This won't be much. Rebecca's doing a post and asked C.I. and to do one as well to send the message that the community doesn't need to worry about her. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts which will be more than I have to offer (I've read his post, you should as well).
"Lynne Stewarts Ask Court if Gov’t Illegally Spied On Her" (Democracy Now!):
There is an update in the case of Civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart -- she is the New York attorney convicted of terror-related charges for her work representing her imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Stewart filed court papers on Monday seeking to learn whether any warrantless or illegal electronic surveillance was conducted on her or anyone involved in her case. Stewart maintains that the government's case against her would be compromised if it engaged in illegal surveillance. The Bush administration has already admitted it monitored jailhouse conversations between Stewart and her client.
Stewart broke no law. She may have broken an agreement and for that she was sued (and convicted) in criminal court. Of course, Janet Reno had looked into the matter and didn't find anything worthy of prosecuting. That's right, her conviction under the Bully Boy's Justice Dept. is for an action that took place under the Clinton administration. She read a press release to a reporter. I think that's what they "got" her on. This wasn't about justice. What it looked like was attempting to silence dissent and make an example of what bullies they could be with a big name to do it in order to frighten attornies all over the country. I hope they did spy on her and that, in discovery, that and anything else her attornies learn lead to the conviction being tossed.
"U.S. Soldiers Charged With Murdering Iraqi Detainees" (Democracy Now!):
Three U.S. soldiers have been charged in connection with the killing of three Iraqi detainees last month in the town of Thar Thar Canal. The soldiers -- all members of the 101st Airborne Division -- reportedly detained the Iraqis during a raid on a former chemical factory. Then the soldiers allowed the Iraqis to flee the scene so they would have an excuse to shoot them. The men are also accused of threatening to kill another soldier if he assisted investigators.
Is there a reason that Congress isn't exploring this instead of posturing over who loves war more? Were they informed of the alleagations? (They do have oversight of the war itself though Bully Boy would prefer they not use it.)
Okay, I'm at Rebecca's. We went with her to the hospital today (Flyboy, C.I. and myself). I kept offering to come in early yesterday and stay the night and she kept saying "no." I'm not sure if I misread her or not. C.I. did come in last night (despite her saying not to, which C.I. and I both knew was her worrying about the long flight -- I'm close enough that I can drive here in about an hour). But C.I. brought ice cream and tabloids. That was something from college. There's a whole story behind that. Flyboy said Rebecca was on the phone with Kat when he and C.I. walked in and Rebecca started to gripe when C.I. waved the tabloids, then she burst out laughing.
I think it was actually Rebecca who started that. One of us was down about a break up (probably me -- I think C.I. always did the breaking up) and Rebecca knew "just the thing" that would make us all feel better. Laughing at the supposed miseries ("supposed" because it's tabloids) of others. I remember there was an alien story. (Back then, they all carried alien stories.) And we grabbed some ice cream and offered our own idea of what would happen if we met an alien. After that, it became a standard for whenever one of us was low -- go get ice cream and tabloids.
We'd laugh at the advice columns (most of them were so mean spirited) and check the conflicts in each one's horiscopes (for our signs only). Flyboy said that they were up until two laughing. Rebecca is a grouch in the morning, always. But she was in a good mood (despite being on her first cup of coffee) when I walked in this morning. She gave me a quick "greatest hits" of the tabloids. Then we went to the hospital and spent hours there. I brought a book but ended up talking with C.I. and Flyboy the whole time. I wasn't into reading today. (I'm a huge reader but not today.) Mike's written what Rebecca wants noted in his "Iraq, Watada, Rebecca and Dave Zirin."
I just asked C.I., "Aren't these supposed to be 'easy' entries?" C.I.'s making phone calls for research. C.I.'s response, "I won't do links." I'd argue that point but that means I can pass that off as official policy for our three entries.
Tonight, after we post, we're going to watch one of Rebecca's favorite movies, eat popcorn and stay up late.
I cancelled appointments for today and tomorrow in case it was needed. We're going to spend some time together until they fly out (Rebecca and Fly Boy are going back with C.I.) to do a mini-vacation before a planned one. I'll be driving home and then disappearing into the tub.
I really don't know what to say here. I told Rebecca that but she wanted everyone to realize the community's fine and for everyone "to find a new topic" to talk about. I think I'm going to wrap this up. I'll take a shower and get the popcorn and other junk food ready. (Mike e-mailed me the headlines. I haven't read a paper or watched anything today. If Bully Boy invaded Iran, I missed it.)
"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: New Orleans teachers fired, Bill Quigley; TARIQ ALI on KPFA's Against the Grain," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Outside of Iraq?
As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, "the so-called coalition of the willing continues to shrink:" Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister of Japan, declared that Japanese troops are leaving Iraq by "year's end.". Reuters notes that, although no Japanese troops were "killed or wounded in Iraq," "six Japanese citizens, including two diplomats, have been killed by insurgents in Iraq." China's Xinhau reports that the prime ministers discussed the intended withdrawal "with leaders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties" on Tuesday morning "shortly before the announcement." As Amy Goodman reported, Japan joins Italy with the announcement of pulling troops out by year's end and that "Spain, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Nicaragua, the Philipines and Honduras have already pulled out." Noting "Japan's Kyodo news agency," the Financial Times of London states the withdrawal "process could be completed by the end of July." Xinhua notes the same possibility and credits word on it to "Japanese government officials."
While Japan prepares to remove troops from the ground in Iraq, in the United States, a watered-down, weaker version of John Kerry's call for US troops out of Iraq is allowing for posturing. Caterwauling on the Senate floor today, Bill Frist exclaimed, "We cannot surrender. We cannot go wobbly. The price is far too high." Possibly a mantra he once repeated to himself while dissecting felines? Meanwhile, always one to run from a fight, Harry Reid's less concerned with exit plans for the US, and knowing there's no democracy in Iraq, focuses instead on a possible amnesty plan Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki. Adnan Ali al-Kadhimi was fired/resigned following his comments to the press regarding the potential plan. But it's a nice, dead-hypothetical to rage and rattle about as opposed to dealing with reality. In other news on the spineless, John Walsh (CounterPunch) reports that what recent book sales didn't get across, phone calls might have -- Baby Cries a Lot took three calls complaining about his War Hawk position on the war. Walsh does not note if Baby Cries a Lot attempted to garner sympathy by sobbing, breaking into tears or using his own children to justify an ongoing war (children who do not and have not served in Iraq or, for that matter, the military). In non-spineless news, AP reports that Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold and John Kerry "intend to push for a vote on their own proposal."
In Seattle yesterday, Sara Jean Green reports: "Ann Wright appeared with 1st Lt. Ehren Watada and his parents at a news conference at University Lutheran Church to announce a national day of action June 27, when anti-war demonstrations will be held in cities across the country in support of Watada." Green reports that Wright, "retired army colonel and former State Department official," will appear at a "news conference today at University Lutheran Church on behalf of another Fort Lewis soldier, Suzanne Swift". Watada, whose parents joined him for yesterday's news conference, is the first commission officer to refuse deployment in Iraq. Click here to sign an online petition supporting Watada. Suzanne Swift was arrested last week after deciding she couldn't return to Iraq and going AWOL.
In Iraq, as reported by Jonathan Finer (Washington Post), Kristian Menchaca and Thomas L. Tucker, two US soldiers who were abducted last Friday, were found dead "near a power plant in Yusifiyah." The discovered corpses are said to have signs of "barbaric" torture. Meanwhile, the Mujahedeen Shura Council is claiming credit for the deaths. The Financial Times of London concludes: "The news will tarnish the positive image US and Iraqi officials have been projecting recently of a government that is gradually getting to grips with the security situation and turning the tide against the insurgents."
Other corpses were discovered in Iraq today, Reuters notes that two were found in Hilla ("blindfolded and hands tied") while in Baghdad, five corpses were found ("handcuffed with gunshot wounds in the head").
Bombings? Baghdad saw a series of bombings. RTE News reports on one near "a second-hand clothes market in central Baghdad" which resulted in at least two dead and and at least 28 wounded. Al Jazeera notes that roadside bomb as well as a cra bomb "in a a crowded market in the eastern district of Jamila in Baghdad" that left seven dead and 18 wounded. The BBC reports that, in Basra, "at least one elderly woman was killed along with a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside a home for the elderly". Reuters notes that five others were wounded. Another car bomb went off in the Hurriya district of Baghdad "killing at least five people and wounding 11".
Reuters reports that while the US miliatry is saying Ramadi is not the target for a major offensive, the Red Cross has "voiced concern on difficult living conditions in Ramadi". Reporting for IPS, Dahr Jamail and Ali Fdhil write: "A week spent in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, reveals that residents are suffering from lack of water, electricity, cooking gas and medical supplies for the hospitals. The streets are eerily empty, and it appears that many people have now left the city, althought possibly as many as 150,000 still remain in their homes, either because they are too afraid to leave or they have nowhere to go."
As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show the US military is claiming an exchange was aimed at insurgents with 15 dead while Iraqi witnesses disputing the official (US) account*. The exchange took place in Bushahin ("village . . . north of Baghdad") The AP reports that "AP Television News footage showed blood splattered on the ground and matresses and spent bullet casings inside a poultry farm, where residents said the civilians were killed." Reuters quotes Mohammed Jaba al-Qaduir, father of Jassem and Mazen killed in the raid, "They did not attack any Americans or Humvees. We don't have any problems with the Americans. We don't have any foreigners here." Reuters mentions that one of the corpses, according to a "police source" was that of a twelve-year-old boy."
Finally, Barbara McMahon, Michael Howard and Julian Borger report (for the Guardian of London) that four prosecutors in Rome have signed "[t]he request to charge Mario Lozano, a national guardsman from New York, with the murder of Nicola Calipari." As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "Calipari was escorting Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena after she had been released by kidnappers. U.S. troops opened fire on their car killing Calipari and injuring Sgrena. . . . Tune in to Democracy Now on Thursday when Giuliana Sgrena joins us in the Firehouse studio." Also remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
*Thanks to Zach and Mia for passing on the Lupien item.