Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bully Boy on the run but the press is too busy playing Red Cross

Saturday. I want to start off with new lyrics that Kat, Jess and C.I. came up with to Paul McCartney & Wings' seventies hit "Band on the Run." If you've missed it, the Bully Boy's cut short his usual Crawford time in August due to the fact that Cindy Sheehan will be there. He's a Bully on the run.

"Bully on the Run" (Kat, Jess, C.I., Kat's Korner):
Safe inside these four walls
Safe inside my bubble
Don't want to see no one nice again
Like you, Cindy, you, Cindy, you.

If I ever get to Crawford
Gonna' sleep it all away
Like a bad hangover
Won't you protect me, Secret Service, if I get to Crawford?
(If I ever get to Crawford).

Well, the movement exploded like a thunder clap
In the summer of 2005
From the first Camp Casey to the second one
She was ruining all my fun.

Bully on the run, bully on the run
And the Secret Service and FBI
They're searching ev'ryone
I'm the bully on the run, bully on the run
Bully on the run, bully on the run.

Well Condi clutched her head and sighed
At what the Mid East had become
And Dick Cheney took to the chat & chews
Snarling "cut & run!" ("cut & run!")

Bully on the run, bully on the run
And the Secret Service and FBI
They're searching ev'ryone
I'm the bully on the run, bully on the run
Bully on the run, bully on the run.

Once I could clear the brush and tell a joke or two
It was a quiet town.
Then the camp set up and they were ev'rywhere
Now no peace can be found.

Bully on the run, bully on the run
And to tell the truth, I hold a grudge
And what's more, I'm pissed and sore
I'm a bully on the run, bully on the run
Bully on the run, bully on the run.

"Band on the Run" is one of my favorite post-Beatles McCartney songs. It's ahead of "Live and Let Die" but right behind "Baby I'm Amazed" (probably tied with "My Love" -- which Cass Elliot does a great version of it which is available on Dream A Little Dream: The Cass Elliot Collection). I read that Friday and laughed, then started singing it to the tune of "Band on the Run."

Bully on the run . . . bully on the run. The movement did explode with Camp Casey and it's due to start back up this month so keep that in mind.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, August 4, 2006 and one of the locations is only a surprise to those not paying attention to yesterday's (US) Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. There was a key section that was
apparently missed by several. Mosul's one of today's hot spots so let's draw back to this exchange from yesterday's hearing:
Senator John McCain: So, General Abizaid, we're moving 7,500 troops into Baghdad, is that correct?
General John Abizaid: The number is closer to 3,500.
[. . .]
McCain: And where are these troops coming from?
Abizaid: Uh, the troops, the Styker Brigade, is coming down from Mosul.
McCain: From Mosul? Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: Uh, the situation in Ramadi, is better than it was two months ago.
McCain: Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: I think the situation in Ramadi is workable.
McCain: And the troops from Ramadi came from Falluja, isn't that correct?
Abizaid: I can't say senator, I know that --
McCain: Well that's my information. What I' worry about is we're playing a game of
whack-a-mole here. We move troops from -- It flares up, we move troops there. Everybody knows we've got big problems in Ramadi and I said, "Where you gonna get the troops?" 'Well we're going to have to move them from Falluja.' Now we're going to have to move troops into Baghdad from someplace else. It's very disturbing.
transcript of this (Congressional Quarterly) can be found at the Washington Post. For audio of the above (most), check out Leigh Ann Caldwell's report which aired on Thursday's The KPFA Evening News and Free Speech Radio News.
Mosul? That's where the 172nd Stryker Brigade (scheduled to be back home before their year deployment got four additional months added to is) was pulled from, Abizaid testified.
Reuters is reporting: "Heavily armed insurgents battled U.S. and Iraqi troops in the restive northern city of Mosul on Friday where at least four policemen, including a top officer and four militants were reported killed."
That is the "strategy" (being generous) and it's the very point McCain was making yesterday. (McCain generally uses that type of observation to support adding more troops to the slaughter, I believe the troops themselves add to the conflict.) The exchange was not heavily stressed in most reporting but McCain was outlining what currently passes for "strategy" in Iraq -- a "strategy" that once again (always) blew up in the military geniuses' (and the administration's) faces.
BBC notes that the US announced last week the withdrawal of 5,000 troops "to re-deploy them in the capital, Baghdad". AP places the figure at 3,500. China's Xinhua notes that "Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, has been a bastion of insurgency against U.S. and Iraqi forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003." Reuters reports that, in Mosul, "authorities have ordered everyone off the streets until Saturday and closed the city's bridges across the Tigris river."
AFP notes that, today, "Mosul woke to a dawn blitz of six bombs and a hail of mortars which killed at least nine police officers and triggered a six-hour gunbattle in which an unknown number of insurgents were killed." One bomb, Reuters notes, resulted in the deaths of "police Colonel Jassim Muhammad Bilal and two bodyguards". The Times of London estimates that, in Mosul alone, 24 people died today from car bombs of various kind.
AFP reports a man was shot dead in Amara. The Associated Press reports that two police officers were shot dead in Falluja and describes one of the incidents: "armed men attacked several government buildings and police patrols in central Fallujah at about 8:30 s.m. (0430 GMT), leaving a policeman dead and two others wounded".
AFP notes that a couple enroute to a hospital in Baquba for the impending birth of their child were killed by a roadside bomb (cab driver and mother-to-be's sister were wounded) and that, in Baghdad, a civilian was killed by a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol. Reuters reports that a bombing in Hadhar, during a football game, resulted in 10 dead and 12 wounded. A police officer described the attack ("suicide car bomber") to the AFP: "He drove into the police guarding the pitch, and blew up." KUNA notes of the attack on the football game: "the football field was for the use of Hadhar policemen and police department staff only."
CBS and AP notes one corpse was discovered (in the country). AFP notes the interior ministry declared twelve corpses were discovered in Baghdad. The AP notes that six corpses were found in Kut with "four of them decapitated".
In court news,
prosecutor/Captain Joseph Mackey delivered his closing argument in the Article 32 hearing of Corey Clagett, William Hunsaker, Raymond Girouard and Juston Graber, who stand accused in the May 9th deaths of three Iraqis. Mackey argued that the three Iraqis were not killed while trying to escape but had, instead, been released by the four US troops and then killed by them, "For this they are not war heroes, they are war criminals. And justice states that they face trial." As Reuters notes, all four accused elected not to provide testimony to hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury).
In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco continues.
Eleanor Hall and Conor Duffy discussed the latest development's on The World Today (Australia's ABC) noting that "military standing orders" were not followed with the transportation of Jake Kovco's body (contractors with Kenyon International were used instead) and that, while the Australian government alleges this was for speed, Jake Kovco's roommates say it was due "to cost and they told the inquiry that they thought that if it had been a foreign dignitary or even a more senior officer, that military aircraft and US military morgue would have been used throughout the whole procedure."
For anyone arriving late to this story and wondering why Kovco's destination back to Australia matters, Kovco's body was somehow switched and the body of Bosnian Juso Sinanovic was sent to Australia while Kovco's body remained at the motuary.
AAP notes that Alastar Adams ("first secretary at the Australian Embassy in Kuwait") testified that "he had not checked the photo against the corpse of a Bosnian carpenter . . . he had taken a quick look . . . told the mortuary staff they could close the coffin and stamp it with the embassy's official seal."
AAP also notes the following which appears to back up Kovco's roommates' judgement: ". . . air force warrant officer Chris Hunter told the inquiry he believed the body mix-up could have been prevented if the civilian morgue had not been used. He said Pte Kovco's body was transferred from a professional and clean mortuary facility in Baghdad run by US troops to a rund-down morgue remsembling 'a third world country hospital'. WO Hunter stopped eight of PTE Kovco's soldier mates, who had accompanied the boday as a bearer party, from entering the morgue, fearing they might start a riot upon noticing its condition."
In court news in the United States, the
Justice Department is announcing that Faheem Mousa Salam "has pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by offering to bribe an Iraqi police official" at the start of this year by offering "approximately $60,000 in exchange for . . . [help] facilitating the sale of approximately 1,000 armored vests and a sophisticated map printer for approximately $1 million." Though the Justice Department fails to note it, he was then employed by Titan Corporation.
In peace news, Phil Runkel is in "a federal courtroom in Alexandria" today facing "a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $5,000 for his war protest last March"
reports Dennis Shook for Runkel and other peace activists (51 in total) were arrested March 20th in front of the Pentagon. Brian Huber (GM Today) notes that the activists were wanting to meet with Donald Rumsfeld and that some climbed or went "under a temporary fence that Runkel said was erected to stop them, resulting in their arrests."
Activists on the
CODEPINK and Global Exchange sponsored trip to Amman, Jordan --including Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin, Tom Hayden and Diane Wilson -- have arrived in Amman. Cindy Sheehan (Truth Out) reports: "The most horrifying testimony of the day was when we met with "Dr. Nada," an Iraqi doctor who stayed in Baghdad to help her people during the sanctions and the invasion. She didn't abandon her country, or sell it out like many privileged people who exited during the Baathist regime (like Iyad Allawi or Ahmed Chalabi) or the sanctions ... which she, as a supervisory physician at a major Baghdad hospital, said killed two million children. The children died of pollution and sicknesses from depleted uranium during the first gulf mistake of George the First. The babies died because of the war, but also because there is no medicine and very limited medical facilities to treat them. Dr. Nada brought the daughter of a friend, three-year-old Farrah, who had short brown hair and big brown eyes. There were so many young children playing in Queen airport yesterday when I got here and dozens running around the hotel. My heart almost bursts with sorrow when I think of all of the children in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan who have had such horrible lives and had many of their lives cut short by the evil war machine that seems to be running our world."
Troops Home Fast continues ("We will keep the fast going until September 21, International Peace Day, when there will be a week of mass actions against the war")
with at least
4,350 people participating from around the world on the 32nd day since the action began. Some are fasting long-term, some are grabbing a one-day, one-time fast, some are grabbing a one-day fast each week. More information can be found at Troops Home Fast.
Michelle Tan (Army Times) reports that Ehren Watada will likely face an Article 32 hearing August 17th because Eric Seitz's pretrial offer of a "reprimand, fine and reduction of rank" has not yet been accepted. As noted before, this offer was twice refused. Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."

That is a lot of news and a lot more than I got in the morning paper. (I'm at Trina's by the way, for the Friday discussion group. Let me put something in here, Trina says Wally is the best house guest. She's not had to lift a finger to clean or do the wash all week. She keeps telling him, "You're a guest." But when Mike's in class or at work, he gets bored and ends up helping out. They all pitch in normally so Trina says everyone's having a vacation at Wally's expense.) It amazes me that we still can't get a peace column in any newspaper or magazine (mainstream or independent) because there is surely more than enough to cover in one. You have the group in Jordan -- and did I miss it or is Truth Out the only one really covering that? I'm talking about our left magazines online or otherwise.

Did any reporter, freelance or otherwise, decide to accompany the group to Jordan to report on the meeting? This isn't news?

Or the case of Phil Runkel, that's not news?

It's past time that both the mainstream and the independent media started covering the peace movement (independent news broadcasts already do) regularly. Not an article once a year or twice a year. The peace movement grows inspite of the coverage, not with any help from the media.

This attitude that Iraq can be placed on the backburner because of what's going on elsewhere in the Middle East is a cop out. It's a nice easy out for the Bully Boy as Iraqis die (it's estimated that a hundred die each day) day after day. I don't see anything brave in the coverage I'm getting. I'm pretty disappointed in it.

There's a big rally the weekend of September 21st and we should be building towards that. But by losing focus on Iraq we're hurting that rally and we're providing the Bully Boy with a nice few moments while people demand that the US do something regarding Israel (I believe the government already has, that's how the Israeli government got the impression that their actions would have no consequences).

"Bully Boy! You must do something!"

Takes the pressure off on Iraq which was his illegal war and which has gotten so bad that even Thomas Friedman in yesterday's Times said it was time for a withdrawal from Iraq. But we're not getting that point because a lot of "journalists" are trying to make their name of Israel's actions with really bad coverage. (That's mainstream and independent.) Both are important. Both are not being covered as important. Claude e-mailed me to draw my attention to an hour long broadcast of a news magazine (independent) that covered Iraq on Thursday by . . . mentioning that Donald Rumsfeld might not testify to the Senate Armed Service Committee on Thursday (he did testify).

That's our brave journalism?

Quit kidding yourselves. When things have gotten so bad that War Cheerleader Thomas Friedman says the US needs to pull out of Iraq, you're providing a headline isn't covering it.
This is the moment when the Happy Talk's been exposed as lies, when Operation Happy Talk has gone so bust that even Hillary Clinton says to Donald Rumsfeld that she doesn't want "Happy Talk." Some people have been doing the heavy lifting while you've kidded yourself that you're doing anything. CODEPINK's done heavy lifting, C.I.'s done heavy lifting (and then some) and so have a few others.

But most have acted chickens with their heads cut off. Squawk, squawk. It's as though they rush from one crisis to another. They don't continue the coverage, they're too busy playing the Red Cross to do that. If you're in the news business, you can't afford to let Iraq fall off the radar.
But that's what happened. It hasn't shared focus, it's been pushed off the damn stove.

That's not journalism.

On the Thursday broadcast of an hour long program, Iraq was dismissed at the top of the show, given the same amount of time basically as a Las Vegas law outlawing people from feeding the homeless. That's perspective? That's journalism? Quit kidding yourselves.

We heard about that in last night's discussion group, about how the pressure should be on the Bully Boy to address Iraq. Instead, the same voices that would pressure him over his Bully Boy ways are now pleading with him to do something about Israel. Get real.

The Israeli government is acting with the consent of the administration.

He didn't listen on Iraq, he's not going to listen on Israel.

But he's probably basking in his power over the cries of "do something!" and really grateful that during his vacation the attention is on what the Israelie government is doing as opposed to the fact that his illegal war is destroying the lives of Iraqis.

Possibly, that's why the administration gave Israel the go-ahead -- to take some heat off Bully Boy?

You hear a great deal of talk about our brave, independent media. I'm not seeing it. I'm seeing everyone pushing Iraq to the side to present conversations on Israel.

These are US, domestic programs. They can't address Iraq which results from domestic actions.
They weren't that comfortable addressing it before the Israeli government launched its latest attacks.

If they had been comfortable, you might have seen cover stories on Ehren Watada. But you didn't. You might have seen serious attempts to cover Suzanne Swift's case or the cases of those arrested for protesting (Runkel was one of 51 persons arrested).

You're not getting the coverage you need and don't kid yourself that it's because of Israel. The election in Mexico was an earlier excuse to drop coverage of Iraq.

Supposedly, a lot of people are against it. You don't see that in their actions. They don't make Iraq the focus of their programs or their publications. They do an occasional story and we're all supposed to say, "Wow! Compare that to the mainstream media!"

Why? Isn't the independent media supposed to be better than the mainstream?

How about being good in relation to what you do and not by comparison?

I'm disgusted with pretty much everything, mainstream or independent.

Every day that the war in Iraq drags on, C.I. has several stories to post about. Why doesn't the media (independent or mainstream)?

There's no perspective at all. An illegal war killing a hundred a day (Iraq) is somehow the same as a stupid municipal law that bans the feeding of homeless? That's perspective? Get real.

An interview (that's poorly edited) where the war is mentioned in one response and that's your coverage for the entire issue? Maybe you shouldn't have published.

Without the media, the war has come home. But that moment doesn't even matter now because our independent media isn't even interested in it. People need to get serious real fast.

Mike wrote about "Lotta Links" with over 100 links that found time this one day this week for one Iraq link. Wow. How impressive. (Since Mike called them out, they've added a few more each day. But don't pretend like they're not still wasting everyone's time with nonsense repeatedly.)

Here's what's going to happen if something doesn't change real quick, after Labor Day the big media and the indy will be chasing after domestic election stories. They'll be playing the same game and indymedia will argue "We go deeper." Who gives a damn?

Really, who gives a damn that you offered a few more minutes to horse racing?

People have serious problem with perspective. When, as one so called "news" magazine did, they have time to play a speech to DC crowd that's supposed to be "funny," they have a problem grasping what news is. That was a social function. That wasn't news that needed to be explorded, pondered and applauded. I can remember when Eartha Kitt actually did something, not stood up in front of a crowd and tried to crack wise, and that wasn't treated with as much fawning attention as that bit of nonsese was.

"Oh wow, a comedian told jokes about Iraq to a social crowd! It's incredible!"

People need to get serious. Apparently, "news" is now dropping everything to cover one story. There's no effort to weigh whether the news (or "news") is more important or less. The chasing after Israel's actions at the expense of Iraq, Guantanamo and other equally worthy stories isn't a bit different from cable chasing after a car chase.

It's not news and people need to quit applauding themselves for what they're providing.

I'm sick of it. I'm disgusted with the Iraq war and getting more so with the coverage (lack of it or what passes for it) from so-called independent media. It's gotten to the point that if I see one more double issue of a certain magazine focusing on other things when they've yet to do a single issue focused on Iraq, they're off my list.

I'm speaking with Trina while I'm writing this and keep saying, "I'm serious."

I am serious. It's too bad the media isn't.