First, to a question about yesterday's post ("A difference of opinion"), Ginelle e-mailed and asked if I regretted it because "there were some harsh things in there"? No, I don't regret it at all. Psychologists were attacked. The implication, from the remarks, was that the Hippocratic Oath doesn't apply to us but those upstanding psychiatrists swear to it! Well that's not true. I'll never regret calling out a falsehood especially when I see it as an attack. I also heard from people who wrote e-mails thanking me for it. I think there were six from nurses who appreciated the fact that their profession operates under the same foundation (which it does). The oath, in any form, is rarely sworn to. In it's original form, even less so. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.
"U.S. Refuses to Close Guantanamo" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile the Bush administration is once again rejecting calls to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison following the suicide of three men on Saturday.
State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack: "Look, we have no desire to be the world's jailers. We look forward to the day at some point where it would close down but the fact of the matter is that right now it houses some very dangerous people who right now are not only a threat to American citizens but other people around the world."
Meanwhile in Washington, the Center for Constitutional Rights held a press conference condemning the administration's treatment of detainees at the military base.
Attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez: "It does seem that the administration will continue to try and put a spin on this when I think it's very simple and very clear what happened. We are holding human beings in indefinite detention, with complete uncertainty about their fate, under conditions that are stressful and oppressive. There is a reason why our constitution ensures the rule of habeas corpus, there is a reason why the magna carter incorporates the rights to challenge imprisonment by the king and its because that kind of detention leads to the exact results we saw this weekend, a kind of desperation and futility that would make someone rather die that continue to be held like that."
Rebecca wrote some very nice things yesterday (in "flashpoints this monday had patrick cockburn, michael ratner and more") but I don't feel passionate about Guantanamo. I feel like I'm just this woman screaming, "Why can't you SEE!" over and over. When we endorse this (through word, action, silence, non-action to oppose it), we accept it. This is so vile and disgusting. There's a test that we should all be to perform: Put yourself in their shoes.
If you weren't charged with anything but you were imprisoned, how would you feel? If you were isolated and disappeared, how would you feel? How many days, weeks, months do you think you could hang on before you lost all hope? When that point came, what would you do?
That's what the hunger strikes were about, that's what the suicides were about.
It is worth trashing our own humanity and decency to continue this immoral prison? What does that say about you if you stay silent?
Religious Leaders Call on U.S. To Abolish Torture
Twenty-seven religious leaders including megachurch pastor Rick Warren and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, have signed a statement urging the United States to "abolish torture now -- without exceptions." The group’s statement appears in a series of newspaper ads bought by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. The statement reads in part "Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation."
Bully Boy refused to meet with religious leaders before the illegal invasion. He's ignored requests and condemnations from other nations (and the European Union thinks Guantanamo needs to be closed as well). He doesn't care. That's not because he lives in a bubble, that's because he really doesn't care. Whether it's being taught at a young age that death is ignored or mocking a prisoner he executed as governor, he doesn't give a damn. It doesn't reach him on any level in his state of delusion.
We'll have the "Iraq Snapshot" in a minute but I want to note Aaron Glantz, author of How America Lost Iraq, was interviewed by Philip Malderi and Andrea Lewis on KPFA's The Morning Show today. His book is now out in paperback and he spoke of how he thought "the mood in this country has changed tremendously in the last year." He's been doing radio appearances (and I'm sure in-store ones as well) around the country. He spoke of the reaction in Boulder, CO when he was on a radio program there. The callers were not screaming, "How dare you!" They were eager to talk about the war. I think everyone is except for the elected leaders and the mainstream media.
Philip Maldari brought up a House resolution that Republicans want to push in the House. They're attempting to tie in the p.r. slogan of "support the troops" with the war and hoping to force anyone too cowardly to stand up straight into voting it. Glantz said that Democrats should stand up (it was noted that Barbara Lee was ready to and ready for a discussion of the war in Congress) and that, if they did, they would "get some points for it." That is true. Everyone outside of DC and the mainstream media would like a serious discussion of the illegal war.
He noted that Ramadi is under the radar and that we turned Falluja into "a graveyard" and "we are about to do the same thing in Ramadi." He explained that 400,000 people live in Ramadi which US forces began surrounding last week. The military has cut the water, cut the electricity, cut the phone service. "It doesn't look good" for? Obviously those living in Ramadi. But it also doesn't look for Americans and Glantz made that point very strongly. If another Falluja (or Haditha) happens, that only turns the Iraqi people against the US even more. Every slaughter, every violation may get a shrug in this country but it is noticed there. This is not a way to win "peace." Nor are the plans for Baghad (read on). What should the US do at this point? Glantz satead that "the situation if we stay is that it will continue to get worse."
"Iraq Snapshot" (The Common Ills):
In the United States, Suzanne Swift was arrested Sunday. Swift, 21, served one tour of duty in Iraq. The military listed her as AWOL. Sarah Rich, Swift's mother, has stated, "she went to Iraq once and she was my hero she decided not to back and she's even more my hero."
Meanwhile in Iraq, it's time for another quick photo-op as Bully Boy primps in the Green Zone. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, Bully Boy "flew eleven hours to spend less than five hours." Lupien also noted that "Today's visit is Bush's second since the invasion" referring to his Nov. 2003 Thanksgiving visit which was "confined to the airport and limited to several hours." The visit, which is sure to provide distraction and suck up real news time, was unannounced -- with occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki being given only five minutes notice. As Aaron Glatnz declared to Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari, also on today's KPFA's The Morning Show,"It doesn't change anything."Glantz, journalist and author (How America Lost Iraq), was speaking of Zarqawi's death, but may as well have been speaking of Bully Boy's latest publicity stunt. As Glantz noted, "15,000 Iraqis in prison without charges, no electricity . . . water" -- that's reality. Andrea Lewis asked why the electricity was still now workable (over three years after the illegal invasion was launched). Glantz explained, "Your tax dollar is not going into rebuilding Iraq. It's going to the military and Haliburton . . . 100 million is going to build a new prison."
CNN's Nic Robertson took a look at the business of war. Robertson found that "private military contractors are earning billions of dollars in Iraq -- much of it from U.S. taxpayers" and that business is so good for Blackwater that it's expanded with a new headquarters in North Carolina.War's good for the financial profits of some and for Bully Boy photo ops within the safety of the Green Zone, it's not good for Iraqis or American forces. Yesterday, the official fatality count for American troops was eight away from 2,500 and today the number stands at 2,497 -- three away. The number of Iraqis?As Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) noted on yesterday's Flashpoints, no numbers, only estimates/guesses. (My own? Half a million. And Rebecca noted Cockburn's appearance here.) Deaths when covered often come with vague details. Last month, Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, thirty-five and pregnant, was killed along with Saliha Mohammed Hassan as Nabiha's brother attempted to drive her to the hospital. Reporting for IPS, Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed have found those who dispute the official press releases. A human rights investigator maintains "that both women were shot in the back of the head by U.S. snipers." Redam Nisaif Jassim, brother of Nabiha and driver of the car, states "The Americans offered me 5,000 dollars" but he declined.Not even photo-ops stop reality so the chaos and violence continued across Iraq. All the usual features of the illegal occupation were present today. Corpses discovered? In Baghdad, the Irish Examiner reports that eight corpses were found. The AFP reports: "A professor at the College of Engineering was shot dead" and that the corpse count had climbed to fourteen ("shot . . . signs of torture"). Reuters identified the professor: Muthana Harith Jassim. CNN identified him as Hani Aref Jassim.
Car bombs and roadside bombs went off throughout Iraq. In the most noted incident, Kirkuk saw several explosions. Among the sites targeted in Kirkuk, the Associated Press notes "an insititute for the disabled." The AFP estimates the day's death toll to be "[a]t least 32 people" throughout Iraq while CBS and the AP estimate that it was "more than 50" were killed today. The Telegraph of London reports that bombings also took place "in Mosul, Tall Afar and Baghdad."
Attacks on police? Many. Two, noted by Reuters, were in Kut where one was killed (two wounded) and in Kerbala which took the life of "a police captain and wounded 2 of his bodyguards." CNN notes one police officer killed ("five others wounded") in Baghdad.Wednesday will mark the much touted occupation puppet's attempt at a "crackdown" on Baghdad. The Associated Press reports that "tens of thousands of Iraqi and multinational forces" will be "securing roads, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes" Expect more chaos and violence for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, questions are being asked regarding the statements of Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affiars of Ireland. As RTE News reports, Ahren has stated that the civilian aircraft "carrying a US marine who was in military custody" which landed at Shannon Aircraft did so without "the consent of the Irish Government." Questions also exist as to the identity of the US marine, why he or she was being transported through Shannen, and why he or she was in "military custody."