Rebecca wants it noted that Janis Karpinski is the guest on KPFA's Flashpoints tonight. She's talking about the events (especially the humiliation and torture of women prisoners in Abu Ghraib) and Dennis Bernstein (host of Flashpoints) is prompting her to connect the dots on the chain of command to the top. The interview's going on right now. (I just started listening.) If you miss it use the archives at KPFA or at Flashpoints.
"Iraqi Ambulance Worker Killed By US Security Contractors" (Democracy Now!)
Meanwhile, an unidentified Iraqi ambulance worker was killed Tuesday when he was shot by a group of American security contractors. The worker's colleague, Abu Ali, described the attack: "We were driving here to deliver a case (to the hospital) when a bomb went off close to a passing convoy of Americans. They (the Americans) opened fire on him, shooting him in his heart. Their sniper shot him twice and one of them in his heart. What is his crime? We are ambulance drivers who help people during attacks. What have we done wrong?"
Another death, another Iraqi death, that shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have happened because the administration should never have launched an illegal war based on lies. It shouldn't have happened because we shouldn't be occuyping Iraq. Finally, it shouldn't have happened because there are rules of engagement and you do not target health care providers.
"Lt. Gen. Sanchez Told Troops To “Go To Outer Limits” With Detainees" (Democracy Now!):
Back in the United States, the release of thousands of de-classified military documents is raising new questions about the role of senior army commanders in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. According to the ACLU, the documents show Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former top U.S. military commander in Iraq, urged his troops to "go to the outer limits" to extract information from prisoners. Previously released documents have linked Sanchez to the use of army dogs during interrogations.
I heard Janis Karpinski tell Dennis Bernstein that Sanchez sidestepped a question in front of Congress. They need to call him back to testify. If you're wanting to know about that, you can listen to tonight's Flashpoints. Rebecca will be writing about the show (for the whole week) tomorrow. C.I.'s long argued (with each development) that the news, if it's put into context (which the corporate media doesn't do) leads straight up to the top. If Bully Boy and the others want to play the I'm-A-Dope card, that's not a get out of jail free card. If they don't want to take responsibilty for their crimes, then they're still guilty of dereliction of duty.
C.I. e-mailed an article that Mia noted and then called Sunny to ask her to tell me to check my e-mail. I did at lunch and read it with amazement. What?
"Out of Iraq, Into Darfur" (Gary Leupp, CounterPunch):
For many months now I've occasionally received emails asking me, "Why are you spending so much time attacking Bush Middle East policy, and ignoring the atrocities in Darfur?" There are many reasons I haven't written on it, including the fact that I put opposing imperialist wars with their murderous consequences at the top of my list of things to do in my spare time, and the fact that I haven't much studied the situation in Darfur. But I've sensed for awhile that some forces are using the alleged "genocide" in that region to divert attention from the ongoing slaughter in Iraq (and ongoing brutalization of the Palestinians by Israel), and to depict another targeted Arab regime as so villainous as to require what the neocons call "regime change." They've mischaracterized the conflict as one between "Arabs" and "indigenous Africans" whereas (as I understand it) all parties involved are Arabic-speaking black Africans---"Arab" "African" and "black" being distinctions more complicated than most Americans realize.
I'd ask those holding those signs yesterday to recall that in November 2001 a general at the Pentagon told Gen. Wesley Clark that in the wake of 9-11 the administration had "a five-year campaign plan" to attack not only Afghanistan but "Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Somalia." I'd ask Working Assets to observe that the Iraq War it opposes and the Sudan intervention is endorses are in fact part of that same empire-building campaign plan.
Last June a UN commission determined that what has been taking place in Darfur, however awful, does not constitute a genocidal policy by the Sudanese government. But Washington decided otherwise, and used the highly emotional concepts of genocide and "holocaust" to describe the situation.
Leupp's written an amazing article. I can imagine the heat he will take for it. (Judging by the e-mails that were sent to C.I. by people outside The Common Ills community, he will take heat for it.) I think every word he wrote needed to be written. Read the article and, remember, we're addressing Sudan at The Third Estate Sunday Review this Sunday. Jim really wishes C.I. would address it at The Common Ills right now. But it fits into another feature that will go up there so C.I. is holding off. (C.I. asked us to think about something on Sunday and we did. We'll present it Sunday.) But knowing Jim was on C.I.'s case to do it now at The Common Ills, I laughed when I realized that was the highlight Mia had sent. There's not been a lot of writing about this issue. There's been a lot of "Get on the Force Wagon!" cries. I am very disappointed that Working Assets is joining the Force Wagon crew.
Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. For the Force Wagon crew, a little reality:
"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now! the case of Sami Al-Arian," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continues.
Corpses turned up throughout the day in Baghdad. The Associated Press began the day noting the discovery of fifteen bodies. Mark Willacy, with Australia's ABC, noted 34 corpses. The number would climb further, reaching 36 corpses, as noted by AFP. Jim Muir of the BBC noted that the first 14 corpses (found "blindfolded, bound and showed signs of torture") bore the "hallmarks . . . of a sectarian attack." Al Jazeera notes the '[h]undreds of bodies . . . discovered across Iraq in recent months, apparently part of a wave of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims that has ripped through the country since the bombing of a Shia shrine in February." In Nibai, three corpses were found Tuesday ("tortured and shot"). Today, in Tikrit, "[a] roadside bomb exploded near an elementary school for girls."
Also updated since this morning is the death toll from the suicide bombing in Falluja. Reuters reports that the number killed has now reached at least 18. Reuters notes Dr. Bilal Mahmoud who says that twenty additional people were wounded and "most" remain in "critical condition." In Baquba, CNN notes, the death of one police officer and another left wounded from gunfire. Reuters notes that as well as another death of a police officer with three more officers wounded while attempting to disarm a bomb.
Australia's ABC notes the death of four college students in Baghdad. "[I]nsurgents . . . set up a checkpoint and stopped a bus full of college students . . . then dragged four students off the bus and shot them in the head by the side of the road." Also in Baghdad, college professor Riyadh Hadi was shot "oustide the University of Mustansiriya." Iraqi police reported the death (by gunshot) of Jawad Kadom -- "the No. 3 official in Iraq's electricity ministry." Finally in Baghdad, "[t]he driver and two escorrts of the deputy speaker of Parliment, Khalid al-Attiya" were shot by . . . Iraqi sodliers who maintain the vehicle refused to stop at their checkpoint.
In Najaf, families of the 15 missing police officers demonstrated demanding answers.
AFP notes that the freeing of Rene Braeunlich and Thomas Nitzschke, the two German hostages freed yesterday, has led to reports in the German press "that money had been paid to secure their release." CNN notes that: "The Foreign Ministry would not disclose details of their release, citing standard policy." The men were kidnapped on January 24th.
Jake Kovco was the first Australian soldier killed in Iraq. In news from Australia, Paul Pardoel, the first Australian pilot killed in Iraq, suffered a death that could have been prevented, "British pilots say", "if the plane had been fitted with a safety device." The Sydney Morning Herald reports: In a statement, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) acknowledged that the RAF board of inquiry into the crash had found the lack of a fuel tank inerting system had been among the contributing factors.
Finally, Ewen MacAskill is reporting "US forces are switching tactics in Iraq to take a less confrontational approach to civilians in response to criticism from British military commanders that they have been too tough" (Guardian of London).
Peace quote? Reality quote? There's both in Rebecca's "goldie's (and marlene's) house party last weekend to end the war" so please read that.