What a crappy day. US war resister Kyle Snyder turned himself in at Fort Knox yesterday only to find out later that the arrangement worked out between his attorney and his lawer was all a trick by the US military. That's disgusting. What's more disgusting? That the cowardly media, small, won't address it. Sunny suggested we listen to Democracy Now! during lunch because we thought Amy Goodman would at least provide the one-day-baby-cried-the-day-the-circus-came-to-town coverage. That would be something, right? Didn't happen. He was about four lines in the lengthy headlines and not even important to Democracy When to be their first, second, third, fourth . . . headline.
He was stabbed in the back, but who will talk about that? Well, C.I., of course. We can always count on C.I. but don't call C.I. a journalist unless you want to get an earful. So where's our big, brave indymedia?
Bravery also took a holiday from John Kerry who, instead of explaining his joke, begged forgiveness. Repeatedly.
Don't come begging to me for money in 2008. He can also forget any vote from me. That's even if he gets the nomination, which I don't believe he will now. He cut his own throat today. He's not able to fight for anyone. He's just a walking punching bag with a 'kick me' sign super-glued to his back. Disgraceful.
Bravery? C.I. and Ruth. Did you read "Ruth's Report"? I didn't. I knew the gang had a big party to go to last night so I knew there'd be no post from C.I. last night. I didn't know Ruth was posting. Sunny greeted me with the news about Snyder and, today being the usual morning, I hadn't logged on to my computer before leaving home. I'm reading C.I.'s "Kyle Snyder -- the story most small media couldn't bother to cover yesterday" and see the reference to "Ruth's Report." I say, "Oh there's a new 'Ruth's Report'!" Sunny had seen it last night and said, "I'm not saying one word. Read the whole thing right now. I had about ten minutes before the first appointment so I'm gulping my coffee like it's tequila shots and several times had to cover my mouth to keep from spitting it out. Go, Ruth!
I don't know why that had to be written. I know why Ruth wrote it, and I agree 100%, but I don't know how we got to the point that we have to bird dog independent media the way CODEPINK was doing to Hillary Clinton.
But that's the ugly reality today. Today was one ugly reality after another. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's take on today's events.
"Revealed: US Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques" (Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher via Truthout):
The true stories of how American troops, killed in Iraq, actually died keep spilling out this week. On Tuesday, we explored the case of Kenny Stanton, Jr., murdered last month by our allies, the Iraqi police, though the military didn’t make that known at the time. Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.
She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Az., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a "non-hostile weapons discharge."
She was only the third American woman killed in Iraq so her death drew wide press attention. A "non-hostile weapons discharge" leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials "said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson's own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian."
But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston, unsatisfied with the public story, decided to probe deeper in 2005, "just on a hunch," he told E&P today. He made "hundreds of phone calls" to the military and couldn't get anywhere, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Here’s what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston now works, reported yesterday:
"Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed...."
She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. "But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle," the documents disclose.
The Army talked to some of Peterson's colleagues. Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told E&P: "The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were."
Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, revealing that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide. He has now filed another FOIA request for a copy of the actual note.
C.I. passed that on to me. Martha, Shirley, Eli, Dona, Jim, Ty, Jess, Ava, Keesha, Gina and Kayla all were helping and C.I. was making calls. I'm assuming everyone reading this is a community member. If you're not, C.I.'s not endorsing for 2008. There was no way Kerry's cowardice, his caving, couldn't be commented on because it is Iraq related -- it goes to the way Donald Rumsfeld has degraded the military. There was also no way to comment on it without noting that John Kerry is full of it. Because I donated money to his 2004 campaign, I'm apparently on a mailing list now (snail mail and e-mail). So I hear all about how John Kerry stands up for the military and how John Kerry will not be Swift Boated ever again. What a load of crap.
But because of the no-endorsement policy, C.I. was wondering what members would be comfortable with. The e-mail list was activated with C.I. explaining in the e-mail that you could write as much as you wanted but to get a general feel, put "Yes" or "No" in your e-mail heading. C.I. held the snapshot for hours today to try to give as many people as possible a chance to respond and any member that C.I. had the phone number of got called by C.I.
The consensus was "it's disgraceful, let it rip." Which is what C.I. did. I wasn't surprised to read it. Rebecca and I were in Boston that long night and the next morning when John Kerry proved, to the whole world, that he would cave by conceeding the election before all the votes were counted. I remember the feeling of depression that desceneded. I remember some, usually staffers of the campaign, attempting to put a happy face on it but people weren't buying that. There was no way, after Kerry's bragged non-stop that now, NOW!, he's a fighter, that C.I. couldn't put what happened today into the perspective of 2004.
Kerry's campaign for president is now over. He's just lost the big money donors and he doesn't have the appeal to be a Howard Dean inspiring grassroots. By the way, let me out myself. I was one of the people who supported Howard Dean in the primaries. I still think he would have made a great candidae. When I made my decision of whom to support, I told C.I. Only then did I learn whom C.I. had been donating to for months. When I found out, I started making donations to Dean and Kerry. C.I. found out and told me I was hurting Dean by doing that. "If you believe in Howard Dean, you need to give any donation to him." Which was true. I immediately focused just on Howard Dean. That's been noted before at The Common Ills and, although I don't believe I was the only one C.I. had that talk with, I'll go ahead and own up that it was true of me. After Kerry got the nomination, I gave to his campaign. Never again.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, November 1, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, American commanders appear to just notice that long established fact, Kyle Snyder is again lied to, John Kerry takes himself out of the 2008 race, and October's death toll for US troops continues to rise even though, yes, it is November 1st.
US war resister Kyle Snyder turned himself in at Fort Knox yesterday. After which, David Montero (Rocky Mountain News) reports, the army went back on their deal and Snyder was "shipped from Fort Knox, Ky., to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., possibly to face a full court-martial." Snyder's attorney, James Fennerty, told AP that after Snyder turned himself in, the military attempted to get him "to sign a form that would have hastened his return to his unit" and that "We wouldn't have brought him back here if we knew this was going to happen." As Katya Cengel (Courier-Journal) reports, Fennerty, who also represented Darrell Anderson, has stated, "We're going to make sure nobody comes back from Canada again because we were lied to."
Kyle Snyder self-checked out of the US military after serving in Iraq during which time he saw abuses that were not investigated, his girlfriend lost their baby, and his grandfather returned. In April 2005, he went to Canada. He returned last Saturday and turned himself at Fort Knox yesterday with the understanding that he would discharged.
War resistance within the military is an under-reported story in small media as Ruth, Rebecca and Mike pointed out yesterday. But, in fact, all waves of the peace movement are under-reported in small media. For those within the military considering resistance, Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign are among the resources out there. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
Elizabeth de la Vega (TomDispatch) reported on war resister Ricky Clousing yesterday and noted meeting him at Camp Democracy in September and he reasons that he led him to refuse to fight in the Iraq war and concludes: "Twenty-four years old, Clousing told the world in simple declarative sentences why he had to give up his college money, receive a dishonorable discharge, and go to jail to take a stand against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He'd make a very cool action figure. Come to think of it, Sgt. Ricky Clousing -- tattooed arms, Laguna Beach t-shirt, and all -- would make an awesome shepherd in that manager scene. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are just going to have to move over."
Turning to England, poodle Tony Blair avoided the inquiry into Iraq in the House of Commons. Philippe Naughton (Times of London) reports that Blair says maybe later to an Iraq inquiry "hours after narrowly avoiding defeat on a Commons motion calling for exactly that." Patrick Wintour (Irish Times) reports that the vote has left prime-minister-wannabe Gordon Brown "anxious to restore the authority of parliament, and trust in politicians" so "he will be under pressure to hold an inquest into the wider foreign policy failures of the Iraq invasion." As the Guardian of London notes, the vote was 298 to 273 with "12 Labour MPs" voting "against the government." As noted yesterday, the Farewell Tour isn't going the way Blair's handlers planned it.
Neither is Iraq. From yesterday: "In addition CNN notes that 'at least 40 people' were kidnapped north of Baghdad." CBS and AP note that the 40 kidnappings are confirmed and that the death toll from the bombing of the wedding party yesterday has risen from 15 to 23 "including nine children." In addition, they report that two coaches were kidnapped in Baghdad today "by a group of men in SUVs". The violence and chaos continue daily and, as Michael R. Gordon (New York Times) reported, the US Central Command has just prepared a chart ("two weeks ago") to note that. It takes some a little longer.
Reuters reports many bombs: in Baghdad, 2 car bombs resulted in 7 deaths (and 7 wounded), one minibus bombing resulted in 3 deaths, and 1 roadside bomb resulted in 2 deaths (10 wounded); Ramadi, five dead three wounded from two car bombs; Mosul, two wounded from a roadside bomb; Baiji two wounded from a roadside bomb.
CBS and AP report that Izzaddin Abbas was shot dead in Baghdad and a Ministry of Industry employee was shot dead in Baghdad. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports four shooting deaths in Mosul. In addition, Reuters notes that a policewoman was shot dead in Mosul.
CBS and AP note three corpses were discovered in Baghdad today ("blindfolded and bound at the wrists"). CNN notes that the number of corpses discovered in Baghdad grew to ten. And Reuters then updated to note thirty-five corpses were discovered in Baghdad, nine in Mosul, five in Falluja, and one in Numaniya. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) notes that five corpses were discovered in "the Tigris River near Suwayrah".
In election news, though he may not grasp it, US Senator John Kerry's just taken himself out of the 2008 presidential race. It wasn't the remark he made ("You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."), it was the fact that he went through a variety of positions on it including hedging it, distorting it, saying he wouldn't apologize for it until finally doing just that. And on Don Imus, of all places, where the supposed Fighting John allowed Imus to Swift Boat him with ha-has of "wind surfing" and more. It's over, 2008 is now officially over for John Kerry. Those willing to give him the benefit of doubt despite his caving in Boston in the early morning hours of the day after the election had been told Fighting John would never cave again. "Good of the country" was the excuse that morning. There is no excuse for not fighting this go round, there is only the admission that Fighting John will buckle each and every time and that Fighting John lacks drive, lacks leadership, lacks passion and lacks committment. Send him his "Dear John" letter, it's over.
He was unable to defend either himself or the military he's spent the last few years hiding behind. What should have been an opportunity for the American public to have a serious exchange about exactly what Donald Rumsfled has done to the US military instead became a case of Save-My-Own-Ass.
The conversation will be had and it will be had without John Kerry. As the Miami Herald reported in October of 2005: "Army Secretary Noel Harvey and Gen. Richard Cody, the vice chief of staff, said Monday that the Army is using loose Defense Department rules that permits it to sign up more high school dropouts and people who score lower on mental-qualification tests, but they denied that this meant it was lowering standards." In February of this year, Kelly M. Greenhill penned an op-ed for the New York Times noting: "The Army inducted both more recruits without high school diplomas and more youths scoring in the lowest category of the Army's aptitude test, so-called Category IV recruits. Welcoming more such recruits into the military has obvious appeal at a time when recruitment numbers are slipping, while manpower needs remain acute. But the adoption of lower standards to fill the ranks is shortsighted and imprudent. Moreover, continuing or expanding this policy would be a mistake for the Army and for the recruits themselves. Pentagon officials should know this better than anyone: their previous experiments with lower standards were clear failures." USA Today noted in July of 2005: "The Army in 2005 began accepting up to 4% of those who score in the bottom third on the Armed Froces Qualification Test. Previously, it had a limit of 2% from that category." In October of this year, AP reported that the "new lower aptitude standards" allowed the U.S. army to meet its target goal and noted "13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving. . . . Of those accepted under waivers, more than half were for 'moral' reasons, mostly misdemeanor arrests. Thirty-eight percent were for medical reasons and 7 percent were drug and alcohol problems, including those who may have failed a drug test or acknowledged they had used drugs." In 2005, Fred Kaplan (Slate) raised some of the concerns career officers in the military have with these lowered standards.
Need a face on this issue? Try Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. In July of this year, AP noted that Steven D. Green (one of several accused in the rape of fourteen-year-old Abeer, her death and the deaths of three members of her family) was arrested in Janurary 2005 and "[d]ays later . . . enlisted in the Army."
The conversation will go on and will do so without John Kerry who may be next seen at a Democratic Convention saying, "John Kerry, reporting for wedgie." UPDATE: Reuters reports John Kerry is now going through a ceremonial ritual of apologies. Someone call Barbara Walters.
CNN reports two more US troop deaths were reported today bringing the number of US troops who died in Iraq in October to 105. The military tends to let those deaths trickle out after the press has done their monthly look back. Thom Shanker and David S. Cloud (New York Times) reported that the toll included forty who died in Baghdad and 37 who died in Al-Anbar Province. 'Conventional wisdom' (not speaking of the NYT report just noted) is that the deaths are up due to the 'crackdown' in Baghdad (that cracked up). Those spinning that conventional wisdom don't appear to be willing to address the whack-a-mole problem US Senator John McCain pointed out in August:
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.
Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reports that "224 Iraqi security forces and 1,315 civilians were killed in October". That count seems low and the source of the figures isn't identified.
In Australia, the report from the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco and the events after Kovco's death remains unreleased but remains in the headlines. Australia's ABC reports that Angus Houston has stated that the report maintains Kovco wasn't rushed home (which would explain the mix up that sent Juso Sinanovic's body to Australia and left Jake Kovco's in Iraq) to try to build on the Anzac Day coverage. Expect to hear a lot about what it reportedly says as opposed to what it actually says, AAP informs the report won't be released until next year.
Back in Iraq, the issue is over who's pulling who? (Sing it, Aretha.) Did Nouri al-Maliki manage to outsmart his puppeteers? The Australian reports that he did and that he's "exploiting Washington's vulnerability in the US congressional elections to flex his political muscle."
Closing with the reminder that Ehren Watada's father Bob Watada and his step-mother Rosa Sakanishi continue the speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren -- the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Upcoming dates include:
Nov 1, TBA Miami, Florida Democracy for America Miami Dade and the South Florida Veterans For Peace Chapter 32 Venue and time TBA
Nov 2, TBA Cincinnati, OH Meet Dr. Victoria (Vic) Wulsin, candidatefor congress 2nd district Ohio currently leading Jean Schmidt whocalled Rep John Murtha from PA. a coward. Sponsor: Vietnam Veterans Against the War Venue: TBA
Nov 3, TBA St. Paul MN. Location: Quaker Peace Center -- 1725 Grand AvenueSponsors: Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 Contact: Barry Reisch, (H) 651-641-1087 © 612-269-8934 email@example.com
Nov 4, 11AM Milwaukee, WI. Location: Great Lakes Arlington EventContact: Mark Foreman, 441-760-9991, firstname.lastname@example.orgSponsor: VFP Chapter 102 * See the unveiling of a new "Arlington"
Nov. 5, 2PM Boston, MA Encuentro 5 33 Harrison Ave. 5th floor (Chinatown)Sponsors: Asian American Movement Ezine Asian American Resource Workshop Boston Hawaiian Club Chinese Progressive AssociationMassachusetts Global Action New England Japanese American Citizens League
Nov 5, 7PM Cambridge, MA. Location: Unitarian Church, Harvard SquareSponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade and Chapter 45, Samantha Smith Chapter Contact: Lee VanderLaan, 978-257-2350
Nov 6, 2-4:30PM Boston, MA Location: University of Massachusetts/BostonSponsor: The Institute for Asian American Studies William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequence Time: 2-4:30 pm
Nov 6, 7PM Worcester, MA. Location: Clark University University Building, Lurie Room Sponsors: Veterans For Peace Chapter 10 Contact: Bob Flanagan, 508-755-1479, IrishBob54@aol.com
A full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
ehren watadabob watada
the new york timesthom shankerdavid s. cloud