Saturday, June 10, 2006


Apologies to C.I. and the community. I believe I'm holding up the posting at The Common Ills due to the fact that C.I. wanted to note those of us who were posting this morning. On the plus side, Ruth was nervous about her latest report so, I ended up calling her to see what had her so nervous. It's a different form today (with some hard hitting commentary) and she does need to play around the format and form. She should never feel that she has only one to do her reports.
Please read Ruth's Public Radio Report -- honestly, my mouth dropped twice while she read it over the phone to me. I asked her about that and she said traveling the country on her road trip with her college friend Treva just introduced so many people to her who were hungry for reality, so many who were tired of people who couldn't or wouldn't call for an end to the war.

"The people I met, Republican or Democrat, wanted the US out of Iraq now," she said. "That's how I feel as well but knowing that there were all these people who feel dismissed and tricked just made me think about important it is to call out nonsense."

Good for Ruth. I'm sure the report will be an immediate favorite with the community. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts and to ponder the question of did I get lucky last night?
(I'm teasing Mike and not angry before any rumors take hold.)

It was pointed out that I didn't finish my last post. No, I didn't. Not because I did not want to but because Blogger/Blogspot was a mess. "Will I go back and fix it?" wondered an e-mailer. No. My new approach is basically C.I.'s which is when you're at the keyboard, it's like you're at a microphone. You have X number of minutes and if you stumble, if your noun and verb don't agree, whatever, it is, in the words of Kat, what it is. Is there a factual mistake to fix?

No, it's a bunch of notes posing as a post. Why is that? Because I was getting my notes together and then posting immediately so as not to lose them, going back in and writing a bit here and there, posting so as not to lose what I'd worked on, and repeat until the post was complete. Blogger/Blogspot ended that plan. So three days later, no, I'm not going to pull up the post to finish it. I actually did attempt to Thursday during lunch and I couldn't log in. That was the last attempt I made or will make. That post was lost completely and I had to start over. It was lost for the same reason it was never finished: Blogger/Blogspot. That was Wednesday, today is Saturday. Life goes on and, on that note, I'm running to the CD rack to grab some John Lennon.

My blog-twin phoned to wake me this morning and I had, honestly, been joking about that. But thankfully, I got a call because I'd still be asleep otherwise.

[If anyone's wondering, I went with The John Lennon Collection because I wanted to hear "Give Peace a Chance," "(Just Like) Starting Over," "Imagine" and "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)."]

To leave brackets, C.I. had a hilarious riff on a really lame right-winger who doesn't grasp rhyming. C.I. used "Give Peace a Chance" to illustrate the point (in a conversation). I don't think that ever made it up at The Common Ills. If I could remember who he was, it was a guy, I'd note it here but maybe we can work in something on it at The Third Estate Sunday Review?

Let me note a few suggested readings:

"did you get the memo?"
"NYT: Angels in the outfield? No, idiots in the Green Zone"
"flashpoints (dahr jamail was a guest)"
"Thomas Friedman, the Jayne Mansfield of the New York Times"
"Law and Disorder on Ahmed Omar Abu Ali"

[I've not noted Mike because we note each other when we blog. If I seem to be taking great pains to stomp out rumors before they start, I made the mistake of checking e-mails this morning and once again had a slew asking what it was like "dating Mike"? I imagine, like any dating, it has its good and bad moments. But the person to address those questions would be Nina, Mike's girlfriend. For, hopefully the last time, Mike and I are just friends. He's many years young, many, many years. Unlike Billy Idol, I don't "Rock the Cradle of Love."]

Now three to note and they're pooled for a reason, C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)," "NYT: Everybody wants to be a war pornographer" and "Other Items (Robert Jay Lifton on Democracy Now)." Sunny and I discussed them during lunch Friday. We were and are impressed. They will be my votes for highlighted posts at Third Estate Sunday Review later tonight. They're wonderful, what else can I say? How about this? As I told Sunny, I read those entries and have to wonder why I even bother?

It's all there, the passion, the joy, the nager, the committment. That's not a request of "Please show me pity." That is say that I don't think it gets much better than those three entries. They say all that needs to be said, they provide passion and they provide laughter. C.I. can stand up and deliver the verbal equivalent at any time, with no notice, and not bat an eye. (By contrast, I present a paper and I have to have multiple crutches to fall back on.) I think they're wonderful.
Jim keeps asking Rebecca, C.I. and myself to work on a feature (even a discussion piece) about college. C.I.'s not going to go for that. Rebecca and I both know it. We were talking about that midweek. Rebecca remembered a story about a post-college vacation that I had forgotten. Her intent was to share it Wednesday. She also hoped to address a column this week. Both got pushed aside by the nonsense of Blogger/Blogspot.

I hope she ends up sharing it, it's an amusing/illuminating story.

If you can't tell, I'm not fully awke yet. Actually, what I want to do is go back to bed.

"CIA Support for Somali Warlords Draws Internal Criticism" (Democracy Now!)
The CIA's covert operation to finance Somali warlords fighting against Islamic militants is coming under harsh internal criticism. According to the New York Times, several US government officials say the operation has backfired and empowered the Islamic groups it intends to weaken. According to the officials, agents have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars directly into the warlord’s hands from the CIA's station in Nairobi, Kenya. The State Department's political officer was reassigned to Chad after he sent a cable criticizing the operation. Critics say the payments have motivated Islamic militants to launch pre-emptive attacks against expected US-backed offensives. The revelation comes at a time of increased fighting between the two sides. This week, Islamic militias announced they have seized control of the capital of Mogadishu. The warlords had controlled the city for the past 15 years.

Well imagine that. Mission Impossible 3 is in the theaters. (No, we didn't see it last night. We did end up in a theater next door to it and they really need to soundproof when they have state of the art speaker hook ups. We could hear every explosion and noise.) The film is a retread of the old TV show. That show was quite popular for a number of years but then the audience seemed to make connections to all the disruptions of governments going onscreen and the ones going on in the real world. Possibly if people today would make the same connections we'd all be spared a fourth installment?

"House Passes Controversial Telecom Bill" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile in the House, lawmakers passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, known as the COPE bill. The controversial telecommunications legislation would permit phone and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital communications service as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight. The bill would effectively end what is known as "net neutrality" which is the concept that that everyone, everywhere, should have free, universal and non-discriminatory access to the Internet. The bill would also cut back the obligation of cable TV companies to devote channels to public access and fund the facilities to run them. And the COPE bill would replace local cable franchises with national franchises.

To make your voice heard on this issue and/or to find out more, please visit Save the Internet.

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Michael Berg, Arun Gupta," The Common Ills):
Guess what? Chaos and violence continue.
As Amy Goodman noted, Baghdad had a traffic curfew Friday. The AFP notes that traffic curfew applies "from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm local time" and that the curfew also applies to Baquba. China's People's Daily notes "[a] night curfew for traffic and people movement was also imposed in Diyala province from 8:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) to 6:00 a.m.(0200 GMT) for three days".
Yesterday, on KPFA's Flashpoints, Robert Knight noted the "bruised but remarkably presevrved corpse" of what is alleged to be al-Zarqawi. (Those without audio options can read Rebecca's summary.) Did someone panic as people started noticing?
Who knows but today's spin is that al-Zarqawi lived through the bombing and died on the stretcher. That's the spin and it's all over. No one, apparently, can write of it without noting it. Here's what few are noting: Bully Boy was "smiling and joking with aides" before he put on his let-me-look-constipated-so-people-think-I'm-concerned face (Julian Borger, Guardian of London). KUNA reports it might not have been as fun today for Bully Boy's father -- Poppy Bush "arrived at the Yorkshire Events Centre, northern England" where he was greeted by peace activist Lindis Percy who "unfurled a United States flag and accused Bush Senior's son of doing terrible things in the world."
While Bully Boy got his chuckles on Thursday and Poppy got the "boo"s on Friday,Muthana al-Badri was kidnapped. Reuters notes of Badri that he is, "in his 60s, has always worked for SCOP." (SCOP is "Iraq's State Company for Oil Projects".) In other oil related news, the AFP reports that three oil engineers and two other people were killed "on the road between the refinery town of Baiji and the northern city of Tikrit," while in Kirkuk "gunmen attacked soldiers guarding a piepline" (one civilian dead, three soldiers wounded). This as the AFP reports: "World oil prices climbed as concerns resurfaced over tensions in crude-producing countries Iran and Iraq".
Australia's ABC reports the death of "34-year-old Australian" from a roadside bomb -- also dead were three people traveling with him all dead. The man has not been identified but, in a later ABC report, they identify him as a "security worker" and he hailed from Queenslander and Australia's prime minister John Howard states, "We do recommend that Australians stay away from Iraq for very obvious reason."
CBS and the AP note CBS journalist Elizabeth Palmer's report of a "firefight" in Ghalibiya that led to at least five civilian deaths and "five houses . . . demolished." Meanwhile Reuters reports that the Iraqi police announced today the Thursday death of Zuhair Muhammad Kshmola who was "the brother of the governor of Mosul province." The Associated Press provides the update: "Gunmen opened fire on Friday's funeral procession for the brother of the governor of the northern city of Mosul." Reuters notes that "two civilian trucks" headed "for the U.S. base in Ramadi" was attacked and the drivers kidnapped. And just as kidnappings are a regular event in Iraq now, so the discovery of corpses. The AFP reports that "five corpses, including one of a woman" were discovered in Baghdad.
So much for what, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show today, Iraq's brand-new interior minister (Jawad al-Bolani) termed, only yesterday, "a new beginning for Iraq."Finally, CNN reports that the body of Hashim Ibrahim Awad's body is in the United States. Awad died in the April 26th incident that his family described to Knight Ridder's Nancy A. Youssef as: ""U.S. Marines took him from his home in the middle of the night and killed him. The Marines then used an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel taken from another home to make him look like a terrorist." CNN reports that the body was exhumed, with the family's permission, "for forensic analysis."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The above is from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts (October 30, 2006 -- and yes, the link's not perfect, but it works). You see Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Judith Miller and Matt Cooper skipping happily along. Why start with that?

"Cooper’s Credibility in Question" (Rory O'Connor, Media is Plural,
With Washington’s attention focused on the murky fate of top White House official Karl Rove, one surprising and potentially significant development in the ongoing CIA leak case against top White House official I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby has largely escaped notice. It concerns questions about the credibility of one of the reporters at the center of the case. To the surprise of many, however, the reporter in question is not the much-maligned ex-New York Times reporter Judith Miller -- but Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper.
The issue surfaced recently when US District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton issued an
Order and Memorandum Opinion in response to efforts by attorneys for Miller, Cooper, two journalists from NBC News and their respective news organizations to quash subpoenas from Libby’s attorneys seeking a wide range of the journalists' work material.After personally reviewing the documents in question, Judge Walton upheld Miller's motion to quash her subpoena in full -- meaning she would not have to turn over anything -- but ordered at the same time that Time magazine must turn over drafts of articles written by Cooper. Walton noted there were variations in the drafts, written after Cooper had testified before the grand jury that investigated and indicted Libby in the case involving the leaking of C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame Wilson's name. "Upon reviewing the documents presented to it, the court discerns a slight alteration between the several drafts of the articles which the defense could arguably use to impeach Cooper," the judge wrote in a memorandum opinion.

Matt Cooper sat on information. As a reporter and as a citizen. He knew that the administration was outing CIA agent Valerie Plame. He did nothing. He did nothing in 2003 and he did nothing in 2004. Since Bully Boy all but had a sash around proclaiming "Miss National Security," Cooper's actions did make a difference -- they allowed the lie of Bully Boy caring about national security to go unchallenged.

Cooper had already been asked to name his sources (Rove and Libby). He didn't. Nor did he get the story out. We had an election in 2004, in case anyone's forgotten. Cooper is disgusting. There's no other way to put it. He is not a journalist. He's not even someone who cares about democracy. I hope others will challenge his "reputation."

This is a post in progress. When it's complete, this opening will disappear. Mike's not able to publish bit by bit because his site's read by technorati. And bit by bit might screw up it being read.

"Army Lt. Refuses Iraq Deployment" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, a US army officer has announced he’s refusing his deployment to Iraq slated for later this month. The officer, First Lt. Ehren Watada, says he first asked for permission to resign his position in January. He says he wrote: "I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership." Lt. Watada is believed to be the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq since the invasion. Simultaneous news conferences by his supporters are expected to be held today in his home state of Hawaii and in Olympia, Washington. Military officials told Watada he cannot attend the news conference because he is barred from speaking publicly about his case while on duty at the base.

This is news. C.I. led with it this morning by noting William Cole's "Lieutenant defies Army over 'illegal' war" (The Honolulu Advertiser) article on the subject. Why not note the New York Times article? Because the paper of no record didn't cover it. Could someone please help the last living American who really thought the paper of no record was interested in news up from the floor when they recover from their fainting spell?

"Vermont Peace Activists Disrupt Negroponte Speech" (Democracy Now!):
In Vermont, two peace activists were arrested on Monday for disrupting a commencement address given by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte at St Johnsbury Academy. Moments after Negroponte began his address, a protester stood up and yelled: "In the name of democracy I object to this man speaking. He has blood on his hands from his work in Central America and Iraq. He shouldn't be at the podium, he should be in jail. He is a war criminal." As the protester was being escorted away, Negroponte said "Now it's my turn." But before he could continue, another protester stood up and accused Negroponte of overseeing torture, killings and rape in Honduras, where he served as ambassador in the 1980s.

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

"Thomas Friedman, the Jayne Mansfield of the New York Times."

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Nancy A. Youssef, Eric Boehler," The Common Ills):

Chaos and violence continue.

Though most press reports lead with "nearly 600" reporting on the prison release program or note that 13 kidnapped victims have been found alive (out of the over fifty kindapped), it's not all the Operation Limited Happy Talk some reports might convince you of.

The AFP reports on one of the released prisoners, Raed Jamil, who says of the amount of people released, "It's nothing, because on an average they are arresting 1,000 people daily." The same AFP report also breaks from the pack regardding the kidnapping news. The kidnappers released seventeen hostages. The police found eight "wandering aimlessly together late at night on Canal street" and then began searching for others (a group of seven and a group of three were found).

CNN reports that "Iraq's Interior Ministry . . . launched an investigation into whether Iraqi police, or insurgents posing as police, were responsible for the kidnappings." CNN notes that Sunni politicians have accused "the government of involvement in the abduction" and noted that along with the 'commando uniforms' the kidnappers drove "at least 13 vehicles with Iraqi police markings." The Associated Press notes: "Suspicion has fallen on militias, which are believed to have infiltrated police forces and have killed hundreds in sectarian violence, personal vendettas and kidnappings for ransom."

That's reality. Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) explores possibilities regarding what is being seen as occupation puppet and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki "tougher stance" towards the United States. Former State Department analyst Henri Barkey tells LaFranchi, "The trick for the US is to boost this guy, because there may not be another one after him."

Meanwhile, KUNA reports that Tony Blair has "welcomed news of the innocence of three UK servicemen suspected of killing an Iraqi young man." Less welcoming may be the ongoing talks in the British House of Commons regarding the situation in Basra? Especially considering the dueling reports on a shooting in Basra today. The Associated Press reports that British soldiers fired on civilians and did so because 100 people (presumably adults) were stoning them, Iraqi police say that the "people" were children and that a thirteen-year-old boy was killed and a twelve-year-old girl was wounded.

Certainly less welcoming news for Tony Blair (and the Bully Boy as well) is the confirmation by the "new Italian administration .. . [that] all Italian troops would withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year" (Guardian of London).

In the United States, Dan Whitcomb (Reuters) reports that the defense of marines accused of murdering 24 Iraqis will be "chaotic battle conditions . . . if they are charged with murder." Reuters' source states that the coverage has been limited with no one pointing out that the slaughter could have been "an accident or collateral damage." Certainly 24 Iraqis can't point that out -- they're dead.

The BBC reports that, in Hawija, a "Sunni mosque preacher" was shot to death. The AFP notes that he was first dragged from his home. The Associated Press reports "three rockets landed on a house" killing a man inside and "wounding his two brothers." China's People's Daily notes the death of six police officers -- four were killed when they were attacked in Baghdad, two more died from a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Reuters notes that two police officers were also wounded in that roadside bombing. In Mosul, the AFP notes three college students were killed (gunfire) as they waited at a bus stop. Also in Mosul, Reuters reports that a police officer and two other people were killed in a drive by shooting. The AFP esitmates that "at least 20 people" died today from violence in Iraq.

Two other events that seem to mark life in Iraq also took place. Kidnappings? Reuters reports that "[f]our Iraqi oil employees" were kidnapped yesterday and the police acknowledged the kidnappings today. The other regular event? The discovery of corpses. CNN notes that five were found on Wednesday, the AFP identifies the gender of the corpses, three male, two female ("all of them were shot to death).

Meanwhile, Ferry Biedermann (Financial Times of London) interviews Ali Baban (Iraq's minister of planning) who feels that foreign donors "spend too much of their aid to Iraq outside the country and ordinary Iraqis do not feel they are behing helped by the international community." And the Associated Press reports that the US army's 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division is being readied for deployment to Iraq "leaving unclear when and if a sizable reduction in U.S. troops levels will begin this year."

Finally, CBS and the AP report that CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier is returning to the United States "where she will be admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital near Washington."

Stupid Blogger/Blogspot

Stupid Blogger/Blogspot lost my entire my post. Mike had the same problem. I lost when I tried to publish. I called and said, "Save it now." He did, or tried to, and got the same stupid message of "We apologize for the inconvience . . ." blah, blah nonsense that is complete and utter crap. Blogger is full of CRAP.

That's now the second time this week they've screwed me over. They knew this problem existed Monday. Their answer? To address it Wednesday.

I'll try to pull something together (if this even goes up) but I'm sick and tired of this nonsense and there's no excuse for it. This started on Monday. It happened Tuesday afternoon. (Sunny noticed that she couldn't see C.I.'s DN! post and asked me about it. She wasn't the only one. Which is why today C.I. cross posted it at the mirror site.) They've done nothing (as usual) to fix the problem. They're full of crap.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ramadi -- the next Falluja? (What do you mean "the next"?)

I had two typos in this morning's post. I'm surprised it's not more. Check the time of the entry, I started that at 6:29 am my time. I was out of the shower, attempting to read the paper, put on my make up, fix my hair (yes, I went with a pony tail, I couldn't blog and also do something with it) and, early on, I was on the phone with C.I. I've seen C.I. do all of this and more in the morning while still getting two entries completed. Seeing it at Thanskgiving was one thing, attempting to do something similar (on a smaller level -- the minute C.I.'s up, it seems all the phones are ringing and C.I.'s going from phone to phone) really drove home that I am not a morning blogger.

The main reason I phoned C.I. was because I didn't think I had a post in me at all. I was advised to write about Bel Kaufman since that's why I wanted to do the entry, then find things that caught my attention and put those in where I thought they should go. On my end, a yawn popped up at least every sentence. C.I., in a different time zone, was fully awake. Also feeling sick which I think had to due with the primaries. Please read "NYT: 'Minor Figure in Iraqi Kidnapping Gets a Life Sentence' (Sabrina Tavernise)" which is the entry C.I. chose to focus on due to feeling so sick this morning. Also please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"Bush Pushes Same Sex Marriage Ban Again" (Democracy Now!):
In Washington, President Bush called on Monday for Congress to ban same sex marriage.
President Bush: "An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our nation with no other choice. When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution, the only law a court cannot overturn."
President Bush spoke before lawmakers and members of several groups from the religious right, including Exodus International which promotes what it calls "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ." The group claims it has helped hundreds of thousands of ex-gay men and lesbians become straight.

When you have no plans to end an illegal war (that you started), no plans to fix the economy, no plans to do anything that will actually help most people, what do you do? Create a scapegoat. I heard immigration discussed on the radio today as well so I guess he's gone back to his two favorite scapegoats: immigrants and gays & lesbians. Now that Mary Cheney's once again official out, and since she's trying to sell that hideous book she put her name to, shouldn't be speaking out against this? Or does she, like her father, think she's exempt from laws?

"Hundreds Flee Ramadi Fearing U.S. Attack" (Democracy Now!):
In Iraq concern is growing that U.S.-backed forces may soon launch a major offensive in the Sunni city of Ramadi. On Monday, U.S. forces fired artillery at the city's train station. Hospital officials said five civilians died and 15 others were wounded. The Red Crescent reports over 100 families have recently fled the city fearing that a large-scale military operation is imminent. Last week U.S. military officials announced it was moving 1,500 soldiers from Kuwait into the region surrounding the city. One Pentagon spokesperson declared Ramadi had become the most contentious city in Iraq. On Monday the influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars warned the Iraqi government not to support any U.S. attacks on the city.

We're both including this (Mike and I) because we think people need to pay attention to what happens. I would write "Hopefully nothing will happen"; however, it's already happening and you'll see that in the "Iraq snapshot" later in this entry.

"Jose Padilla Attorneys Ask Court to Throw Out Evidence" (Democracy Now!):
There is an update on the case of Jose Padilla -- the U.S. born man who was held in solitary confinement for three years before being charged with a crime. His lawyers are now alleging that the government's case against their client relied in part on statements made by a government witness who was tortured. Padilla's defense team has a filed a motion to suppress evidence and statements connected to a man who says that while in detention he was whipped, hung from the ceiling of his cell with leather straps and tortured with razors.

Padilla's main attorney, whose name I forget, it wasn't one to play. She's very no nonsense and very by the book. His case might have gotten more attention earlier (it did get attention) had she been more flamboyant or more eager to go the chat circuit and discuss the details of his case.
If you've fogotten the details, Collen Rowley was getting attention in Congress for her whistle blowing testimony (9-11 failures at the FBI) when John Ashcroft, from Russia no less, decides to hold a press conference and list all these charges against Padilla -- list them as fact. (Padilla was not charged, when he was finally charged years after, with any of the 'crimes' Ashcroft stated he was involved with.) If the government's dubious case is based on testimony that was secured via torture, will the courts rule it admissable? A few years ago, I would have said "no" and felt very secure in that opinion but these days you never know.

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Cindy Sheehan, Noam Chomsky, John Bonifaz, Marcy Winograd, Jonathan Tasini," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue.
Does the lack of accountability as well?
Two weeks ago,
May 25th, we noted: "Meanwhile the BBC reports that, James Cook has been determined to be not guilty ("by a jury panel of seven senior officers in Cochester") in the death of Ahmed Jabber Kareem [Ali] -- three remain on trial." Today, the BBC reports that those three have now "been found not guilty of the manslaughter of an Iraqi boy, at a Colchester court martial." Ahmed Jabber Kareen Ali died, at the age of 15, in May 2003. The prosecution described the Basra drowning as resulting from the efforts of British troops to "teach him a lesson." Carle Selman, Joseph McCleary and Martin McGing have been found not guilty.
AFP is reporting that the Iraqi Islamic Party (the party of Iraq's vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi) has "accused US forces of murdering more than two dozen Iraqis in a series of incidents across the country in May." Omar al-Juburi, party spokesperson, alleged that 29 were murdered and cited two events on May 13: "US forces launched an air assualt on a civilian car in Latifiyah and killed six people inside the car" and "US forces attacked with aircraft the house of a civilian, Saadun Mohsen Hassan, and killed seven of his family members."
This after
Sunday's admission that in Hibhib on Friday, an "accident" resulted in the death of three, the wounding of three and six damaged homes from a "US artillery round" and the death of two women, Naibha Nisaif Jassim and Saliha Mohammad Hassan, at an American checkpoint last week. (Jassim was pregnant and the women, along with Jassim's brother, were headed to the hospital.) Free Speech Radio News covered the issue of accidental deaths yesterday with Aaron Glantz and Salam Talib taking a look at the culture of the illegal occupation.
Reporting for CNN, Jamie McIntyre follows the Hamdaniya incident and notes a source who states that "some of the Marines in pretrial confinement have admitted the circumstances of the man's death was staged." This is the April 26th incident that David S. Cloud (NYT) reported last week "[m]ilitary prosecutors are preparing murder, kidnapping and conspiracy chargs against seven marines and a Navy corpsman." McIntyre's report notes the unidentified officer stating, "They went after someone, not necessarily this person, but they set out to get someone."
Writing for Knight Ridder,
Nancy A. Youssef notes that the family's account of what happened to Hashim Ibrahim Awad is that "U.S. Marines took him from his home in the middle of the night and killed him. The Marines then used an AK-47 assault rifle and a shovel taken from another home to make him look like a terrorist."
CBS and AP note that "Pentagon officials tell CBS News that several Marines under investigation" in this incident "have made statements admitting they set out that night to kill an Iraqi."
noted by Amy Goodman today, concerns abound over Ramadi. Brian Conley reports for IPS that there are allegations "of civilians killed by snipers, and homes occupied with American snipers on their roof, while families were detained downstairs." One resident of Ramadi is quoted saying: "On the side of the main street you will find destroyed buildings, and military tents on the buildings for snipers. Be careful, if you hear any sound of fighting, hide in the side roads, park your car there and get in any house and hide, because snipers will kill anyone moves, even if the fighting is in another area." While another echoes that "American snipers don't make any distinction between civilians or fighters, anything that moves, he shoots immediately. This is a very dirty thing, they are killing lots of civilians who are not fighters."
As noted by Sandra Lupien on
KPFA's The Morning Show and by the AP, Nouri al-Maliki (Iraqi prime minister and puppet of the occupation) has announced the release of 2,500 Iraqis imprisoned in US and Iraqi-run jails with the first 500 to be released tomorrow. Today, al-Maliki also vowed to 'curb' the violence. This as "nine severed heads" were found "in fruit boxes by the side of a road" (Telegraph of London). The AFP reports that "some of the heads are blindfolded and already decomposing, indicating the killings took place a few days ago." CNN notes Saturday's discovery of eight severed heads, in Hadid, which "also had been stuffed into fruit boxes." The Associated Press reports that, in Aziziyah today, a "decapitated body" was discovered. AFP reports the discovery of a corpse in Baghdad: "25-year-old woman, wearing an Islamic headscarf, who had been shot in the head."
AFP reports that Shaaban Abdel Kadhim was murdered in Baghdad "along with his two bodyguards." No word on the fifty-plus people kidnapped in Baghdad yesterday at bus stations; however, bus stations continued to be a key location for violence. In Nadha, CNN notes at least two civilians were killed and seven more wounded at an attack on a "bus facility." This as the AP notes that a woman died and three more people were wounded when a roadside bomb went off "near a busy bus station" in Baghdad. Also in Baghad, Reuters notes, that a woman and her husband were shot dead as was Thoaban Abdul Kathim, his aide and driver. Reuters also notes five people were killed at a funeral with twelve more wounded when a car bomb exploded.
In refugee news,
Brian Conley reports on Ruweishid, a camp between Jordan and Iraq where "[p]oisonous insects are rampant, while water and electricity are a scarce commodity."
Lastly, as
noted in the New York Times, Deidre Fitzsimons, sister of the late Margaret Hassan, spoke to the BBC on Monday. Not noted is the fact that Fitzsimons told the BBC that she "begged" Great Britain's Foreign Office for UK officials to interview the three men who were apprehended in her sister's death. Fitzsimons believes the men know where the body of her sister is: "These men know where my sister is buried and all we have left, all we want to do now, is to bring her home."

What follows are two items regarding Kevin and Monica Benderman. Please note that Kevin was led to believe one thing and then, following what he thought was approved, the military tried to snare him on trumped on charges (which were tossed out) and then tried again. Now he's behind bars.

"Statement of Monica Benderman" (Congressional Briefing for Conscientious Objection, Longworth House of Representatives Office Building, Washington, D.C.May 16, 2006):
I will address my comments to the Members of Congress:
Each one of you is in office having been elected on the basis of promises you made. In taking that office, each one of you took an oath to honor the Constitution of this country, and you did so by swearing to your God.
An American soldier, a volunteer, takes the same oath. His commitment to that oath is based on the promises of our elected leaders. But a true leader is not someone who blindly follows laws written by men. A true leader is someone who leads with adherence to his own obligation to humanity.
If you, during your tenure and contract to serve as Congressional leaders, were asked to participate in an action that violated your own conscience and your own principles of humanity, would you take a stand against that action?
If you were to step down, no longer willing to participate in an immoral, illegal action, would you have charges brought against you?
Would you be sent to jail for your beliefs? Would you go willingly?
Would you allow this to happen to any member who serves with you who also acted on their conscience?

I'll also note this:

Kevin to Appeal Court-Martial, Seeks Funds for Expert Attorney
An Appeal for Assistance, Sgt. Kevin Benderman Legal Defense Fund, May 25, 2006.

Now, I agreed with very little in a Ruth Conniff column last week and was hoping I would find more in the next one to agree with. This week, I find much more to agree with; however, a qualifier after the excerpt.

"The Trouble with Trendspotting" (Ruth Conniff, Ruth Conniff's Online Column, The Progressive):
In the current issue of
The New Yorker, Jeffrey Goldberg--who has done courageous and fascinating reporting from Islamic fundamentalist schools and terrorist training centers--goes to Washington to take up the question, "What is the Democrats' Best Way to Win?" The answer, disappointingly, is more of the same "third way," focus-group-driven politics that sent voters fleeing from John Kerry and, to a lesser degree, Al Gore.
Goldberg stacks the deck with this tediously inside-the-Party-leadership piece of analysis. He writes about a disastrous meeting between Missouri farmers and Teresa Heinz Kerry, and the would-be-first-lady's out-of-touch insistence on telling the farmers they should consider going organic. It's a telling anecdote, but the lesson Goldberg draws--that the whole package of left-to-liberal politics is an impossible sell for white, rural voters--is simply wrong. These hog farmers are already Democrats. An economic populist like Tom Harkin--who was to the left of Kerry--had no trouble connecting with them. Of course a rich Northeastern candidate is a fool to come in and tell them to consider producing organic yogurt. But the more leftwing Democrats--Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, to name just a couple--would have no trouble. As we all found out, Kerry putting on a NASCAR jacket was not the answer.
Goldberg goes on to describe Howard Dean as a madman, delivering a speech with his face turning purple and the veins sticking out on his neck (will that hackneyed caricature ever die?). He writes, dismissively, of Dean's plan to funnel money to state party leaders instead of focusing all of the DNC's funds on the next round of Congressional races as if it were corrupt. State party leaders were big supporters of Dean in the past, Goldberg writes, implying that the money to rebuild the party's infrastructure is personal payback.

Love the title, love the section above. However, in the first half, she addresses Newsweek's 'correction'/'apology.' I don't see Newsweek doing an apology. They weren't honest about anything in their "Woops! Made a mistake." Ava and C.I. covered this in detail awhile back.

"About that women"( Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review)
By the way, please don't think we're under any delusions that males were the only ones not noting it. There are plenty of women as well. They didn't bother to note it either.

Take one site which actually blogged on Iraq this week (for a change). They did it about an Abu Ghraib trial and only because a female carried a book to the trial with a one word title that rhymes with "runt," but hey, they're doing their part, right? No comments on Iraq or even Abu Ghraib but that book title, gotta' love it!
Why they're so on top of things they also noted the 'clarification' Newsweek offered last week for creating a "fact" about a woman being more likely to be killed by a terrorist than married after a certain age. They even noted that Susan Faludi revealed (in 1991) that the claim wasn't true. After that, it got a little confusing for them. They started wondering if now Newsweek would apologize to Susan Faludi?
For what exactly? They ran a story in 1986 and she debunked it in 1991 (in Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women). Why does the magazine owe her an apology? They may owe everyone, male and female, who read the article in 1986 an apology, but why would they owe Faludi an apology? It makes no sense (neither does ignoring the war). But for the sake of argument, let's defy logic and just nod and say, "Newsweek owes Susan Faludi an apology!" Well it's a shame they waited so long, a little while ago and they could have just written "I'm sorry" on her paycheck. (The screamers for an apology to Faludi from Newsweek are aware that Newsweek hired Faludi as a contributing editor in the late nineties and that she worked for the publication until recently, right?)
While Backlash was a wonderful book (and Faludi's a great writer) some seem to be under the impression that Backlash came out and the mainstream media said "NO!" Time put Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi on the cover together. Faludi's debunking of the myth was well noted. Nora Ephron's Sleepless in Seattle refers to the book with Meg Ryan's character saying that the terrorist figure isn't true and that there's a whole book written to refute that myth. A male character asks, "Did anyone read the book?" We did.But we wonder if all the finger pointers on the web did? Why? How about this from Newsweek's "Twenty Years Later: It turns out that getting married after age 40 wasn't quite as difficult as we once believed" (no link, we don't link to trash):
Much of the ire focused on a single, now infamous line: that a single 40-year-old woman is "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry, the odds of which the researchers put at 2.6 percent. The terrorist comparison wasn't in the study, and it wasn't actually true (though it apparently didn't sound as inappropriate then as it does today, post 9/11).
No, it wasn't true and, as Faludi reported (page 100 of Backlash), a Newsweek intern explained that the lie started as a joke reporters kidded each other about "and next thing we knew, one of the writers in New York took it seriously and it ended up print." Newsweek doesn't tell you that. They just tell that you that it wasn't true -- fifteen years after Faludi already did and, if you think about it, twenty years after people at Newsweek knew it wasn't true. (They knew when the story ran.) And guess what else? Readers of Backlash know this, Newsweek went with a faulty study for the rest of that story. And "months later" they had actual census data that disproved their cover story. That got "a two-paragraph item buried in the 'Update' column." The current article doesn't tell you that either. Newsweek's new story really admitted nothing. A real admission didn't require an apology to Susan Faludi, it did require that they admit to knowing the figure was false when they ran it and, that when they had census data months later that refuted the Harvard-Yale study (on which they based their cover story), they didn't issue a correction but instead buried the real data in the magazine.
Another great Susan (Sontag) had an excellent suggestion (that was vilified when she made it) encouraging us not to all be stupid together. We think it applies today as much as it did then.

Two things. First, if parts of the above seemed familiar to you because you read a certain paper at the start of this week, it was familiar to me as well when I read that certain paper's Sunday edition. (However, Ava and C.I. published their piece two Sundays ago. C.I. has said before, "Well, it's nice to be read." Others wouldn't be so kind about it.) Second, Conniff goes into the study very strongly and deserves praise for that. But in terms of the apology, readers shouldn't think Newsweek apologized. The figure was made up and people involved with the article knew that before it was printed. That's not acknowledged in the article. Nor is it acknowledged that Newsweek staff created the figure (more likely to be killed by a terrorist . . .). Readers of the 'correction' are left with it wasn't in the study but nothing to inform them that it was an office joke that made it into a story as fact. Second, the 'correction' does not note that they had census data refuting the study, not this year, not last year, but months after they ran that toxic article and they buried it in the magazine. What they ran wasn't a correction. It didn't address any of the real problems or how they occurred. Nor did it inform readers that some knew at the time the 'figure' was invented by Newsweek or that they could have disproven their infamous cover story months after it ran but instead elected to bury the census resuls in a tiny piece.

Rare morning post

I'm not redoing the lost post. But this is a rare morning post in case anyone feels cheated that Blogger "ate" my post last night.

"Consumer group warns pregnant women on tuna use" (Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune):
The chance that canned tuna will contain high levels of mercury is great enough that pregnant women should never eat it, according to new recommendations from a leading consumer group.

Officials at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, said they decided to recommend a tuna-free diet for pregnant women based on a Tribune investigative series on mercury in fish and the latest testing by the Food and Drug Administration.
The newspaper reported late last year that about 15 percent of canned light tuna--the kind of tuna touted by the FDA as a low-mercury option--is made with a species that often contains high amounts of the toxic metal.
FDA officials later revealed that 6 percent of canned light tuna sampled between 2001 and 2005 had mercury levels that exceeded the average in canned albacore tuna, which the federal government tells pregnant women and young children to limit eating because it tends to have high levels of mercury.
In a two-page article in the July issue of Consumer Reports, the consumer group also urged pregnant women to shun four other kinds of seafood because of mercury concerns--Chilean sea bass, halibut, American lobster and Spanish mackerel.

I love tuna salad and have often existed on it when nothing else seemed worth eating. Then either C.I. passed me the In These Times cover story on the mercury in fish or I saw the Now with Bill Moyers' report (I don't remember which happened first) and I've pretty much given up one of my favorite dishes (and something quick and easy to make). Am I pregnant? No. But although it is dangerous for pregnant women, it's dangerous for many women. I remember Moyers' report containing a woman (who was not pregnant) plauged by headaches and a doctor who finally diagnosed the problem (after many others failed): mercury poisoning. I also believed it was explained in one of the two that the Mad Hatter (of Alice in Wonderland fame) was probably "mad" because mercury was once used in the making of hats -- he was suffering from mercury poisoning.

"Kidnappings in Iraq point to lawlessness" (Liz Sly, The Chicago Tribune):
Men wearing police uniforms descended on a Baghdad street Monday morning and abducted about 50 people, hauling them off buses, dragging them out of shops and snatching them off the sidewalk in one of the most dramatic illustrations yet of the lawlessness into which Iraq is sliding.
The mysterious abductions coincide with an increasingly worrying vacuum of leadership at the Interior and Defense ministries, responsible for bringing security to the country. The ministerial posts have remained unfilled because the Shiite and Sunni factions in Iraq's new government have been unable to reach an agreement on suitable candidates for the jobs, in just one indicator of the deep divide.
The lightning raid by men in uniforms was disavowed by Iraq's Interior Ministry, but questions persisted nonetheless as to how dozens of armed men were able to carry off such a daring operation in broad daylight in the center of the city.
The abductions took place less than a mile from the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and many U.S. military operations are based.

For more on that read C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" (always, it runs Monday through Friday each week). Also please read Mike's " Law and Disorder and more."

On WBAI's Cat Radio Cafe yesterday, Janet Coleman interviewed writer Bel Kaufman. Kaufman wrote a book that is always fresh and alive to me no matter how many times I reread it, Up the Down Staircase. If you've never read the book, a college student has graduated with honors and with hopes and dreams. She joins the public school system eager to impart her knowledge and love for Chaucer only to come up against an entrenched system and that's all the summary I'll provide you with. I will warn you that this isn't a Touchstone film (so don't expect a rousing, feel good ending).

Cat Radio Cafe airs on WBAI each Monday from two to three p.m. Eastern Standard Time. It's an on air "salon" (as Coleman pointed out yesterday) and explores the arts, politics and the world. Kaufman wasn't the only guest but she's is the reason I'm writing this. I woke up three times last night and, each time as I got a glass of water, I would find myself thinking, "She wrote one of your favorite books! You really need to note her!"

German born Kaufman came to this country from Russia when she was twelve (the ship journey is a story in itself and you can hear her tell it by going to WBAI and listening to an archived version of the broadcast). She is the granddaughter of the writer Sholom Aleichem (whose stories were used for the musical Fiddler On the Roof).

She has a new book planned out . . . in her head. Coleman urged her to begin writing it which, as an incredible fan of Up the Down Staircase, is advice I hope she will follow.

"25 Years Ago Today: The Discovery of HIV" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile it was 25 years ago today, June 5th 1981, when a California doctor named Michael Gottleib published a brief report about the first diagnosis of the HIV virus. Since then 25 million people have died of AIDS. An average of 8,000 continue to die each day.
Dr. Michael Gottlieb: "In the first few years after I reported my cases of AIDS I felt like the people on the rooftops during Katrina waving, shouting, screaming, begging for help and it did not come. When it came eventually it came with all these strings attached. You must have abstinence instead of condoms. You don't get enough medication to treat the people you need to treat who are indigent. Our government has had a colossal failure in responding to the AIDS epidemic."

That item is from yesteday but worth noting. AIDS changed the landscape in a way that few events (or diseases) ever do. The government response was to ignore it originally. That was under Ronald Reagan. Though Bully Boy is more comfortable saying the name, he's no more comfortable approaching the issues honestly and, I belive, we will look back on his two terms and realize that they not only wasted money but harmed many people by devoting talk and monies to junk science. I've lost all respect for Bono as a result of his inability to call out the nonsense of the Bully Boy and, as a gay friend pointed out, his reluctance to address AIDS seriously himself. (Highlighting pediatric AIDS was the easiest way to note the disease in the eighties. Bono appears determined to go that route again. It may get the right-wing churches on his side but it ignores a huge portion of the affected population and, intentionally or not, sets up the implication that there are 'noble' victims and there are those who get 'what they deserve.')

"Wife of Marine Says Troops At Haditha Were Likely On Speed" (Democracy Now!):
However the wife of one of the staff sergeants involved in the Haditha killings has told Newsweek that there was a total breakdown in discipline including drug and alcohol abuse within the Marine unit. She said "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha."

No time left to review that item. Hopefully, it speaks for itself.

Monday, June 05, 2006

No post tonight, Blogger lost my post

Recover post does not work.

I wrote a post for the last three hours. It's gone. It's now after ten o'clock and I'm not going to waste my night (what's left of it) trying to recreate it. Blame Blogger/Blogspot -- it ate my homework.