Friday, March 30, 2007

Kevin Zeese, Veteran Intel. Professionals for Sanity

Melanie asked for a highlight here and offered a bribe. First, the bribe:

This is no April Fool! Alexander Cockburn live for three hours on C-SPAN-2, April 1, Noon (EST), repeated at midnight.

She saw that at CounterPunch and wondered if I had? I didn't and I was there today twice. (It really wasn't a bribe. But I do enjoy Alexender Cockburn. So I'm including it first.) That is this Sunday.

What she wondered was if I could highlight something she had C.I. highlight in "And the war drags on . . ."? She said she was sure it was too busy to included in the snapshot today.

"Is Bush Lame or is Congress?" (Kevin Zeese, CounterPunch):
While the headlines will read that the Senate voted to withdraw U.S. troops in Iraq, the peace movement recognizes that the Senate bill will extend the war not end it. The exit date in the bill is merely a goal for the removal of combat troops, and there are large loopholes that would allow a commander in chief to keep as many troops as s/he wants in Iraq. The bill provides $123 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ­ nearly $20 billion more requested by Bush.
The real issue now is whether the Democrats will cave into President Bush's threatened veto by providing a funding bill with no exit requirements or whether they will challenge the president further. If they cave they will have given Bush new life ­ he will no longer be a lame duck, but rather will remain "the decider." The Congress will be seen as a "lame Congress." How they respond will be determined after their April recess.
Many peace advocates held a demonstration shortly after the vote to protest the extension, rather than end of the war. The demonstration emphasized that the Democrats have the power to end the war and highlighted the deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis with a series of gravestones and photos. The Hill described the protest as an "occupation" of the Hart Senate office building.

That was a strong piece. Kevin Zeese's is a pretty strong writer. (I agree with what's written, for the record.) I'm not in the mood for the Dems just yet, let me ease into that cess pool. But as for being busy, yes.

First, let me note that the community, as of next Tuesday, has another newsletter. Hilda's Mix. Hilda's focus will be in serving the disabled members of the community. The articles should be of interest to every member of the community so I hope you'll sign up for it. (See C.I.'s column in today's gina & krista round-robin for Hilda's e-mail address if you don't have it yet.)

For Hilda's Mix, Ava and C.I. will provide an overview/review of radio programs. The community has members with hearing issues and sight issues. Members with sight issues are able to listen to radio programs which is why C.I. has heavily increased the links to audio over the life of The Common Ills. People with hearing issues can read excerpts from a discussion on a radio program but most of the radio covered doesn't even have an individual website. So Ava and C.I. will do a piece each week explaining the focus and format of various radio shows. With those with sight issues in the community, they're part of a couple and their partner reads The Common Ills to them. I think there were only three couples when C.I. became aware of that (there are more now) and that's when there was a real move on C.I.'s part to include links to audio. The community has always included members with hearing issues and I've always assumed that came from a very early entry where C.I. was addressing that issue (I believe in terms of a magazine article). We're a diverse community and each newsletter ends up underscoring that. I don't have the time to do a regular feature but I will be doing a piece in the second newsletter with Three Cool Old Guys. Cedric told me they wanted to do something with me and I was flattered. We've got that roughed out but it still needs a polish.

Now I just said "I don't have the time to do a regular feature" and my point in this section is "busy" and that's C.I. I should probably say, "I won't make the time." C.I. has far less time than me and is doing The Common Ills 7 days a week -- no day off since it started, Ava and C.I. do the TV commentary at The Third Estate Sunday Review each Sunday, C.I. also works on all the pieces that go up there, C.I. does a weekly column for the gina & krista round-robin, a weekly column for Polly's Brew, a weekly column for El Espirito, Ava and C.I. do two TV reviews each week for El Espirto, Ava and C.I. will now be doing a weekly feature on radio for Hilda's Mix and C.I. will be doing a weekly column for Hilda's Mix.

So C.I. is busy? Yes. Also very tired this week. That's why, in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, Krista asks C.I., "Are you okay?" C.I. was speaking (we did that over the phone on Wednesday) and had to stop to repeatedly clear the throat. Okay? Rundown is my guess. I really wish C.I. would take some time off. (Time off to C.I. was only speaking on campuses within an hundred mile radius of home this week.)

When we all went to Texas for that week, C.I.'s schedule was really overwhelming (from my vantage point). Dona made up a schedule before we headed to Texas (and did a great job) but C.I. was always picking up one or two more each day. We'd all here, "No, no, no, you go have some fun. Treat this as a fun trip."

Along with addressing the busy, I'm also addressing Ethan's question about whether or not The Common Ills goes dark in November of 2008? If today was November of 2008, I would say yes. As for come November 2008, I have no idea. I relate the site to C.I.'s speaking out against the war. That started in February of 2003 and was just filling in for a friend who wasn't able to at the last minute. When it 'ended,' there were requests and C.I. ended up doing that repeatedly. (Except for Alaska, C.I. visited every state from Feb. 2003 through November 2004.) When it expanded past February 2003, at some point, it was heavily advised that getting Bully Boy out of the Oval Office would greatly help end the illegal war so C.I. said fine, I'll go through the November election.

Bully Boy didn't get kicked out. A group of friends who had worked on that got together to analyze what had worked, what had reached people, what hadn't worked and what had sent people flying. Long before that, many people (I was one) were telling C.I., "You need to do a blog." C.I. (a) didn't have the time and (b) didn't know what a blog was.

So at the meeting that was brought up and C.I. begged off with, "I don't know the first thing about blogs." But ended up starting one that night. The speaking was back on before the end of November. At that point, it was speaking and one or two entries a day. It didn't last like that very long, as anyone who visits the site now can tell you.

I joke that, like Cher's farewell tour, there's no end.

I mention all of that for Ethan, to explain why a set end date is needed. It may not hold. Some days, I think C.I.'s going to continue The Common Ills until the war ends. (Congress has demonstrated that the war will be going on past 2008.) (Which C.I. noted in 2005. That's when the date was picked. Jim has written about how he was shocked by the fact that C.I. didn't think the war would be over then. I wasn't shocked when C.I. would make similar comments to me but I did hope/think the war would be over by then.) So I really can't give you an answer. Rebecca and I have been friends with C.I. for years and year and years and . . . But I don't know what's going to happen and, on a good day, C.I. really doesn't either. (On a bad day? C.I.'s saying, "I just have to do this until November 2008.")

Another reason I mention all of the above is because Ava read to me a nasty e-mail from a reporter who files a few stories a week -- for which he is paid -- and wanted to go to town on how much better he believes he is than C.I.

First of all, Reporter X does it for money. C.I. doesn't need money. Reporter X has an editor (and people below) to assist him. As I said before, Reporter X writes only a little each week. Reporter X is read because of his paper. C.I.'s read because of the community C.I. has created.

Back in the day, we used to stress "contributions." Was someone making a contribution? C.I.'s making contributions. Rushing to catch a flight while the laptop doesn't want to cooperate (or worse), C.I.'s still making a contribution. Reporter X couldn't handle C.I.'s schedule. (C.I.'s offline schedule or online, let alone both combined.)

Reporter X doesn't read too well because he felt the need to say that, unlike C.I., his writing isn't all about getting Democrats into office. Ava was furious at the e-mail but she and I both had to laugh when she read me that part. Unlike many sites online, C.I.'s not burping Democrats. C.I.'s not saying, "Way to go!" C.I. calls Dems out.

I think C.I. does amazing work at The Common Ills and that's before I even factor in all the other things C.I.'s writing for newsletters, The Third Estate Sunday Review, etc.

So I just found Reporter X to be really stupid -- as well as foul mouthed. I found him extremely stupid in the section where he was questioning C.I.'s "dedication." To repeat, C.I. doesn't get paid for The Common Ills. C.I.'s doesn't accept payment for speaking (or even allow anyone to cover travel expenses). I'll end my lecture on that note.

"Intel Vets Question the Iraq-UK Crisis" (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Consortium News):
The frenzy in America's corporate media over Iran's detainment of 15 British Marines who may, or may not, have violated Iranian-claimed territorial waters is a flashback to the unrestrained support given the administration’s war-mongering against Iraq shortly before the attack.
The British are refusing to concede the possibility that its Marines may have crossed into ill-charted, Iranian-claimed waters and are ratcheting up the confrontation. At this point, the relative merits of the British and Iranian versions of what actually happened are greatly less important than how hotheads on each side--and particularly the British--decide to exploit the event in the coming days.There is real danger that this incident, and the way it plays out, may turn out to be outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair's last gesture of fealty to President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and "neo-conservative" advisers who, this time, are looking for a casus belli to "justify" air strikes on Iran.
Bush and Cheney no doubt find encouragement in the fact that the Democrats last week refused to include in the current House bill on Iraq war funding proposed language forbidding the White House from launching war on Iran without explicit congressional approval.If the Senate omits similar language, or if the prohibition disappears in conference, chances increase for a "pre-emptive" US and/or Israeli strike on Iran and a major war that will make the one in Iraq seem like a minor skirmish. The impression, cultivated by the White House and our domesticated media, that Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-majority states might favor a military strike on Iran is a myth.
But the implications go far beyond the Middle East. With the Russians and Chinese, the US has long since forfeited the ability, exploited with considerable agility in the 70s and 80s, to play one off against the other. In fact, US policies have helped drive the two giants together. They know well that it’s about oil and strategic positioning and will not stand idly by if Washington strikes Iran.

I'm highlighting that for a number of reasons. First of all, let's note that the Democrats could be saying "no" to Bully Boy declaring a unilateral war on Iran. They can't because they won't. They'll allow him to make that decision because they're too afraid to excercise their own power.
A third war? This country needs or can afford to be in a third war? The Democrats are as foolish as Katrina vanden Heuvel. I'm thinking of her offensive remark about Harry Belafonte who's never been afraid to use his voice -- a gift that vanden Heuvel wasn't blessed with. They won't take a stand and you know vanden Heuvel won't take a stand against them. It's amazing how that magazine has nose dived so quickly. All the little boys she's rounded up, none of whom appears to have writing talent, but she keeps publishing their crap like a proud mother posting crayola drawings on a fridge. I really think if you went back a few years and studied what was done then compared with what is done now, you'd feel like you were reading Junior Nation. It's that juvenile. Little Boys who burped out the Democratic Party's talking points much to the pleasure of vanden Heuvel. Harry Belaftone is and has been an important voice. I think it was an act of extreme cowardice (or worse) for vanden Heuvel to go after him.

Like the Democrats, she's just not up to the job. They're incapable of leading and so is she. They've allowed the country to be run into a ditch (if not over a cliff) and she's done the same with The Nation. I think the enabling of the party has allowed it to be so weak and useless.

The second reason I wanted to highlight the above is because of the fact that Ray McGovern is a part of it and he credited women for all the hard work they've done -- he named Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright and CODEPINK, among others. Those women, and many more, have done hard work. They deserve to be applauded. (Not ignored, but that would take us back to The Nation so let's avoid going there.)

The third reason I wanted to include the highlight is I get the same response from people about Iran that I remember getting regarding Iraq in the lead up. "Oh, he's not stupid enough to start a war." That was the typical comment regarding Iraq and there appears to be a sense of disbelief that a war with Iran is even possible as we move closer and closer to it.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
March 30, 2007. Chaos and violence continues in Iraq, war resister Corey Glass appears before a supposed independent body, and the puppet of the occupation plays catch & release while the 'crackdown' again cracks up.

Starting with war resisters. In Canada, a US war resister appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board today.
Matthew Chung (Toronto Star) reports that Corey Glass and his attorney, Jeffrey House, will attempt to argue that the Iraq war is illegal. Chung notes: "Glass joined the National Guard in Indiana four years ago to, so he says, fill sand bags and help guard U.S. soil. Instead he was sent to Iraq, a war he said he doesn't believe in. He fled during a two-week leave." So he says, Chung? He's maintained that repeatedly including when he spoke at Tilley Hall Auditorium in October of last year "filling sand bags to stop a flood on American soil". After self-checking out, Glass was underground for seven months before going to Canada and, during that time, the Army (which supposedly just waits for traffic violations to catch self-check outs) was visiting his parents, calling phone numbers trying to track him down. As October started last year, Corey Glass, Justin Colby, Ryan Johnson and other war resisters in Canada were considering returning to US as a result of the way Darrell Anderson's discharge was resolved. However, once the military attempted to screw over Kyle Snyder, that changed. Glass told Brett Barrouqere (AP) at the start of November, "After what they did to him, I don't see anybody going back." In September of last year, Glass stated, "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would." The supposed independent body of the Immigration and Review Board has refused to grant asylum thus far to every Iraq war resister who has come before it.

Staying on war resistance, Joshua Key, who is in Canada with his wife Brandi Key and their children, wrote, with Lawrence Hill, his story in the new book
The Deserter's Tale which has been receiving favorable reviews across the political spectrum. Karen Alego Krizman (Rocky Mountain News) is the latest to review the book and observes, "Key admits he believed the recruiter who promised he wouldn't have to go overseas or into combat if he joined the Army - mere months after 9/11. Couple this naivete with the steady dose of racism Key says the Army fed recruits and it's no wonder that abuses such as Abu Ghraib occur." Paul Gessel (Ottawa Citizen) notes the Ottawa International Writers Festival from April 15-22 will include Lawrence hill, David Suzuki, Tom Harpur, Roy MacGregor and Barbara Gowdy and reports: "Hill is riding high this year with two books, one a novel about the slave trade called The Book of Negroes and the other a non-fiction story called The Deserter's Tale, about an American soldier who went AWOL while home on leave from fighting in Iraq. That soldier, Joshua Key, is trying to obtain refugee status in Canada and will be joining Hill at the festival April 16."

On Monday, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees took a look at Kyle Snyder and other war resisters who were making a life in Nelson British Columbia. Cooper noted, "We all know the stories about Vietnam War-era deserters who fled to Canada. But less well-known are the members of today's armed forces who are refusing to serve in Iraq. Many have fled to the same town in Canada where they're being welcomed with open arms." Thelma Gutierrez was the reporter for the segment.

Kyle Snyder: I joined when I was 19. . . I sat back, I put my weapon down beside me, and then, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, real quick, very, very loud, I could just remember the look on the man's face. . . . I was a .50 cal. machine gunner and I was an escort for very high-ranking officials. What drew the line for me was one mission in particular where I had witnessed an innocent civilian shot in front of me. . . . I was first angry at that. And then I became angry at the fact that there were no repercussions. This -- there was nothing done to prevent this from happening again. . . . I made my decision off of the things that I personally witnessed in Iraq. I didn't just wake up one morning and say, 'I'm going to leave my country, I'm going to leave my friends behind, I'm going to leave everything that I know and everything that I love and built my entire life on,' nobody does that. . . . I can walk around shops here and, you know, I see "war resisters welcome here" signs. I see community getting involved and getting together. High schoolers come up and say, what can I do to support the anti-war movement?

Meanwhile, Canada's
Chronicle Herald reports, "Police have initiated an investigation into" Snyder's arrest "which will be conducted by the Abbotsford police". Snyder was pulled from the home he shares with Ryan and Jen Johnson, the day before his wedding, arrested in his boxers and carried to a jail where he was held (still in his boxers) for several hours as a result of some sort of 'special' and 'unofficial' deal between the police and the US military.

Glass, Key, Snyder and Johnson are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Dean Walcott, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In the United States, the press continues to believe that claims of a withdrawal garner more interest than headlines of "Some Troops May Come Home . . . Someday." The realities were addressed on yesterday's

Meanwhile in Washington the Senate a sort time ago passed a long discussed resolution that ties military funding to non-specific suggestions that President Bush accept the goal but not the requirement of removing less than half of the 150,000 US occupation troops from Iraq by the unenforceable deadline of March 2008. Nevertheless, President Bush has promised a veto. Today's 51 to 47 vote was mostly along party lines and now the Senate and House must resolve their respective legislation neither of which require a full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq till well after the installation of the next American president. And that's some of the news this Thursday, March 29th, 2007. From exile, I'm Robert Knight.

Robert Knight has been one of the consistent voices throughout. (Also on yesterday's
Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein interviewed the Washington Post's Peter Eisner. Rebecca will be covering that late tonight.) This week's CounterSpin (which began airing today) featured a discussion on the issue of what the US House and Senate bills actually state as opposed to the way the press has portrayed them. Co-host Janine Jackson spoke with The Institute for Policy Studies Erik Leaver. Leaver noted that
the bills' "terms of reference only are for combat troops and if you look at the current number of troops deployed in Iraq only half of them would be considered as are combat troops." Jackson, noting reality versus coverage, asked, "Well then are some of the press characterizations or glosses of this as a withdrawal bill, it sounds as though that's not quite on the money?" To which Leaver responded, "That's exactly correct."

Janine Jackson: Well looking at that broader context and we don't have much time left, the majority of the population want an end to the occupation and the war and media acknowledge that, it's their polls that show that, but it doesn't seem somehow guide the questions that they ask or the sources that speak to and I wonder in this case were there not other pieces of legislation that maybe came closer to what the public was calling for? Was there no way for journalists to kind of put this in the context of: "Is this going to end the war sooner?"

Eric Leavler: I think that is the missing element in the story. Again, if the news media reported on: "This brings half the troops home" I think you would see a lot more public discontent about the bill and they would perhaps I think there would be a lot more dissatisfied with Democrats than they are.

Michael Shank (Foreign Policy in Focus) interviews US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich explains why he refused to vote 'yes' on the House bill, "It's very simple: the bill kept the war going. I want to see this war end. I have created, with the help of people who worked on security and peacekeeping missions for years, a plan to end the war. It's embodied in H.R. 1234. It would end the U.S. occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home, establisha parallel process creating a peacekeeping and security force, reach out to the nations of the region and the international community for help -- something we won't get as long as we continue to occupy Iraq. That plan is much more expansive and in the course of this interview I'd be happy to over it with you but in short, I oppose the resolution because it kept funding the war. And I say we need to the war now. Not a year from now, not two years from now, not five or ten years from now, but now."

Military Families Speak Out issued (PDF format) "Military Families Speak Out Responds to Senate Vote To Continue Funding For Iraq War" yesterday which notes:

"People across this nation voted in November for an end to the war, not for Congress to provide President Bush with the funds to continue it. Our loved ones were first betrayed when they were sent off to fight a war based on lies. Congress is now continuing that betrayal by failing [to] cut off funding for this unjustifiable war."Miliary Familes Speak Out renews our calls for Congress to use their 'power of the purse' to support our troops and de-fund the war. We call on Congres to fund our troops by funding a safe and orderly withdrawal from Iraq and by funding care for our troops when they return home. This is the 'funding for troops' that is desperately needed."Leadership and courage, two character traits that our loved ones rely on every day as they put their lives on the line, seem to be in short supply on Capitol Hill. We hope that as the Supplemental Appropriations bill goes through the House-Senate Conference Committee and then back to the floors of the House and Senate, we will see our elected officials stand up for our troops and for our nation by ending the funds that allow this unjustifiable war to continue and providing the funds for a safe and orderly withdrawal and the care they need when they get home."

Richard W. Behan (CounterPunch) zeroes in on one aspect of both the Senate and the House's measures, the privatization of Iraq's oil law, defined by the Bully Boy and both houses of Congress as a 'benchmark' Iraqis must meet, "If passed, the law will make available to Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell about 4/5's of the stupendous petroleum reserves in Iraq. That is the wretched goals of the Bush Administration, and in his speech setting the revenue-sharing 'benchmark' Mr. Bush conscisously avoided any hint of it. The legislation pending now in Washington requires the President to certify to Congress by next october that the benchmarks have been met -- specifically that the Iraqi hydrocarbon law has been passed. That's the land mine: he will certify the American and British oil companies have access to Iraqi oil. This is not likely what Congress intended, but it is precisely what Mr. Bush has sought for the better part of six years." Steve Kretzmann (Oil Change) notes that the Iraqi oil unions were locked out of the drafting process but they are quite clear where they stand on the law: "The British and American oil companies were the first to obtain the concession to extract and invest Iraqi oil, nearly 80 years ago. After Iraq got rid of this octopus network, these foreign oil companies have again attempted to dominate this important oil wealth, under numerous pretexts and invalid excuses."

The House and the Senate managed to endorse the privatization of Iraq's oil even if they didn't bother to address the malnutrition --
Cartias Internationalis reports "[o]ver 11 percent of newborn babies are born underweight in Iraq today," that one third of Iraqi children now suffer from malnutrition, and quotes President of Caritas Middle East North Africa Claudette Habesch stating, "Iraq has the second largest oil supplies in the world, but it has levels of poverty, hunger and underdevelopment comparble to sub-Saharan Africa. The last four years, but in particular 2006, we have seen life get worser rather than better for the ordinary Iraqi. And people are voting with their feet. Everday 5000 people leave Iraq. In 2007, one in ten Iraqis is expected to leave the country. We are seeing minority groups such as Christians completely disappear from the country or leave their homes for safer areas."

And when someone tries to return?
Edward Wong and Ashley Gilbertson (New York Times -- Wong text, Gilbertson photos) report on Suaada Saadoun, a 49-year-old Iraqi woman who made the mistake of believing a wave of Operation Happy Talk that the latest juiced up version of the eternal 'crackdown' would make Baghdad safe. Suaada returned to her home last month amidst the big talk of the protection and how things would be safer. She, her four daughters, her son-in-law, and grandchildren returned to her Baghdad home after fleeing Iraq for Syria when the Shia gangs and militias became too threatening. Upon returning, Suaada attempted to deal with the new threats by notificing the Kurdish and US military. When two thugs, Abbas Radhi and Zuhair Naama, showed up with papers from the Ministry of Finance (which, make the connection, they obviously worked for), she phoned the Kurdish and American military. The Kurdish military was able to stop the two men at a checkpoint. They and the US military arrested the two men. Suaada was shot dead the next morning in front of a bakery. Her family has now fled the home.

But it was safer, said US military flacks, things were better in Baghdad -- this version of the crackdown was really something, really accomplishing something . . . Really nothing but more of the same. Oh, there is a difference. More attacks. Attacks on the fortified Green Zone are up.
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports the US military is saying that car bombs have "soared 30 percent since the start of a security crackdown in Iraq last month" -- since the start of the latest version of the crackdown that's been ongoing since June of 2006 is ther reality. David Byers (Times of London) reports that "the death toll rose to nearly 400 in four days following a multitude of deadly bomb and shooting attacks." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that "violence is returning to previous levels throughout the country. The number of unidentified bodies found dumped on Baghdad streets, which had dropped to an average of 13 per day in the weeks just after the plan began, has averaged 19 a day for the past two weeks. The average numbers of people killed and of car bombs also have increased slightly, according to statistics that McClatchy compiled."

CNN reports that Moqtada al-Sadr "is calling for an anti-American protest in the Iraqi city of Najaf on April 9, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad." Sounds like Clear Channel needs to get off their asses and head on over to Iraq to stage some of their propaganda rallies they held in the US during 2003. CBS and AP note that al-Sadr's call comes as "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose backing is dropping even among fellow Shiites, issued an angry statement pledging to bring the bombers responsible for Thursday's attacks to justice." That apparently means al-Maliki will make a big show about detaining them and then release them hours later with no fanfare. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that the 18 police officers who went on a massacre in Tal Afar, dragging people from their homes, killing at least 70 people, the ones identified by survivors, the ones who were taken into custody with much, much fanfare -- "had been freed after being detained for only a few hours." CNN reports that they were arrested (re-arrested) today. No word yet on whether they've also already been released.


CNN reports: "A U.S. airstrike in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood about 2 a.m. Friday killed at least 16 people and wounded 14 others, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. He said all of those killed were guards who protect neighborhoods in Sadr City. The U.S. military said it is looking into the report."


Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Hilla.


CNN reports 25 corpses were discovered in Mosul.

Today, the
US military announced: "While conducting a combat security patrol, a MND-B Soldier died and another was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near the Soldiers in a southern section of the Iraqi capital March 29." AP notes this brought the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal to 3,245.

CBS and AP report that six weeks after the Washington Post (Dana Priest and Anne Hull) and ABC News Brian Woodruff put the scandals of veterans health 'care' front and center, Bully Boy mosied down to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to throw some empty words around about how "we're going to fix the problem" and that he toured an "empty" patient room. Hopefully, his prepared remarks weren't delivered there but with the Bully Boy who knows . . .

Finally, students in the US have been protesting and continue to protest the Iraq war. The latest indication that gas bags need to rethink is The Nation magazine which makes the new SDS (
Students for a Democratic Society) their latest cover and includes a sketch (no articles -- it's fastly becoming the Highlights of the political set). Been there, done that and never awarded a student, as The Nation did not that long ago, for writing an essay spitting on her peers, LeftTurn was there first and best with Doug Viehmeyer's article "Steppin It Up: The New SDS." From the article: "SDS has gone forward, with 250 chapters springing up nationwide (and internationally). The most surprising aspect of the growth of SDS has been the number of chapters established at high schools and community colleges. When compared with the initial years after the founding of the original SDS, we are ahead of the curve. The spring and summer of 2006 was the incubation period for SDS, with the initial chapters getting off the ground and spreading via word of mouth and the web, participating in joint actions with other groups, and beginning the slow development of organizational vision and strategy." Applause to Viehmeyer and LeftTurn for doing such an amazing article that The Nation (already suffering bad campus cred -- for good reason) had to rush to copy.