just note that he is a bad writer (writing about yourself in third person -- and yes, he does refer to events and actions, in his writing, as "told Nathaniel Helms" -- is only one of the more obvious problems). Two, Falluja was a slaughter, the city is still destroyed.

Turning to the US, we'll note David A. Love's "My Letter to Clarence Thomas: The Man Who Desecrates The Legacy of Thurgood Marshall" (The Black Commentator) which includes a letter Love wrote to Thomas in 1995 as well as this from Love's introduction about what has happened since:

Twelve years later, not much has changed, Clarence Thomas has not changed, and the Supreme Court has emerged once again as a disaster for those who care about civil rights, and one of the greatest impediments to democracy in America. This is the revival of the Dred Scott court, the Plessy court, the kind of extremist court that Bush promised he would give us. While Bush tells us to fear an "Axis of Evil," the greatest threat to America comes from within, from our government—the executive branch and the Supreme Court. The problems we are facing are not going away, they just get worse, and Thomas has a decisive role in that process.
Yet his supporters once assured us that in time, Thomas would evolve and make us proud. After all, they posited, he is African American and has experienced racism, he feels our pain. Well, his tenure on the Supreme Court has been over a decade and a half of disappointment, daunting mediocrity and misplaced priorities. Since joining the Court, he has presided over the wedding of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who once told an African-American caller to "take that bone out of your nose," has called abortion rights activists "feminazis", referred to the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as "blow[ing] some steam off," and declared that "what's good for Al Qaeda is good for the Democratic Party."
Thomas says that he selects only "the cream of the crop" when hiring law clerks: "I look for the math and the sciences, real classes, none of that Afro-American study stuff. If they'd taken that stuff as an undergraduate, I don't want them." Perhaps it should not be a surprise that all four of his law clerks are white males. A justice on the nation's highest court, he fails to take advantage of a golden opportunity to do some good, in the time-honored tradition of leaving a place better than you found it. Sadly, he continues to desecrate the memory of Thurgood Marshall. The late Judge A. Leon Higginbotham was right when he said "I have often pondered how it is that Justice Thomas, an African American, could be so insensitive to the plight of the powerless. Why is he no different, or probably worse, than many of the most conservative Supreme Court justices of this century? I can only think of one Supreme Court justice during this century who was worse than Justice Clarence Thomas: James McReynolds, a white supremacist who referred to blacks as 'n***ers.'"

As noted yesterday, NOW with David Brancaccio recently interviewed Michael Moore about Moore's new documentary Sicko which you can see a clip of on YouTube or can watch via NOW by clicking here. (There is a transcript at NOW's site.) Still on NOW with David Brancaccio, the program's latest episode begins airing in most markets on Friday (on PBS) and will take a look at children's health insurance:

While 45% of all children in the United States are receiving some form of public medical assistance, 9 million children are not covered by either public or private health care. The State Children's Health Insurance Program -- or SCHIP -- is a block grant from the federal government to cover those low-income children, but the fund is running out of money.On Friday, July 6 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW investigates how SCHIP's future is caught up in a battle between those who think the government insures too many kids, and those who think it's not doing enough.
The NOW website at will provide additional coverage starting Friday morning, July 6. Features include a closer look at the debate and information about your state's healthcare coverage programs for children.

Also something that begins airing today, Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report) is on this week's CounterSpin.

Last topic. A number of e-mails expressing relief regarding the gina & krista round-robin this morning. Apparently, "And the war drags on . . ." concerned some members. I noted in that the fact that I pulled six or so paragraphs from the top of that before posting. The issue was covered in the round-robin. It was more of a starting point for me. Without it in there (the six or so paragraphs) and without people having read the round-robin, a few were concerned that it was an apology to The Nation in places. No, it wasn't intended as such and I certainly would never apologize for (among other things) calling out sexism (and when 181 more men than women are printed, it's sexism). In case any visitor is confused, I'm addressing the topic again and this time will include it in what goes up online (I think all members now get the round-robin). The (deleted) opening referred to a topic covered in the roundtable for the round-robin. Eddie brings it up and he's far from the only one. This feature ran on Wednesday (links go to all sites):

"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"

I could care less if I'm ignored or crapped on. (Partly because most people who would pull that nonsense really don't matter in my own world. Partly because I was raised to do for others without expecting anything in return -- it was consider a social duty.) But Eddie (and other members participating in the roundtable) had attempted to get this highlighted. Eddie explained he did that because this was writing by all members doing sites. (I've asked, since summer 2005, that members do not send anything from this site around to get highlighted).

So Lotta Links (happy to e-mail asking for links to their site) wasn't interested in the feature? Even with Eddie not being the only one in the roundtable suddenly admitting they'd noted it too? It wasn't even worth mentioning in the alleged mailbag -- forget about linking to it on their main page?


That's strong writing. They (Lotta Links) wrote just a few weeks ago. They can write anytime they want, I have no intentition of highlighting them or to put back in their links. That was the point of last night in the paragraphs that got pulled. The first paragraph explained that 5 things were gone from the permalinks. Joshua Frank's Brick Burner was pulled because he ended the site (and apparently deleted it). His writing will continue to be highlighted here. But Lotta Links and it's various sites? All pulled.

Spit on me, ignore me, I could care less. But no one gets away with screwing my friends over. Lotta Links thought they could. That is incredible writing in that feature. Now Lotta Links (Mike's name for the site -- which he hates and which he's noted as hating from the first weeks of his site starting back in 2005). With those six paragraphs missing, I can see how the rest of it would be confusing going up before the gina & krista round-robin went out. I apologize for any panic I caused. (Or just confusion.)

The point about The Nation being linked to is my feelings which are I would highlight any appeal from them (due to their history). I'm also comfortable calling them out. I'm not, on the other hand, interested at all in Lotta Links with whom I have no history with (unless their constant e-mails begging for links is a history). They stopped highlighting us in the summer of 2005 (the whole West issue). Mike thought (and I'm sure thinks) they are cowards. (True. Let's be honest. They are cowards.) They continued to want highlights. I gave them. It didn't matter to me personally.

Someone doesn't like something I've done, it's not the end of the world. I could care less. But, as Eddie pointed out in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, this wasn't my writing. This was a feature everyone in the community worked on. That is exactly correct. And if the incredible and strong writing of my friends isn't good enough for Lotta Links, screw them.

Again, I'm sorry I pulled that. I wasn't interested in it when I finished "And the war drags
on . . ." The focus was the draft and I really didn't even want to note Lotta Links at that point. So I pulled the section, added the note about The Nation's fund raiser (in case that hadn't remained in what was still in the entry) and posted it.

The e-mail address for this site is

NYT: Just pretend Brendan Nelson never said a word

The Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson has admitted that oil was a major factor in the government's decision to keep troops in Iraq, a unexpectedly frank confession that sent political commentators into a tizzy.

The above, noted by Gareth, is from Kathy Marks' "Australian troops 'in Iraq because of oil'" (Independent of London) and not in the US it hasn't. In the US there's no article devoted to what is a very important story in the New York Times. They've got time for Gordo to spew his usual nonsense (Gordo will be addressed next entry), they've got time for Alissa J. Rubin to use meaningless terms like "moderates" (meaningless for any number of reasons but at the most basic, try defining your terms) to describe those sitting in the cat bird's seat in the Iraqi Parliament. But a member of government in a country that's part of the alleged coalition making a statement like Nelson made? Not news the New York Times wants to readers to know -- all the more proof that it is in fact news. From the article:

Australia, a staunch supporter of President George Bush's foreign policy, joined the US-led invasion of Iraq, saying the assault was about destroying weapons of mass destruction and fighting international terrorism.
But protesters have always claimed that the real motive was oil, and Mr Nelson's interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday seem to have proved them right.
"Energy security is extremely important to all nations throughout the world, and of course in protecting and securing Australia's interests," Mr Nelson said. "Obviously the Middle East itself, not only Iraq but the entire region, is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world. Australians and all of us need to think what would happen if there was a premature withdrawal from Iraq."

Click here for The Scotsman coverage and remember that to be informed of the story, you have to go outside the US coverage. Click here for Nelson's denial and note, international headlines did not include the US.

Today the US military announced: "One MNC-I Soldier died of wounds received during combat operations in western Baghdad on Thursday." 3592 is now the total number of US service members to die in the illegal war since it began.

The e-mail address for this site is

Thursday, July 05, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

The other day I came out of my short retirement due to yet another Bush flagrant abuse of power. We decided that we would walk from Atlanta to DC to gather a people's movement for humanity. The longer BushCo are in office the less chance we have of recovering the heart and soul of our nation, saving our soldiers and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and saving the planet from corporate and individual waste and pollution. Impeachment, removal from office, and in a perfect world: incarceration for the criminals against humanity, are urgent and necessary steps that need to be taken today.
Since the announcement of the Walk, circumstances have changed. Rev. Lennox Yearwood is not going to have his hearing for Conduct Unbecoming until the end of August, and we were going to begin our walk after his hearing on July 12th in Macon, GA. So consequently, we are going to begin our Journey on July 10th in Crawford, Texas.
Our Journey will take us through places such as Ft. Benning, GA, and New Orleans where Bush Crimes have had such a deeply detrimental affect on people. Torture and the continued criminal lack of help for the people of the Gulf States are two of BushCo’s more heinous crimes.
Our Journey will also take us to House Judiciary committee members' offices where we will sit-in and demand that they institute Articles of Impeachment against Bush and Cheney immediately. On July 23rd, we will be in Congressman John Conyers' office to encourage him to take the lead on impeachment. A sit-in in his office is possible and likely.
The US part of our Journey will end in New York City where on July 27th we will stage a demonstration in front of the UN to highlight the refugee crisis in the Middle East caused by the Bush High Crime Cabal. There are millions of people displaced by the atrocity in Iraq and, no matter what former US Ambassador and leading neo-con war criminal, John Bolton says: the US does owe the people of Iraq more than we can ever repay. The very least we owe them, though, is a relatively safe country to live in and basic human rights like: homes, food, clean water and medical care.
On July 29th, we will be re-creating the Summer of Love and hold a "Gather-in of Hearts" in Central Park with leading activists and musical entertainment. Proceeds will go to Iraqi Refugees and for medical supplies for Iraqi hospitals.

[. . .]
Our route and flyer for the "Gather-in of Hearts" is posted at Camp Casey Peace Institute. Donations can also be made there. Visit our MySpace page and be our friend!

Melissa noted the above. It's from Cindy Sheehan's "Summer of Love ‘07: On a Journey for Humanity" (Common Dreams) and it's more than fair use allowed but it's hard to note the above otherwise. (It should also be noted that we do not link to MySpace and have made that exception only for Sheehan.) (MySpace is a Murdoch property.) Melissa's highlight actually moves nicely to the gina & krista round-robin. Be sure to check out that out in your inboxes tomorrow.

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)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3571. Tonight? 3591 with 13 for the month of July thus far. Their number for Iraqis killed so far this month? 160.

There was so much e-mail from members (males as well females) who were of age during Vietnam saying the issue touched on at the end of the snapshot needed to be addressed more that it's going to be the entry tonight. I'm still worn out from the feature that went up Wednesday, so I'll gladly grab the topic (and I'm also supposed to speak on it -- actually on the obstacles present today -- tomorrow so I'll use this as a rehearsal to figure out what the main points are and boil them down to five minutes).

The draft. How much did it effect the country turning against the illegal war? A great deal. Which is why the draft was ended. (Registration was brought back under Jimmy Carter. In 1980, Ronald Reagan campaigned on ending registration. Then he got into the White House.)
We usually refer to what happens today as "the poverty draft." Most of us have used the phrase (I know I have) but the reality is the draft during Vietnam was always the poverty draft. If you had money, you could go to college and get a deferment.

You could sit out four years of draft eligiblity or, if you went beyond your bachelors, even more.
College kept Dick Cheney's number low and avoiding being called out to serve in the illegal war (Cheney doesn't have the guts to resist, he would have served or shot himself in the foot to avoid serving).

As noted, women, despite the lies in the Los Angeles Times, were not draft eligible. They were not galvanized to protest the war because they might be drafted or because they had to have a physical for the military. Did the writer not know that? I'm sure he knew it. It was a case of one more male blow hard trying to sell a (limited) male experience off as everyone's experience.
A visitor e-mailed saying he wasn't disagreeing with me about the draft but what about women in college whose brothers would be drafted because they wouldn't go to college?

The visitor may be thinking of scholarships won by working class and poverty females. In which case, yes, they had that concern. However, the bulk of college students (male or female) were from middle class and upper class homes. And, most importantly, back in the day, if you could only see one child to college (as might be the case for some working class families), sending the female wasn't the norm. Women were still largely expected to marry. (And some were sent to college for no other reason.) Sons, not daughters, were sent when money was tight.

That generation of young people reshaped the world. It's why the right-wing hates the '60s' so much.

If you were a male in college who flunked out, you were then eligible for the draft so that could happen. But "I'm about to be drafted!" wasn't a cry you heard on most campuses from male students. Go to law school or work on your masters or doctorate and you had more years to gather those deferments. If you define a successful marriage by whether or not it lasts until the death of one spouse, or both if they die together (I don't define it that way), it would be interesting to have the data on deferments from children born at the end of or quickly after the college career of a male during Vietnam. (Such as, again, Dick Cheney. Whose marriage is still going.)

There were groups that worked with the working class and the poor, SDS was one such group, but for the bulk of college actions going on during Vietnam, you were dealing with a middle class and upper class population that, if they were male, really weren't in danger of being drafted. Now they liked to strut and pose. They'd pull that card out when nothing else was winning their argument and think it might end whatever discussion was going on.

The draft had a big impact on turning the population at large against the illegal war. It was a concern to parents. Less so to upper class parents but even they could worry. Parents from working class and poverty backgrounds had more reason to worry.

The injustice of who got drafted and who didn't certainly did make a difference for all segments of the population (including college students).

Middle school students were active, especially at the end of the illegal war. The males were not in danger of the draft near the end and they would have had to have been extremely forethinking middle school males to have the fear of being drafted themselves be the overriding reason for their actions.

Women were at least half the peace movement (even if, until Bernardine Dohrn, the media annointed leaders were predominately male). They can also be found in some of the most talked about events. Joan Baez, Pauline Baez and Mimi Farina (all sisters for anyone not around during that period) participated in what is still one of the most talked about posters of the era. I believe Jim Marshall took the photograph of the three of them for the poster that read "GIRLS SAY YES to boys who say NO." Some objected to the poster as reinforcing sexist notions. ("This is your reward, fellas!") I don't discount anyone's feelings if they were offended by the poster but, myself, I always found the poster hilarious. They were not making like Playboy centerfolds and I saw it as humor. (I didn't, for instance, think the poster was supposed to read "Call me, guys, and I'll put out if you say no!") Again, I'm not discounting people who were offended by the poster. I can see their point of view but the solemn expressions on Joan and Pauline's faces (I'm remembering Mimi smiling, but I could be wrong) made me see it as a send up/response to the recruiting posters put out by the US government. (What I saw would not necessarily be what others saw and I'm sure some males saw it and thought, "Hot damn! Joan for a night!" Again, I'm not discounting the feelings of feminists who were offended by the poster. But not all feminists were offended.) (It also needs to be noted that the poster came about as many women had reached their breaking point on the notions that being in the movement to end the war meant, as more than a few males at the time expected, enlisting to serve a man. Or, in some cases, to serve men. And at the worst extreme was sexually -- worst because when anyone, regardless of gender, feels it is a duty, sex isn't taking place for the right reason.)

Another visitor wrote in, very angry, about the comments earlier today and noted that he was sure (he wasn't around then) that the draft did effect "all girls going to college" because of the men they were involved with. Girls? Does he think thirteen-year-olds and fourteen-year-olds were storming freshman orientation?

More importantly all women could not have been effected because, hate to shock you, lesbians didn't emerge after Ellen said "Yep, I'm Gay." Lesbians were around in the '60s' and they were around well before the '60s.'

But straight college females involved with males (sleeping with or regularly dating) were, generally speaking, dating or sleeping with someone on campus (student or professor) or someone older. A few might have boyfriends back home (or have started off with boyfriends back home) and they could have been eligible for the draft (regardless of the woman's parent's economic class) but, overall, the norm was to be dating someone on campus or someone older (and beyond draft age). The angry e-mailer wanted to note soldiers. Yes, some did date soldiers but if they were already soldiers then they couldn't, think about it, be drafted. Some also dated vets and they couldn't be drafted after being discharged either.

As I stated earlier, on college campuses, men liked to play the draft card when they were losing an argument. (Or, as Rebecca notes, to get to bed with some woman. Probably to get to bed with some men as well.)

The younger you were, the more likely you were to be drafted (the way the pool worked) and if you could postpone via college (and children and other steps), you probably weren't going to Vietnam. The young people at the most risk of being drafted were men and they were men from working class and poverty backgrounds -- most of whom would not be able to attend college due to the fees (but would be able to after serving due to the benefits). That parenthetical is added because I'm not saying they were less smart or less talented. I am saying that their economic classification (and, many would argue and I would agree, their race) made them more likely to be drafted.

The injustice of the draft, in many forms, was certainly a motivating factor across the age groups population wise. We still have the same injustice with regards to economics. Many are from rural areas, many serving in Iraq today, and saw the GI benefits as a trade off for a future or saw the military as a way to have a chance at a solid future.

For any (visitor or member) trying to test this, make a list of college campus (male) movement leaders during the '60s' and see how many ended up in Vietnam?

The draft is an easy cop out (to use a term of the day). If we had the draft, the thinking goes, this illegal war would be over now!

No, it wouldn't. The fact that the people have turned against the illegal war so quickly (compared to Vietnam, this is quickly) negates the idea that the draft could be an educational tool/factor. Could it motivate more actions by parents? Possibly.

But we've already had one Democrat (since the 2006 elections) advocate a return of the draft and, if for no other reason than that, it's important for those of us who lived through it to speak honestly.

Looking to college campuses, there are many reasons for the level of activity (which has always been higher than anyone's given it credit for in the press).

One reason is things have changed in the way we live our lives. I had my own TV from an early age (as long as I can remember, before I started school, I was -- am -- an insomniac and it was thought that would keep me in my bedroom). I can remember, in school, other kids coming over to watch. TV was, for many, a communal experience originally. (Now we all have our individual TVs.) We were, especially young people, a more active generation in terms of any physical activity. (Though many forms of physical activity were frowned on for females during that period.) In the decades since, we've, as a society, gotten used to our little boxes. (And the fact that adults are working more hours -- and more adults are working -- today means many do just want to go back to that box because they're wiped out.)

The fact that we work longer hours, and more of us work, factors into involvement at all levels (as does the box). College students today (even those of what's seen as the traditional age for college students) are more likely to work in addition to attending classes and more likely to have children. That factors in.

The media factors in. Not in one way, but in many.

You've got the issue of coverage which is, first of all, more limited in what can be reported. Unilateral Western journalists aren't parading through Iraq. Most Western journalists are in the Green Zone and leave only when embedded with the military. They and others who stay are very limited in what they can report. Journalists are not exploring Iraq the way they did Vietnam (Western journalists or otherwise -- and we should note I'm not saying "Cowards!" -- more journalists have died in this war than in covering Vietnam). An incident happens in, for instance, Ramadi. They write up a report and unless they were in Ramadi (as an embed), they are totally dependent upon others. So they give weight to the US military's official statements. (I'm not defending that.) They include a few details a stringer may have told them. That is not what you had in Vietnam.

It's not just that Iraq is physically removed, it's that the reporting is physically removed and coming out of the heavily fortified (but not safe) Green Zone. You did have reporters who covered the briefings during Vietnam, you also had Western reporters who went around Vietnam. (And I am not saying the Vietnam coverage was perfect. I am saying reporters could report on what was going on -- some chose not to -- better when they had mobility.)

Along with the twice removed physical distance of reporting coming out of Iraq, you have the distance created by media in this country by refusing to cover the illegal war. The Nation announced their upcoming issue devoted to Iraq. Long, long overdue.

There are whole issues that never address Iraq. The first mention of Abeer (Ellen Knickmeyer, of the Washington Post, was writing about Abeer in June of 2006) came in April of 2007 (in a column by Alexander Cockburn). The peace movement hasn't been seriously addressed. War resisters of this war have not been seriously addressed unless you're willing to go back beyond 2006. I'm referring to the print edition. That's what people pay for. That's what college libraries stock. And on college libraries, let me drop back to 'back in the day.' You read something in the college library against the illegal war, you left it on the table open. Someone coming along after might read it. Today, if you read one of The Nation's online exclusives, you can't get the word out by leaving the computer on that page. Each student logs in and logs out and there's a time limit at most (if not all campus libraries) so if you leave the page up without logging out, the computer will time out on you automatically.

Students have talked of leaving magazines open this year at many of the colleges we've visited and that's The Progressive, etc. The Nation has not been mentioned in that regard and, among students focused on the illegal war, it has the worst campus reputation.

Early on Clear Channel and Cox saw that censorship would take place. Would it still today? Who knows but the lesson was sent out. (Or the orders were sent out, if you prefer.) So forget about the popular station that can spin the tunes and have a dee jay speaking against the war.

Pacifica? Have they ever sat out a war so much? I'm not remembering this inaction during Vietnam and certainly not since. The undeclared, illegal wars in Latin America prompted programs such as UnderCurrents. The first Gulf War got its own program. We're past the four year mark on this illegal war and Pacifica has still not offered a program devoted to the war.

The Nation's the magazine with the highest circulation which is one reason they're noted here (negatively these days). But I didn't create their image on campuses and I long ago gave up trying to defend it. Students are very angry about that magazine and very insulted with what passes as a student left webpage (StudentNation) -- they're quite aware that's a Democratic cheerleading page (well look at who they partnered with). They're very aware that if their campus paper prints a strong article on the illegal war, it's not getting linked to at StudentNation. The Nation is now the left's last weekly. (If you know of another magazine that's a weekly, feel free to note it. I don't.) As a result, they have more opportunities to cover the illegal war so, when they don't, it is noted by students. It becomes "Another issue where the magazine does nothing."

When I first started speaking on campuses (in Feb. 2003 before the illegal war broke out), I could cite many publications and programs. These days, if I want boos and hisses, I will. I'm not there as the advance team for any publication or program. I'm there to speak with students about the illegal war. Long before we started noting the problems with The Nation here, they were popping up at campuses across the nation. In the early days of noting the problems with the magazine (here), I offered it as a warning with the hope that the magazine would get serious (usually presented by me as a belief that serious was just around the corner). It hasn't. I've been speaking on campuses about Iraq for a month longer than the illegal war has lasted. Every month, at least two weeks. (November 2004 may have been only one week, I'm not sure.) I don't go in and give a prepared speech. I don't go in an monopolize the time. I say my bit, depending upon what's going on at that time (and I always work in war resisters). Then, if anyone's with me, they speak. The bulk of the speaking is done by students attending. I'm more interested in hearing what their take on it is, what the issues about the war that they're focusing on are. I have been to every state repeatedly except Alaska (I still haven't gone to Alaska, maybe I should've booked that Nation cruise!).

(That's no offense to anyone who lives in Alaska. I hate the cold and the time for travel -- both to and within -- is just too long. Although the cold is the primary reason.)

Before we began noting the problems with The Nation here, it was already being called out on campus. It goes to media issues.

Iraq gets picked up and then dropped over and over. There is no leadership on the issue (a once a year editorial is not leadership). Students were looking for leadership in the early period of the illegal war (this is probably the middle period of the war, though it would be nice if it turned out to be the ending period). They gave up on that some time ago (which may not be a bad thing) and are becoming their own leaders.

But by failing to cover the peace movement and activism, they created a huge hole in a generation that did not have the organization skills that were part of the peace movement in the '60s.' Back then, you were not only coming off the Civil Rights movement, you also had movement leaders from earlier movements (including labor). And you could read about them easily as well as encounter them personally. Very few student movements since Vietnam have gotten serious attention. (Students activism in the No Nukes movement is not widely covered, etc.) What is covered? The actions that you see today -- actions for disinvestment. Mass mobilization?

Along with organization skills, modeled behavior is important.

But when The Nation elected to write about 'war resistance' in 2007, what did they write about? A petition. Sign a petition. The student movement in Seattle around Ehren Watada didn't get noted. That is a huge and growing movement that can close ports and will be doing a great deal more. You could feel the energy if you were there during the February court-martial of Ehren Watada. I didn't see anyone from The Nation there. We regularly spoke in the Tacoma and Seattle area during that half-a-week. There was passion and interest and independent media covering that could have sparked it elsewhere.

That is what happened throughout Vietnam. A campus did what? Why aren't we doing that? Can we do more than that?

When independent media doesn't cover the illegal war like it matters, it sends a message. (The message these days results not in apathy on the part of students, it results in them turning away from independent media.)

The start and stop coverage is one of the biggest obstacles to this day. But students are becoming their own leaders. (Have been becoming.) And the most covered 'activism' that involves people being out and about remains those nonsense bits by Silent vigils?
We've had enough silence over the last four years and counting. "Light a candle and march silently. Don't call the illegal war out." And then some want to wonder why students aren't doing more? (Without ever giving them credit for what they are doing!) All the support for's meaningless actions (and they are meaningless in terms of activism, it's a memorial, not a demonstration) sends a message.

Students are ticked off now. They're no longer taking their cues from independent media (and haven't been for some time). The Nation is the best known publication. It's not the only one failing. But week after week, it has refused to cover Watada (in print -- a sidebar on Watada after he's called a coward in the main article is not covering Watada), they've refused to write about the US military going into Canada (when Salon's article went up, I thought for sure Democracy Now! would invite the author on, they didn't -- again, it's not just The Nation -- though, in fairness, Goodman has interviewed war resisters -- it should also be noted that
Iraq Veterans Against the War could have used attention to their bus tour via an interview, one may come tomorrow, as it winds down, or after, but it could have used the attention while it was going on). And it's long been noted on campuses, if you're a student working on a campaign for a political candidate you stand a better chance of being covered than any student working to end the illegal war.

Those are the realities and they are realities about many in independent media. If it's a surprise to anyone in independent media, try getting out more.

At this point, the main issue is modeled behaviors, organization skills and leadership. Students are no longer waiting for independent media to provide any of that. They grew impatient, as anyone did those of us no longer young America should be able to remember our impatience, and as much as Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A'Changing" continues to be quoted today, you'd think the older adults could grasp it (and grasp that they have gone from the ones who wished those not lending a hand would get out of the way to becoming the ones very much in the way). That's become the reality of today.

The draft? An easy cop out that really doesn't address the realities of what's going on in the ground in this country today.

The e-mail address for this site is (The Nation didn't e-mail an appeal about the rate hikes in postage. This was noted in the original opening which included six paragraphs after the Sheehan excerpt. Had they sent one, it would have been noted. That may be noted elsewhere in what remains, I'm too tired to go back over it.)