Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Taste Makers, time for you to wake up

Two things I am going to note for recommended reading. First, C.I.'s "Other Items" which deals with Rumsfeld (and others) attempts to use the Hitler motif to smear their opponents. As C.I. rightly points out, there are a number of people who have attacked some on the left for drawing comparisons to Hitler's rise to power and what the Bully Boy has done. You may remember that CBS fired someone, who had a reason to discuss Hitler, he'd made a mini-series on the topic and was promoting it. People screamed, they hollered. He got fired. He wasn't the only one who was trashed. When Kanye West dared to state the obvious ("George Bush doesn't like Black people"), he was trashed by the taste makers. You can compile a long list of those who've been trashed by the tastemakers, people who should have stood up for people speaking the truth. But instead, they wanted to prove their establishment 'cred' by trashing brave voices. Okay, well it's Rumsfeld now. Rumsfeld's the one making the comparison (as C.I. points out, a week after Bully Boy gave comments indicating that those opposed to the war wouldn't be demonized). Where are the taste makers? Where are the ones who just got weak in the knee when someone suggest Bully Boy was a criminal? They were quick to slap and slam West, Harry Belafonte, Susan Sontag, Joe Wilson . . . It's a long list of people who got slammed for not 'watching what they say' and the slams that were the most offensive were the ones that came from the left or 'left.' So where are they now? Are they going to demonstrate that they're concerned with the dialogue or demonstrate that they're full of crap? I'd guess the latter.

Second recommendation is Wally's "ALBERTO SPREADS HIS TORTURED TORTURE 'LOGIC' AROUND!" which will make you laugh but will also walk you through the torture czar -- something some in the press are reluctant to do. [See C.I.'s "NYT: 'As of late Tuesday night, more than 100 people had been killed or found dead' (Paul von Zielbauer)" for how the New York Times cleaned up for Gonzales.]

I've talked before about how people provided cover for the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame here. They attacked Joe Wilson or they sat on information (for years) that citizens had a right to know. They especially had a right to know when the 2004 elections were coming up. Little Matty Cooper and his friends enjoyed slamming Joe Wilson and covering for the Bully Boy and Karl Rove. It goes to many things (for Matty, saving his own butt) but one thing it especially goes to is why Valerie Plame was outed. The press tends to make the end point that Joe Wilson wrote a column about not finding evidence that Iraq had sought yellow cake uranium in Iraq. He was refuting the lie Bully Boy delivered in his State of the Union address. The issue goes from the outing of Plame (in order to get back at Joe Wilson) to the lie itself. Where did it come from? Proving that at least one journalist has stay focused is the next excerpt.

"I Am a Curious Yellowcake" (David Lindorff, CounterPunch):
Now that Dick Armitage has admitted to being the initial source of right-wing columnist Robert Novak's news story outing Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent and wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, it's important to remember what this story is really all about.
The mainstream media has focused on the scandal as a whodunit, all about White House leaks and journalists' unidentified sources, but the real issue has largely been left unaddressed, namely: Why did the White House go to such lengths to try to attack and discredit Wilson, a career diplomat?
To answer that question we have to go back to 2002 and the march to war in Iraq, and to 2003, when the Bush administration was starting to take the heat for its evident failure to find any "weapons of mass destruction" in the defeated land of Iraq, and for the fiasco of the occupation, which was becoming obvious.
As I wrote in Barbara Olshansky's and my book,
The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, May 2006):
"the Bush-Cheney administration, which had its sights set on Baghdad and 'regime change' from the day it took office, was by 2002 well on the way to invading Iraq, and was only looking for ways, to borrow from the Downing Street memo, to `fix the facts' so as to win public support for war. The game plan was to make Saddam Hussein look scary to Americans, and what better way to scare people than to say that this bloody dictator was trying to get The Bomb?"
This propaganda goal was accomplished with the help of a crude forgery of documents which were presented as solid evidence of such an effort.

Dave Lindorff goes further but I'm only providing an excerpt so please use the link.

The illegal war that our country is still engaged in (someone wake independent media) is based on lies. Not "was." Was implies that the press has dug into the lies and exposed them. The mainstream press still doesn't want to do that. (Independent media is apparently sleeping for the most part.) As the country has turned against the war, it may be time for the media to start exposing the lies that led to war. But let's not hold our breaths on that.

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, August 30, 2006. Violence and chaos continue with
CBS and the AP calling the fatalities at 52 and the AFP going with 77. The blink-and-you-missed-it truce (with one militia, the Mahdi Army) is off less than 24 hours after it began reports AFP, South Korea's numbers in the so-called coalition drop, in Australia the Jake Kovco inquiry takes shooting lessons, and the Bully Boy has explained to Brian Williams for NBC Nightly News the key to his failure -- Reuters: "Let me, let me . . . look, the key for me is to keep expectations low."
At that, if nothing else, the Bully Boy has succeeded. Equally disappointing is the puppet of the occpuation, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who spent much of Sunday swearing there was and would be no civil war. Reality has a a way of slapping the Operation Happy Talkers in the face. Where have you gone
Spinmeister William Caldwell IV, an administration turns its frantic eyes to you?
In Baghdad, an explosion at a market has
killed at least 24 and left at least 35 wounded. CBS and AP report that the bomb went off at "one of Iraq's largest markets, where wholesalers sell food, clothing and house products to businessmen and shopper." AFP notes that "[b]ody parts and the remains of those killed and wounded were strewn across the area. Windows of nearby shops were shattered, two cars were ripped apart and popular restaurant blown open."
The bombing of the market wasn't the only Baghdad bombing today. The
BBC notes that three people are dead and 21 injured as a result of a a car bomb "near a petrol station". CBS and AP identify the three dead from that bombing as Iraqi police officers. Before the market blast in Baghdad, a bomb was hidden on a bicycle in Hilla, AFP reports, "that exploded outside the army recruitment centre" killing at least twelve people and leaving 38 wounded. Reuters notes that five members of a family were killed (three women, a man and a child) and two members wounded from a roadside bomb in Buhriz. Southeast of Baghdad, the AP notes: "An Iraqi army major was killed in Kut . . . by a roadside bomb." Reuters notes "two border guards" are dead in Badara from a roadside bomb. The Financial Times of London notes two dead from a bomb in Karrada. Sabah Jerges (Australia's Herald Sun) reports "a bombing in the oil city of Kirkuk" that took three lives.
Check the math, but that should be 52 killed by bombs today. Shootings?
CBS and AP note that Nadiya Mohammed Hassan and her bodyguard and driver were shot-dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes three brothers were shot dead in Numaniya. The BBC reports that, in Baghdad: "Gunmen shot dead three textile workers travelling to work in a taxi". And CBS and AP note: "a civilian driving in his car in northern Mosul was apparently shot and killed by American troops who opened fire when the man's vehicle came too close to them."
You read that right. Possibly, it's Shirley Jackson time.
AFP reports that one person is dead in Samawa and ten wounded after "hundreds of young men" seeking jobs "pelted stones at the building and burnt tyres when clashes broke out between them and the police." Reuters notes the police fired at the crowd. Bullets, stones? Someone is dead. AFP identifies the person as "a volunteer." The Finanical Times (with a Reuters report) notes a witness who says that the person was shot by the police.
Sabah Jerges (Herald Sun) estimates that today's violence resulted in "at least 77 Iraqis" dead. AFP goes with "at least 77" as well.
AFP notes: "five bodies washed up on the banks of the Tigris south of the capital . . . . blindfolded and shot in the head" while Reuters notes two corpses were found ("gunshot wounds . . . torture marks") in Qaim as well as, in Falluja, the corpse "of a civilian . . . found three days after he was kidnapped" and one in Numaniya "bearing signs of torture."
Of course, on Tuesday, a torture czar could be found in Baghdad. The
BBC reports that on the question of torture (which is illegal, though he and the administration appear to have forgotten), Gonzales stated "it is difficult to decide what is appropriate" and that it's "a difficult decision as to where to draw the line" but that "decision will be made by the Iraqi government". So exactly why did he waste US tax payer money going to Baghdad? To meet with "officials at the Iraqi High Tribunal . . . trying ex-leader Saddam Hussein and six others on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity." Possibly he wanted to try out the defense he'll mount in US courts should he ever be held accountable?
Danny Schechter ( notes, "One recent report placed the costs of the war at $1.75 billion per week. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is set to reach $318.5 billion September 30, 2006. With the skyrocketing costs of the war in Iraq, worldwide military spending soared. Wouldn't you think that that alone would have our news media all over the story? If you think that, think again."
Sadly, he is correct. It's been a summer of chasing after a lot of stories, giving wall to wall coverage, and letting a lot drop through the cracks -- mainly Iraq -- and that's true of all media, big and small.
Along with the dropping Iraq coverage, the numbers in the so-called coalition continue to drop as well. The
Korea Times reports that, on Tuesday, people gathered to see off the 1,179 (South) Korean troops headed to Iraq to replace the 1,8000 (South) Korean soldiers who will be returning home. That's 621 more soldiers leaving Iraq then are headed to it.
In peace news,
Sandip Roy (New America Media) spoke with Bob Watada. Bob Watada is the father of Ehren, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. On the issue of Ehren Watada's refusal to serve in the illegal war, his father stated: "It's in the code of military justice, it's in the field manuals that you have a dut to disobey an unlawful order. The Nuremberg Tribunal which we signed on to and probaly drafted parts of, clearly says any military official can be prosecuted if they are complicit in war crimes and clearly we have massive war crimes going on in Iraq today."
Last Thursday night, a military spokesperson noted the recommendation forthcoming re:
Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing: court-martial. That recommendation is now working its way through the chain of command. To weigh in with support for Ehren Watada, Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
In other peace news Michelle Mason has made a documentary entitled
Breaking Ranks. The film premieres tonight at the Montreal World Film Festival. The festival notes: "Breaking Ranks examines the incidence of U.S. soldiers seeking refuge in Canada as part of their objections to the war effort in Iraq. The film documents the experiences of several American army deserters who face one-to-five years prison time if they are deported and convicted of desertion. If however, Canada refuses to deport the soldiers, it faces considerable friction in its relations with the U.S. Filmed in cinema verite style, the film combines personal stories with political, cultural and historical analysis of the issues these soldiers' actions raise for Candada and for its current policies."
Breaking Ranks plays at 9:30 pm at the Cinema Quartier Latin 13 tonight and at 10:00 am at the same location on September 1st. Nelson Wyatt (Candian Press) spoke to filmmaker Mason as well as war resister Kyle Snyder. Mason noted that she had intended to focus on the Vietnam era but when Jeremy Hinzman sought refugee status that changed -- "I realized that was the story to pursue." Snyder tells Kyle Snyder tells Wyatt, "I would rather take jail than go back to Iraq and fight for something that I don't believe in. If I could avoid jail, that's what I'm going to do and I'm going to whatever it takes to do that."
CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast action continues on its 58th day today with at least 4,833 people participating. The action continues through September 21st (International Peace Day) and those who would like to take part can grab a one-day only fast, a one-day a week fast or a mutli-day fast (seek health advice from your provider before embarking on any long term strike). More information at Troops Home Fast. If anyone's suddenly realizing summer is coming to an end and looking for something to do that you can point to with pride and say, "This summer I . . ." consider taking part in the action.
Indybay Media notes that the World Can't Wait has a full page ad in today's New York Times for the October 5Th action. The ad, on page A9, reads: "ENDLESS WARS! TORTURE! KATRINA! THEOCRACY! BRING THIS TO A HALT!" For more, visit World Can't Wait.
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco is on hold.
Belinda Tasker (The Age) reports that those sitting on the inquiry's board as well as the attorneys were busy today receiving gun lessons to attempt to increase their knowledge on some of the issues (such as silent cocking) that have been raised during the hearing. Tasker notes that Thursday, they will be at a shooting range and that the head of the inquiry is upset that images of Soldier 14 were shown on Australia's Nine Networks. For those wishing to see the video, this page has a link. (Soldier 14 is a witness. He's not a victim. We'll put the link up here.) On the issue of Australia's Nine Networks, in May the network conducted a poll and "found 83 percent believe there had been an intentional cover-up over the details of" Jake Kovco's death.