Friday, November 16, 2007

Robert Parry, Margaret Kimberley

Yesterday, Mike's "PBS' NOW and talking music & the war with Ruth" noted what was on NOW with David Brancaccio this week. I didn't have an e-mail before I posted Wednesday night. Which is strange because there was one on Thursday time stamped Wednesday but it wasn't in there Wednesday night. (C.I. had the same thing happen.) It would be very hard to blog on Thursday if I wasn't on vacation or holiday due to the fact that I have the veterans' group on Thursday night. In that same post, Mike also interviews Ruth (Ruth's Report) so don't miss that.

"Bush's Clever Cognitive Dissonance" (Robert Parry, Consortium News):
In a broader sense, Bush's Nov. 15 speech reflected what has been a core rhetorical device of the modern American Right, the clever use of cognitive dissonance -- the confident assertion of positions that fly in the face of reality.
I first encountered this tactic in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan sought to frustrate the intent of government policies from the 1970s by appointing individuals who were hostile to those goals but who claimed to embrace the same principles.
For instance, Reagan disdained President Jimmy Carter's emphasis on "human rights" but instead of making a complete break, Reagan appointed Ernest Lefever as the State Department's human rights pointman.
Though Reagan and the Right hailed Lefever as a champion of human rights, the nomination foundered after critics, including his own family members, presented evidence of his racial prejudices and fondness for South Africa’s apartheid government.
(After Lefever's nomination was pulled, Reagan turned to a more astute practitioner of this technique, a bright and aspiring neoconservative named Elliott Abrams.)
In dealing with environmental issues, Reagan took a similar tack. Instead of directly challenging environmental policies enacted during the previous decade, he appointed right-wing "environmentalists" who talked about their love of nature while quietly dismantling regulatory protections.
What the Right -- and especially the neocons -- drew from these experiences was that the Washington press corps could be tough when contesting some narrow falsehood or a slight hypocrisy, but would ignore audacious misrepresentations, at least when they came from Republicans backed by aggressive right-wing media attack groups.
Bush has proved to be a master of this technique because he shows even fewer scrupples than the average politician in making claims that are at clear variance with the truth.
For instance, in his last two addresses to the United Nations General Assembly, Bush has hailed the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights although its tenets are in contradiction of his claims that he can kill, kidnap, detain, torture and spy on anyone of his choosing anywhere in the world.
Nevertheless, Bush displayed a well-founded confidence that the U.S. press corps wouldn’t challenge him on these obvious hypocrisies -- and he was right. [See's "
Bush to World: Up Is Down."]
Indeed, one of the most successful features of Bush's presidency may be his ability to exploit cognitive dissonance to avoid accountability for his actions. While Bush doesn't blush when his actions belie his words, the American political system can't seem to cope, incapable of either reconciling Bush’s dishonesty or enforcing any accountability upon him.
The national press corps and other Washington institutions -- like the emperor's subjects in the old fable -- try as best they can to ignore the obvious.

Robert Parry and his sons Nat and Sam will be speaking in Arlington, VA tomorrow beginning at 4:00 pm. The details are in the snapshot.

That is one reason I'm highlighting the article above. (Rebecca loves Robert Parry's reporting.) Another reason is that it goes to the problems today. They did not begin in 1992. I also think you can see Dianne Feinstein in the above. I'm thinking of her ridiculous record and, most recently, supporting the nomination of Mukasey. You can decided for yourself whether she's a liar or chooses to play stupid to avoid harsher criticism.

Another reasons was I never liked Lefevre and anything that reminds people of that misfit is worth highlighting. I was reading along attempting to figure out what to excerpt and found that name. "Misfit" is being kind.

"Democrats Love Bush" (Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report):
The Democratic party is a gigantic cesspool of treachery, treachery towards its rank and file, treachery to the constitution, and treachery to international law. The party's leadership goes out of its way to continue its back stabbing, claiming an inability to stop the Bush reign of terror. Every Bush nominee is confirmed, every funding request for the occupation of Iraq is granted. Conversely, every Democrat who attempts to stand up is smacked down, dismissed as crazy and thwarted at every turn.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich made good on his pledge to bring an impeachment resolution against Dick Cheney to the House floor. His efforts were necessary and noble, but the leadership made it clear they had no use for defending the Constitution. The House leadership worked with Republicans to send the resolution into a Judiciary committee black hole, and Kucinich made a personal plea to John Conyers, committee chairman. "I believe impeachment remains the only tool Congress has to prevent a war in Iran. This information relates directly to the Article III charges in the resolution. I urge your timely consideration." Kucinich will have better luck writing to Santa.
[. . .]
Democrats claim to oppose what Republicans advocate, but you wouldn't know it from their actions. Democratic Senators joined Republicans in approving the Bush administration nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey. Mukasey ducked and dodged and wouldn't give a straight answer when asked if he considered waterboarding to be torture and therefore illegal. Democratic Senators such as Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein were typical Democratic traitors. As members of the Judiciary committee they had a responsibility to lead the charge against Mukasey, instead they gave him the thumbs up. Feinstein has already confessed that she plans to support legislation giving immunity to the telecom corporations who went along with the illegal NSA spying scheme.

Di-Fi. I thought the two excerpts were compatible. Mukasey couldn't have happened without Di-Fi and Schumer and, as C.I. has pointed out, the telecommunications industry is Di-Fi's biggest donor. (Di-Fi has gone on record saying that telecoms should be granted immunity if they broke the law.) We have a huge 'bi-partisan' mess on our hands. You can see it on every issue including the illegal war. 'Bi-partisan' means two major parties collaborate together to overturn both the Constitution and the will of the American people. If you're planning to vote in
2008, please make a point to check out all candidates who are running, not just the two main parties.

That's going to be it. I started this over 2 hours ago but stopped because C.I. was working on something and I wanted to hear it. Great piece going up at The Common Ills tomorrow/later this morning (provided C.I. finds time to type it up) so don't miss it.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 16, 2007. Chaos and violence contine, the war resistance movement continues, Congress accomplishes nothing (but does get a vacation), Brian De Palma's film Redacted opens in select cities, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Canada's
War Resisters Support Campaign. staged rallies across Canada yesterday in support of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey whose appeal the Supreme Court refused to hear. Tracy Huffman and Debra Black (Toronto Star) report that Hinzman was at a rally in Toronto but not making public statements, instead letting Jeffry House (Hinzman, Hughey and many other war resisters in Canada's attorney) speak, "He's disappointed. He's tired of talking." John Ward (Canadian Press via London Free Press) dexplains that the focus will now be on the country's federal government and quotes House stating "the focus now turns to a political solution" and Canadian Friends Service Committee's Jane Orion Smith stating the legislature can "create a provision for them to stay." Kari Huus (MSNBC) cites Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign explaining, "What we need is for the (Liberal) party as a whole to take a stance on this. Together (the three parties) have a majority, and if they act together they can put something through the House of Commons." The Liberal Party currently has 96 seats in the House of Commons, the New Democratic Party has 30 seats. Those two bring the total to 126 which is the number of seats the Conservative Party holds. Bloc Quebecois holds 49 seats and 3 seats are held by the Independents (four seats are vacant). CKNW (AM 980) quotes Vancouver organizer Bog Ages explaining that the Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Party members are on board and "we have a number of Liberal MP's who said they would support us. So, all we have to do, we'd like the Liberal Party as a whole to take a stand. But even if they're split, enough of them, that combined with the other parties, they have a majority, potentially, in Parliament, to change the law." The New Democratic Party cites the poll where 64.4 percent of Ontarians believe the war resisters should be allowed to remain in Canada, notes that NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic Olivia Chow is introducing a motion to call for hearings on the issue and quotes her declaring, "To deport courageous war resisters who oppose the illegal invasion of Iraq is saying Yes to George W. Bush's war and No to supporting and protecting people seeking peace."

In the US,
Tom Hayden declared, "I hope that the Canadian people stop the Bush Administration from using the Harper government to hound a handful of war resisters and erase Canada's proud heritage as a haven for resisters and refugees." Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Attitude and Screed) also lamented the events in Canada (and compared Prime Minister Stephen Harper to adult acne): "if i was even slightly right about what canada once was, i know the people can still stand up and force their government to stand with them. but they better do so quick. if they want to see how it looks when they don't, just take a gander southward. we're becoming the text book example of a failed state."

In July of 2004, Democracy Now! spoke with Jeremy Hinzman:AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us. Can you talk about how you made your decision?
JEREMY HINZMAN: Pretty much what it came down to was-- I mean, I won't go into the false pretences and everything that we know about, but being in an illegal war, it would be being complicit and a criminal enterprise, and you may say that, oh, well, you're not a policymaker or a general or whatever, that the Nuremberg principles wouldn't apply to you. But in light of what's happened since Abu Ghraib, when they scapegoated like the lower enlisted soldiers for simply carrying out what the policy was from the upper echelons, I think it's pretty fair to say that we made the right decision. Because I was in the infantry and there is a good chance that I would have-- I would have been pretty active in a negative way. And so I'm-- that's why we came here pretty much is that I wasn't-- I don't want to shoot people. I would have been happy to go to Iraq as a port-a-potty janitor or operation human shield. I just don't want to shoot people.

Goodman spoke with Hinzman again on October 15, 2004 and also participating in the interview were Jeffry House and Brandon Hughey:
AMY GOODMAN: Brandon Hughey, why did you go into the military?
BRANDON HUGHEY: My story basically starts off almost the same way. I enlisted when I was 17 years old with basically the promise of a way to better my life financially. Again, it is a way to get a college education without amassing thousands of dollars of debt.
AMY GOODMAN: Where did you grow up?
BRANDON HUGHEY: I grew up in San Angelo, Texas. So, also when I signed the contract, I wasn't naive to the fact that I could be deployed to fight in a war, but I did have this image growing up that I would be sort of -- a good guy, if you will, and fighting for just causes and fighting to defend my country, and after I got out of basic training, and when I realized that basically the U.S. had attacked a country that was no threat to them, in an act of aggression, it shattered that myth, I guess you could say.
AMY GOODMAN: How old were you when you signed up?

At the rallies for Hinzman and Hughey, among those attending were war resisters from the Vietnam era and war resisters from today's illegal war.
Huffman and Black note Kimberly Rivera -- Iraq veteran, mother of two -- spoke at one rally: "I strongly believe we are doing the wrong thing in Iraq." Rivera went on to explain that, while serving in Iraq, when she looked "at the shaken crying Iraqi children" she was reminded "of her own daughter in Texas.": John Ward notes war resister Tim Richard attending one rally and wondering, "Why is it legal for me (to stay), because my father was born in New Brunswick, and not legal for somebody else who did the exact same thing?"

Meanwhile war resister Rodney Watson has gone public.
Suzanne Fournier (The Province) notes the 29-year-old, African-American, Iraq veteran self-checked out a year ago and now lives in Canada and quotes him stating, "I I realized the war had nothing to do with 9/11 or helping Iraqis or stopping terrorists. It's all about guarding oil for the U.S. , , , I'd rather do my time in jail than be a party to the racism I saw in Iraq. As an African-American, I grew up with racism. But in Iraq, I saw the same kind of abuse and mistreatment, only this was U.S. enlisted soldiers and American contractors, like security forces, abusing Iraqis."

Tom Regan (NPR News Blog) points out the difference between this week's court action (or inaction) and last week's. While Hugey and Hinzman were not allowed to seek out a legal remendy by the Canadian Supreme Court, last week US District Judge Benjmain Settle ruled in Ehren Watada's favor, "The judge says the military court is ignoring Watada's constitutional right not to face double jeopardy after his first court-martial ended in a mistrial.
The injunction means Watada has a better chance of winning his case, but it also means he might not get a chance to test his central argument -- that the Iraq war is illegal -- in court."
Noting the Watada ruling yesterday,
NPR's Martin Kaste (All Things Considered) covered the story and Kenneth Kagan, Watada's civilian attorney along with James Lobsenz, explained the double-jeopardy issue (the February court-martial ended in a mistrial over defense objection) was something many courts grasp: "Civilians courts understand that, state courts understand that but for some reason military courts weren't acknowledging that reality."

Another reality that some (the press) has a hard time acknowledging is the number of service members electing to check out of the military on their own.
AP reports that this year the desertion rate has jumped to "the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase" since the start of the illegal war. AP continues to deny reality by offering the claim that the US military does little to track down those who go AWOL or desert -- despite the mountain of public evidence to the contrary.
As to the figure cited, September 21st,
Nick Watt (ABC's Nighline) examined war resisters and noted the number of people being processed for desertion at Fort Knox "jumped 60% last year" (to 1,414 for Fort Knox -- US military figures) while concluding his report with, "If the total for the first six months of 2007 doubles by year end, it will become the highest annual total in twenty-six years." At 80% the total has more than doubled and not only is there another full month left in the year, it's also true that you have to be gone at least 30 days to be declared a deserter (unless you're Agustin Aguayo and the military wants to screw you over) and, in addition, the military figures have been 'lower' than they should be before (NPR caught that earlier this year) and the rolls aren't up to date for AWOL let alone desertion.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

The voice of war resister Camilo Mejia is featured in Rebel Voices -- playing now through December 16th at
Culture Project and based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. It features dramatic readings of historical voices such as war resister Mejia, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and others will be featured. Zinn will take part in the November 18th presentation (the official opening night -- but performances are already taking place) and musician Allison Mooerer will head the permanent cast while those confirmed to be performing on selected nights are Ally Sheedy (actress and poet, best known for films such as High Art, The Breakfast Club, Maid to Order, the two Short Circuit films, St. Elmo's Fire, War Games, and, along with Nicky Katt, has good buzz on the forthcoming Harold), Eve Ensler who wrote the theater classic The Vagina Monologues (no, it's not too soon to call that a classic), actor David Strathaim (L.A. Confidential, The Firm, Bob Roberts, Dolores Claiborne and The Bourne Ultimatum), actor and playwright Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless -- film and TV series, Gregory and Chicken Little), actress Lili Taylor (Dogfight, Shortcuts, Say Anything, Household Saints, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, State of Mind) and actor, director and activist Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Beloved, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Rainmaker, Places In The Heart, Dreamgirls, Shooter and who appeared on Democracy Now! Friday addressing the US militarization of Africa) The directors are Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati with Urbinati collaborating with Zinn and Arnove on the play. Tickets are $21 for previews and $41 for regular performances (beginning with the Nov. 18th opening night). The theater is located at 55 Mercer Street and tickets can be purchased there, over the phone (212-352-3101) or online here and here. More information can be found at Culture Project.

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

Starting next week, IVAW's announcement above will be summarized in each snapshot until the March testimony begins. Winter Soldier is the documentary that was made of the 1971 investigation and it is
available via Vietnam Veterans Against the War for $28.95 (four dollars of that is for shipping). Staying with films for a minute more, Brian De Palma's Redacted opens today in select cities and, although fiction, is inspired by real life events -- specifically the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza and the murder of her five-year-old sister and both parents.Opening Today:
11/16/2007 Berkeley, CA: Shattuck Cinemas Los Angeles, CA: The Landmark Palo Alto, CA: Aquarius 2 Pasadena, CA: Laemmle's One Colorado Cinemas San Francisco, CA: Embarcadero Center Cinema Santa Ana, CA: South Coast Village 3 West Hollywood, CA: Sunset 5 Washington, DC: E Street Cinema Chicago, IL: Landmark's Century Centre Cinema Cambridge, MA: Kendall Square Cinema New York, NY: Sunshine Cinema New York, NY: Lincoln Plaza Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing claimed 1 life and left four more wounded, a Baquba mortar attack left six people wounded, while 2 Baquba bombings left three civilians and four police officers wounded.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that an Iraqi 1st Lieuntenant and his brother were shot dead in Misan while en route to their home today and yesterday "5 civilians were injured in a random fire by the Iraqi army in Al Siniyah town north west of Tikrit city."


Reuters reports Muntazer al-Zaidi, a 26-year-old journalist for Iraqi television, was kidnapped in Baghdad today.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

As the violence continues the US State Department has had a public relations nightmare with diplomats not filling posts and threats from the chain of command that they would be ordered to Baghdad. This morning
Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported that an announcement would be coming today "that volunteers have filled all 48 open jobs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for next year and that it will not order any foreign service officers to work there against their will, officials said yesterday." NPR's Morning Edition reported earlier today that the positions had been filled; however, Reuters -- citing a State Department flack -- reports that it may -- may -- be unnecessay to order some diplomats to Baghdad and quotes Sean McCormack insisting, "It appears that we are getting very nearly to the point where we will have volunteers for all of the open, identified jobs."

As Reuters notes, some objecting to be assigned to Baghdad have compared it to a death sentence. This as
DPA reports that the Turkish military has been moving tanks to the northern border of Iraq. Gareth Jones (Reuters) reports that some members of Turkey's ruling political party have stated Turkish troops will not enter Iraq if the PKK disarmed. Since they really aren't able to make that promise and since the PKK would be highly unlikely to disarm under such a vague offer, the tensions continue between northern Iraq and Turkey.

Turning to the US Congress, the Democratic shell-game (Let's tell the voters this is a withdrawal!) passed in the House but didn't come to a vote today in the Senate.
Noam M. Levey (Los Angeles Times) reports the measure garnered only 53 votes of support and that Congress is now expected to leave DC for their two-week Thanksgiving vacation. For those attempting to keep track, Congress just took a 30-day vacation in September but apparently carving a turkey takes several days when you're in the US Congress. Possibly the lack of spines makes the standing difficult? Pelosi pushed through the measure in the House and many in the Out of Iraq caucus held their news and voted to support it -- even though it did not mean withdrawal and even though it would have given Bully Boy $50 billion more dollars for the illegal war. Earlier this week, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold went on record opposing the measure because it continued funding the Iraq War and was toothless and non-binding. Toothless and non-binding? In "Don't Ask Her to Play Hostess" news Corporate Crime Reporter's Russell Mokhiber (via CounterPunch) shares the latest social tidbit from US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, "I'm not happy when people come to my house." Oh. So that's why she entertained the Dalai Lama at the MCI Center in 2005. And those of us in her district just assumed the location was another reward to her corporate donors. Actually, it's Fancy Nancy having another public fit over the fact that CODEPINK potests. She loved CODEPINK . . . when they called out the powerful . . . back when Republicans controlled everything. Now that Democrats control both houses in the US Congress and CODEPINK stays true to their purpose of calling out the powerful, Fancy Nancy has a snit fit. Repeatedly. Fancy Nancy declares of CODEPINK, "And if they think the longer they stay there the better the chances they will have a meeting with me -- I think I've disabused them of that notion." No, all she's done is demonstrate that from Richard Nixon through PW Botha on up to the Bully Boy and a hop and skip over to Fancy Nancy the bunker mentality thrives. CODEPINK is nation wide with chapters all over but many in the Bay Area see it as the "home team" so, when you're already tanking in the polls, with your highest negatives and your lowest approval ratings ever, it's probably not a good idea to go after them or present yourself an advocate against free speech. Fancy Nancy's a Maryland transplant (that never really took) so possibly she's unaware where the Free Speech Movement began? The eighth district's own Joe Lieberman appears eager to continue digging her own grave.

Finally, Robert Parry was a guest on
CounterSpin today where he explained his article "Why We Write" (Consortium News) and spoke of the immediate positive effects during and following Watergate that quickly fell away and how the US press became what it is today. He and his sons Nat and Sam will be speaking at Busboys and Poets in Arlingtion, Virginia Saturday Nov. 17th from four p.m. to six p.m. discussing their new book Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. Sam and Nat Parry have established their own journalist skills at Consortium News and they and Robert Parry can discuss any of the topics pertaining to the current administration but remember that Robert Parry has been doing investigative journalism for years -- long enough to have had neocon Daniel Pipes insult his reporting long, long before the Iraq War -- a sure sign his investigations cause discomfort.

jeremy hinzmanbrandon hugheydemocracy nowamy goodman

karen deyoung