Monday, October 02, 2006

Darrell Anderson, Iraq, Foley and Woodward

Darrell Anderson is back in this country after going to Canada when he self-checked out of the military. Anderson was and is a war resister but you may not know that because there hasn't been a great deal of coverage. At work, Sunny and I made the mistake of listening to Democracy Now, thinking it might offer a report on Anderson. Instead, Anderson was reduced to a headline so that audiences could get a lengthy "sneak peak" at a special supposedly airing on PBS Wednesday. Supposedly? Amy Goodman said it airs on Wednesday. PBS does not have a national schedule. Each public television station determines its own schedule. Why an audience needed all those clips, I have no idea. Or rather, why it was thought that a PBS special needed to be advertised so heavily, I have no idea. This wasn't a report that was being hidden in the American media, it will air on PBS. So to me, it was a waste of time. A conversation with Moyers and one clip, possibly. But when you have war resistance building and you reduce Anderson to a headline, and not even the lead headline, maybe you're not doing your job? We listened only because we thought there would be a report on Anderson. After a half-hour we switched it off and spent the rest of lunch talking about things other than programs that would be airing on PBS this week. (Or next week in some markets.) For Mike's thoughts, please visit Mikey Likes It!.

"Court Stenographer Finally Comes Clean" (Mike Whitney, CounterPunch):
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward can always be counted on to tell the truth-- after all the other options have been exhausted. His new book,
State of Denial, doesn't veer too far from the pattern he's followed his entire career; one minute he's the "kingmaker" dishing up hearty-helpings of literary tripe like "Bush at War" and "Plan of Attack" and the next minute he's ramming a scimitar into the lower lumbar region of his prey.
That's Bob, the consummate insider and part-time assassin whose real job is not to maintain an "informed public" or preserve the free flow of information, but to use the privately-owned media in a way that serves the exclusive interests of the ruling elite.
Most of what Woodward said on 60 Minutes was accurate and interesting. Bush has deceived the American people about the slow-rolling catastrophe in Iraq. He's obfuscated the truth about the 800 to 900 attacks on American troops per week and, yes, Rumsfeld is the greatest bungler in the history of the Republic. But why has Woodward decided to spill the beans now? And, how long has he been withholding this information from the public? (some of the crucial details date back to 2003!?!) And why would Woodward organize a book tour that is clearly designed to obliterate Bush's credibility just 6 weeks before the election?
Woodward speaks for establishment elites who have stood on the sidelines cheering on the war-effort regardless of the rivers of blood coursing down the streets of Baghdad. He doesn't care that people are blown apart in their homes as long as it serves the overall interests of a small cadre of white plutocrats. What affects Woodward's delicate sensibilities is the inefficiency of the slaughter which has yet to produce the desired results. That's why the gloves have come off. That's why he's been employed to mug the muggers and kill the killers.

Like a lot of people, I'm not buying this Bob Woodward as the savior of journalism. He's too many years late and a lot more seems to be going on then makes it into print. We worked on a feature about this, so please check out "The lost chapter to State of Denial" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). He is, and always will be, the man who sat on the outing of Valerie Plame and then took to the airwaves, pretending not to be involved, telling the nation that her outing wasn't an important issue. He only came forward after Scooter Libby was indicted. Honestly, he never needed to come forward. I could have cared less. But the fact that he took to the airwaves to tell people the outing wasn't a real issue changed that. Had he kept his mouth shut, that would have been one thing. But what he did was lie by omission when he pretended to be a disinterested party.

A lot is coming out lately.

"Coulter spinning on Foley scandal" (Media Matters):
On the September 30 edition of Fox News' The Big Story Primetime, right-wing pundit
Ann Coulter claimed that reports that the GOP leadership was previously aware of communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly had with underage congressional pages are "somewhat incredible," asking: "Why wait until right before the election to let it break?" and dismissing such reports as gossip, saying: "It's something you hear." In fact, Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY), head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, issued a statement confirming that he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) about the Foley situation months ago. House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) reportedly acknowledged telling House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) about the Foley situation months ago. (Boehner has also reportedly claimed he did not remember telling Hastert this, and later changed his story once again, claiming that he had not told Hastert anything.)
Also, host John Gibson and Coulter claimed that Foley has withdrawn from the race. In fact, Foley's name will have to
remain on the ballot, although any votes cast for him will go to whomever Republicans choose to run in his stead.

For a humorous look at the Folely topic, see Wally's "THIS JUST IN! TAKE HIM OFF YOUR AOL BUDDIES LIST!" and Cedric's "Mark Foley Texts! (humor)" and, while you're laughing, please read Betty's "Islam and the Dope (Thomas Friedman)" -- her latest chapter.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, October 2, 2006. Chaos and violence continue, a war resister who self-checked out prepares to turn himself in;
World Can't Wait prepares for October 5th's day of mass resistance; Iraq's parliament once again extends its state of emergency; Rummy loves Bully Boy, Bully Boy loves Rummy; Australians reject the war in Iraq; and a 68-year-old grandmother fasts -- longterm fast -- to protest the administration and because she's not seen signs that a real resistance to them is taking place in the United States.
On Saturday, war resister Darrell Anderson returned to the United States after moving to Canada in January of 2005 when facing a second deployment to Iraq. Earlier, Darrell Anderson had been injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq and been awarded the Purple Heart.
Lynne Olver (Reuters) quoted Anderson stating: "I believed it was my human right to choose not to kill innocent people." Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) noted that Jim Fennerty (Anderson's lawyer) was told by "an officer at Fort Knox" that Anderson would not be court-martialed, that there were "plans to release him within three to five days," and that "the officer told him that a discharge would be mailed to Anderson within a few days after that." As the AP notes, Anderson is now headed for Fort Knox where he plans to turn himself in Tuesday.
Darrell Anderson is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Ricky Clousing (facing charges of desertion),
Ehren Watada (the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq) and others. War resister Mark Wilkerson notes four protest songs "that have gotten me through Iraq and through my AWOL experience." Ehren Watada's father Bob Watada this morning began his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son's case. Here are some of Bob Watada's speaking engagements this week:

Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles
Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:

Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class
Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus

Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

Full schedule (PDF format) can be found
here and more information on war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Bryan Bender (The Boston Globe) noted (last week) the Congressional Research Service Report which found that "the Iraq war is now costing taxpayers almost $2 billion a week -- nearly twice as mush as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year". What's that "buying"? Not "democracy," not "liberation."
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that Iraq has again extended the state of emergency powers as it has done each month since the powers were put in place in November of 2004. CBS and AP note: "The measure allows for a nighttime curfew and gives the government extra powers to make arrests without warrants and carry out police and military operations."
AP reported that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would not resign and that he has the support of the Bully Boy as Bob Woodward's latest book (State of Denial) proves the stenographer giveth and the stenographer taketh away. Dan Bartlett stated publicly yesterday that Bully Boy "serves at the pleasure of the" Bully Boy and that Bully Boy enjoys Rummy's "bedside manner". Bartlett should have more to do, as Bully Boy's attorney, than offer the public updates on Love In a Time of War especially at a time when the American people have firmly turned against the war in Iraq. [Those needing more of Woody can click here for text and video of Mike Wallace's interview with him on last night's 60 Minutes.]
A sentiment shared by Australians. A new poll by the Lowy Institute for International Policy has measured Australians' attitudes on the war.
Leigh Sales reported to Mark Colvin (PM, Australia's ABC) that the poll "uncovered an exceptionally negative view of the war in Iraq. 84 per cent of Australians believe the war has not reduced the threat of terrorism, and 67 per cent say it won't spread democracy throughout the Middle East." Australia's Herald Sun reports that Kevin Rudd ("Labor foreign affairs spokesman") states the polling results are indicative of the "commonsense" of the people and that: "What they've seen in the Iraq war is probably the single greatest national security and foreign policy failure on the part of Australia since the Vietnam war."
Failure? Well only if you think continued bombing deaths, shooting deaths, kidnappings and discovered corpses are a failure. Five months away from the four-year mark of the illegal war sold on lies with a trailer that proclaimed it a "cakewalk" and the chaos and violence continue.
On Sunday, a mass kidnapping resulted in 26 workers being kidnapped in Baghdad. Aileen Alfandary noted today (KPFA's The Morning Show) that 7 of those kidnapped have been discovered . . . as corpses. Today saw another mass kidnapping. CNN reports that "at least 14 people" were kidnapped while working in "computer stores in central Baghdad". AFP raises the number of those discovered as corpses (from Sunday's mass kidnapping) to ten and notes this statement from the Iraqi Islamic Party: "The Iraqi Islamic Party asks how could 26 people, among them women, have been transported from Amil neighborhood to Abu Chir (where their bodies were found) through all those Iraqi and US army checkpoints and patrols?"
CBS and AP report four dead and at least thirteen injured in downtown Baghdad from a roadside bomb, an Iraqi soldier dead and two more wounded from a roadside bomb in western Baghdad, three people injured in "northeastern Baghdad" from a roadside bomb, and two people dead and seven injured in in another Baghdad "bomb blast".
Reuters notes one death, in Baghdad, from mortar rounds; and two dead from a roadside bomb in Hawija. AFP notes the death of two driving "trucks carrying petrol for the US army" as a result of roadside bombs in Tikrit.
AFP reports: "Colonel Faris Khali of Iraqi intelligence was driving along in civilian clothes and an unmarked car on a Baghdad highway Monday, when gunmen roared up next to him and shot him dead, said the interior ministry." CNN reports the shooting deaths of two Iraqi police officers (three more wounded) in Kut al-Hay. CBS and AP note a drive-by shooting in Hillah that killed one person and a drive-by in Mosul that killed a police officer. Reuters notes three people shot dead in Ishaqi.
Reuters notes thirteen corpses discovered in Baghdad, four "near Suwayra," and
"[s]even headless bodies . . . hands tied" in Suwayra.
Returning to peace news,
Nicole Brodeur (Seattle Times) notes that Cindy Sheehan will be at Town Hall Seattle Tuesday on her Peace Mom book tour and that local resident Patricia Brooks has been fasting "since Sept. 11" and, the 68-year-old woman states: "And I have said that as soon as I am convinced that this steamroller is going foward with a self-sustaining momentum, I will stop."
Want to try to persuade Patricia Brooks that the people will demand accountability?
World Can't Wait is calling for a day of mass action this Thursday (October 5th). Mathaba News reports, on Sunday, that "In the past 10 days, the number of cities planning protest jumped from 50 to more than 130. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is bolting into place an unprecedented new law which legalizes torture and severely restricts habeas corpus, the basic right to legal redress first established in England with the Magna Carta in 1215." Today Philip Maldari spoke with World Can't Wait's Sergio Andres Garcia on KPFA's The Morning Show noting an event in Oakland (California) this evening which includes participation by Alice Walker, Daniel Ellsberg and Boots Riley (7:00 pm, Grand Lake Theatre, 3200 Grand Ave, Oakland -- donations encouraged -- "between $15 and 50 dollars"). Garcia noted that Thursday's mass resistance events were taking place in 153 cities so the number of areas participating continues to grow. To determine what's going on in your area or for more information visit World Can't Wait.
And those on the fence about participating might want to note Alice Walkers words on the current climate: "An enlightened rage is building in the peoples of the world and it is anti-war. Never before have we seen war so clearly; its horror and stupidity and waste. We watch, those of us in the West, mostly on television, unimaginable blunders of planning and strategy; we walk past our rapidly deteriorating hospitals and schools while reading about the 10 billion a day, or is it a month, or is it a minute, spent on war in what is obviously the wrong country, in a newspaper that reports this news, it seems to us, casually. We feel helpless in that moment, but we do not feel ignorant. That is a great gain." That's from Walker's forthcoming We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness due out in November, an excerpt of which appears in the Fall 2006 issue of
Ms. magazine, pages 66-70 (either just out or about to hit the stands).