Monday, December 24, 2007

Call out Katrina vanden Heuvel

"The Nation featured 491 male bylines in 2007 -- how many female ones?" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Having started the year featuring a 'book review' by her friend Pig Bergman which went several years back to find a man to praise after sharing his impressions of a whorehouse in Afghanistan and ripping apart the books of Ann Jones and Sarah Chayes (Jones is a conspiracy monger, to hear Pig tell it, how nice of vanden Heuvel to allow her centrist friend to rip apart the work of a Nation contributor on the pages of The Nation; Chayes isn't 'objective' -- apparently she never visited a whorehouse in Afghanistan), vanden Heuvel rushes in at the end of the year to pretend she's got any thoughts of women and wants to share her shock over the fact that a number of 'single' women don't vote. Women, single or not, make less money than men and are more likely to be responsible for young children.
vanden Heuverl spares them a moment of time only because they might be voters. Make no mistake, this SEXIST rag hasn't written one word about Tracy Barker or Jamie Leigh Jones. Jones testified before a Congressional committee last Wednesday about being drugged and gang-raped in Iraq. Tracy Barker submitted a written statement about being sexually harassed while working in Iraq and being sexually assaulted by a State Department employee. Both women were profiled on 20/20 two Fridays ago. (20/20 broadcast noted at this site here.) March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza was gang-raped by US soldiers, while two gang-raped her, she also had to endure hearing her parents and five-year-old sister shot in the other room by a third US soldier who then allegedly (both of the two have confessed and identified Steven D. Green as the instigator, a co-rapist and the murderer) killed her. By June 2006, these events were being reported in the mainstream media. An Article 32 hearing was held for those soldiers still in the service (Green was discharged before the crimes came to light, he will be tried in a civilian court -- scheduled to begin April 13th). In 2007, Alexander Cockburn would become the first Nation journalist to write about Abeer in the pages of the magazine. Katha Pollitt would then offer Abeer in a half sentence.
Last Tuesday, AP's Ryan Lenz described the events as "four U.S. soldiers who helped gang rape and kill a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in one of the war's worst atrocities. . . . The allegations of rape and murder at the hands of U.S. soldiers in July 2006 enraged the world community, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who demanded full accountability." Enraged the world community. One of the war's worst atrocities. Lenz, for the record, has covered the story repeatedly. The Nation, by contrast, hasn't. (That's in print, that's in 'online exclusives' and the magazine's 'blogs.')
That a weekly magazine, allegedly left (but look at all those New American Foundation contributors in a recent issue), wants to ignore Jones, Barker and Abeer (along with many other women) is disgusting. That a woman holds both titles of editor and publisher at said magazine is appalling. (By contrast, Mother Jones has written about it, Stephanie Mencimer wrote about it from DC -- of course Mother Jones has a strong bureau chief. Maybe The Nation could consider asking him to write for their magazi . . . Oh, wait. Never mind.)
As noted before, Ben accused Ava and C.I. of being responsible for the lack of women. Apparently, so almighty powerful are Ava and C.I. (some of our readers might agree with that description) that one comic critique from them and all women writers shrivel away. So they avoided noting the writing of any women done during the second period with the exception of the disgusting attempts by the magazine to tear apart Cindy Sheehan. They avoided, for instance, noting that Patricia J. Williams -- allegedly a law professor -- was off writing about Oprah when you'd think a law professor would be far more interested in War Crimes and not in offering bad attempts at humor (see especially August 27th's "The Protect Alberto Gonzales Act of 2007"). But maybe they misunderstood the title of Williams' columns? Maybe the "mad" in "The Diary of a Mad Law Professor" isn't meant to indicate that she's angry about the state of the world, maybe it's meant to indicate that her brain is cracked? She certainly writes (in scope and meandering nature) as if she's unhinged.
Ben maintained the magazine was aware of the issue of women writers not being printed by the magazine and they would be addressing it. The first period featured 181 more male bylines than female ones and the second period featured 161 more male bylines than female ones. At this rate of 'progress,' in four years the magazine might be able to publish only one more male than woman? Is that what we're supposed to assume?
The reality is that going from 181 more males to 161 more males is disgraceful when you admit there's a problem, when you admit you are aware of it and when you claim you are addressing it. Again, the post of comic illustrator opened up while they were allegedly aware of the problem and yet not one female has been given that page.
The Nation is supposedly a left magazine and yet they think it's acceptable to run 491 bylines by male in one year and only 149 by women. If you want to embrace that sop Katrina vanden Heuvel just tossed out to appear 'interested' in women, do so. Wallow in it. But have the guts and brains to grasp that it's sop and that a magazine where one woman holds the position of editor and publisher has repeatedly demonstrated throughout 2007 that it was no friend to women.

That's from the article that posted Sunday. If you're a woman or a man who cares about discrimination, you need to be alarmed by the figures. You need to be bothered that at the start of July, their publicity boy (Ben) was e-mailing C.I. and saying, "We are aware of the problem and we are working on it." There is no indication that they worked on it all. Just that they were hoping to kill a planned article planned for July 4th.

Look at those figures and, if this is what they do when they 'work,' why did they even bother.

Women need to stop being silent. They need to stop avoiding calling this crap out. Or calling it out privately. Women with bylines didn't even account for half of the magazine's published pieces. Women can't make up half the magazine when we make up more than half of the US population?

Queen Bee needs to be called out and called out immediately.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is no friend to women. She's not behaved like one and she shouldn't be considered one.

She is a woman who got to a certain level (thanks to money) and is bound and determined to make sure that no woman 'upstages' her.

There is no excuse for it to begin with. But when the magazine wants to claim they are aware of the problem and that they are addressing it and yet there is no improvement -- in fact, issues in the fall, well after the problem was known, frequently featured one woman in the entire issue. That's addressing it?

That's crap and I'm sick of it. Women need to call it out. Older women, younger women, because until it is called out it will continue.

The fact that Ava and C.I. (who started this feature as "Nation Stats" this time last year) had to do so to begin with is so sad when a woman is both the editor and publisher of the magazine. Nothing's going to change 2007, the last 2007 issue has been published, but if women will register their objections, it might be better in 2008.

If women aren't willing to, if they're wrongly thinking you don't call out a woman (she's a Queen Bee and she's not helping women), then let's all be prepared for this to happen over and over. The Nation is a weekly magazine. If you want to make a difference for women in this country in 2008, you can call this nonsense out.

But there are other issues! Absolutely there are other issues but don't think we'll see any of our (women's) issues covered in a magazine that thinks it's fine and dandy to offer 491 men and only 149 men in one year of 'weekly' magazines. (Some 'weekly' issues are double issues.) How did the magazine go so long with ignoring Abeer? (Only Alexander Cockburn has written of her. Katha Pollitt mentioned her.) Well when all you have are sexist centrists being brought in from the New America Foundation and other centrist organizations, you're not going to hear those stories. They aren't interested.

Katrina vanden Heuvel should be called out and she should be ashamed of herself.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)
Monday, December 24, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, 'tis the season for . . . mass kidnappings, mercenaries are back in the news and, in honor of the gift giving season, a 'left' 'voice' telegraphs just how unimportant the illegal war is to him.

Starting with war resistance. And let's deal with why, unless your name is In These Times, left and 'left' print magazines don't have anything to point to with pride in 2007. They've been silent on war resisters (this also goes to a number of radio programs) and have refused to cover any war resisters (in the US, in Canada or Eli Israel, the first service member to publicly resist while serving in Iraq though you wouldn't know that fact if you counted on independent media to bring the news to you). Every year at this time The Nation's Katha Pollitt does a column on where you could donate your money. This year's column appears to address some of last year's criticism, so
here's the link. That is Pollitt's trademark and has been for years -- that column. Paul Loeb apparently thinks he can be the male Katha. (In his dreams. And, yes, I'm aware he's one of those three named monstrosities but he's signing off his Free Press column with "Paul Loeb." It's entitled "Who I Give To" with the message that it's who you should give to.

And what do we have. In order: Working Assets, Better World Club, IPA, MoveOn, Sojourners, WellstoneAction, America Votes, Democracy for America, the DNC, John Edwards' presidential campain, Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Public Campaign, 1Sky coaltion, Focus the Nation, Climate Crisis Coalition, Sierra Club, Fight Back America, Jobs With Justice, NAACP, ACLU, Peace Action, True Majority, The War Resister's Leauge, The Backbone Campaign, Americans For Peace Now and Brit Tzedek. He notes the last two are "pro-Israel." Reading over the list, where is IVAW? Where is Courage To Resist? Where is the War Resisters Support League? Where is Veterans for Peace? Where is CODEPINK? Where is SDS? Where is United for Peace & Justice? Where is World Can't Wait? Where is A.N.S.W.E.R.? Where is the National Lawyers Guild? (NLG has a group for war resisters.)

No where. An overly praised, fawned over writer opens his empty head to reveal to you just how shallow 'voices' are. Anyone stupid (and you have to be stupid, there's no other word for it) to give to two presidential candidates and not grasp they are not 'helping' either and they are cancelling their donation out, already started out in the Dumb Zone. But could that money not have gone to IVAW, War Resisters Support Campaign or Courage To Resist?

"I'm not a pacifist," he feels the need to reassure (no one thought he was a pacifist, it would be surprising if anyone thought he had the skill or ability to think long enough to reach that position), "but The War Resister's League has carried the banner of peace activism for 85 years, and I always admire what they do." The American Friends Service Committee has 'carried the banner' for 90 years. But though Working Assets and True Majority (covering the same damn terrain) can get shout outs and it's non-stop election central (including donating to two candidates running for the same slot), American Friends Service Committee is not mentioned .Paul gives a true gift this holiday season: a glimpse into the heavily pimped shallow mind that makes up too much of the so-called left today. With his list, that he wrote himself, he has told you what is important and what isn't and he has told you that he can't even plug the War Resister's League without rushing to reassure any reader that he's not a pacifist. Running scared and running brain dead, one of the most heavily pimped 'lefties' of the decade makes it very clear that he's all about the Democratic Party and elections and he's not at all about ending the illegal war. What's surprising is that he left off a Hurricane Katrina charity -- how many bad articles did he bore America with on that topic after Katrina hit? Well, that's the 'left' you for, a tiny-minded mocking bird, flittering and fluttering from here to there but never landing.

An illegal war is going on and the answer in an overly long, bad column (men who try to copy Katha Pollitt will always come up short), he tells you where his priorities are. He supports Jewish organizations that are pro-Israel, he supports Sojourners with money though he doesn't agree with their 'evangical' measures. He supports anything and everything but those committed to ending the illegal war with one exception and, when noting that exception, it's important for him to rush to assure America he's no pacifist. No one ever thought a shallow thinker could wade to that conclusion, Loeb, no one ever did.

Apparently there's no show tune for him to stumble across ("the impossible will take a little while") about war resisters so they're not on his list of concerns. But, in that list, you see 2007 independent (or 'independent') media coverage in all its horror. Give money to candidates! Give it to two candidates running against each other! Give money to the Democratic Party! Give money to groups working on clean elections! Give money to groups working on getting people elected! Give, give, give till it hurts.

And the reality is, in 2007, independent media has hurt war resistance. This December 23rd published column also explains how useless independent media is. Is anyone really thinking, this late in the game, "I must get a gift! I know I'll donate!" If they were, links would be required for someone wanting to be 'helpful.' No links are provided. Typical independent media in 2007, advocating badly.

Does Loeb know that on November 15th, the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of war resisters
Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey? Does he even care? Judging by his column, the answer is no. An over hyped voice of the 'left' gives the greatest gift of all in 2007: The reality of how little the alleged 'left' cares about ending the illegal war. (Give to the DNC! Give to two presidential candidates who refuse to promise, that if elected in 2008, they would pull out the troops by 2013!) That just about sums it all up. In the real world, the Canadian Parliament has the power to let war resisters stay in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26.

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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

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

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

On Sunday,
Alissa J. Rubin and Damien Cave (New York Times) provided the lengthiest coverage of Iraq the paper's offered in some time as they explored the 'Awakening' Councils that US government has decided is the quick-fix to reducing the violence just enough to stop Americans from caring that an illegal war is going on. Not noted in the article is that the Sunni thugs want the US out. Noted in the article is that the they don't support al-Maliki's puppet government. This is why the Shi'ite thugs are furious. They were armed and backed by the US early on and were very effective at 'cleansing' areas through force, intimidation and death squads. Now the US is arming their enemies and they're worried. Arming but unable to control. In Ramadi, Cave and Rubin join Second Lt. Stephen Lind who discovers that, despite "a rule that bans the Iraqi Army from the city," the Iraqi army is at a sheik's and, when asked by Lind why, the response is: "The sheik told us to come." And that's that, time to roll out and rules (like laws) really don't matter but let's all pretend the US is somehow in 'control.' Rubin and Cave observe, "The standoff, though, underscored the Awakening's long-term challenge."

The US is not 'improving' things in Iraq, they are laying the groundwork for further tensions and anyone could tell them that but the government doesn't want to listen. Very similar to how they did not want to listen about the issue of mercenaries.
Steve Rainaru (Washington Post) reports on how warnings were repeatedly ignored by the State Dept and the Pentagon
which addresses how warnings were ignored by the government (US) repeatedly regarding mercenaries, cites the lack of "substantive action to regulate" mercenaries -- lack of action from the State Dept. or the Pentagon and while "previous wars . . . had prohibited contractors from participating in combat . . . in Iraq, military planners rewrote the policy" via a September 20, 2005 order that granted mercenaries the power "to use deadly force". From the article:

Critics, including the American Bar Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned that the Pentagon had used an obscure defense acquisition rule to push through a fundamental shift in American war-fighting without fully considering the potential legal and strategic ramifications.The provision enabled the military to significantly raise troop levels with contractors whose "combat roles now closely parallel those of Constitutionally and Congressionally authorized forces," wrote Herbert L. Fenster, a partner with McKenna Long & Aldridge, a Washington-based international law firm that represents several major defense contractors. Fenster questioned the provision's legality in a lengthy comment he filed in opposition. The practice "smacks of a mercenary approach," he wrote in an e-mail.But neither the military nor the State Department set guidelines for regulating tens of thousands of hired guns on the battlefield. Oversight was left to overburdened government contracting officers or the companies themselves, which conducted their own investigations when a shooting incident occurred. Dozens of security companies operated under layers of subcontracts that often made their activities all but impossible to track. They were accountable to no one for violent incidents, according to U.S. officials and security company representatives familiar with the contracting arrangements.

In England, accountability is also an issue with regards to contractors.
PA reports that the Parliament may be addressing "clains that a UK-based security company" ArmorGroup "deliberataly withheld intelligence from the British armed force in Iraq" with regards to "militia infiltration of the Iraqi police in Basra" Henry McDonald, Duncam Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) report that Colin Williamson (who worked for ArmorGroup in Iraq) has made "[t]he most serious allegations" which include this, "My role was to go to certain Iraqi police stations daily in the Basra area. But we were told not to report back any intelligence we picked up there, not to hand it to the British military. Why? Because our bosses and probably, in turn, the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] didn't want to expose how corrupt and infiltrated by the militia the police were." If true, his statements mean that ArmorGroup is just another contractor that's yet to face accountability.

Equally unaccountable are the US employees who gang-rape and sexually harass in Iraq.
Yvonne Roberts (Guardian of London) addresses the crimes against Jamie Lee Jones and notes that there has been no accountability in the two years since the gang-rape was reported and that laws favorable to US corporations (Halliburton/KBR are who Jones' attackers worked for) may allow them to avoid prosecution. Roberts notes, "MoveOn, a democracy-in-action pressure group is organising a petition calling on Congress to investigate Jamie's case, hold those involved accountable, and bring US contractors under the jurisdiction of US law so this can't happen again. Sadly, the petition can only be signed by American voters. If you take a look at what happened to Jamie Leigh Jones and at least 11 other women now claiming they have been raped and sexually assaulted while working in Baghdad's Green Zone, then it's difficult to avoid the notion that if these contractors behave in such a sexually barbaric fashion to their working colleagues, what have they been inflicting on the female Iraqi population - apart from apparently randomly beating and shooting their men?"Meanwhile, Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports today on a disgusting development for those who did not assume the United States resorted to tactics of totalitarian regimes: 'deprogramming.' Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone is identified as the one responsible for what's called "the battlefield of the mind" and just the fact that the US uses such languages and wants to 'militarize' the mind should be enough to frighten most. But reading on you realize that Iraqi prisoners are now experiment subjects -- against their will -- and may every anthropologist, sociologist, medical personal, et al be haunted eternally for what are they doing. Pincus tells you that who the military wants to assist with these attacks on a person's sanity, will and mind are "teachers, religious and behavioral science counselors" and that the goal is 'reintegration.' Here's a thought: How can Iraqis be reintegrated into their own occupied country? If the military's telling you this much, it's probably much worse; however, Stone doesn't have the common sense to grasp how offensive what he is peddling to the public is. I am unaware of an waiver that allows for brain-washing in a war (legal or illegal) but apparently that's one more thing being tossed aside.

Moving on,
Leila Fadel (Baghdad Observer, McClatchy Newspapers) shares details of Eid al Adha celebration including the shopping ("a toy store where little boys crowded around toys, picking their holiday gifts. They all wanted the same thing, toy guns, just like the men they see on the streets.. . . The toys hear are a reflection of the reality they live, humvees, military helicopters and guns. All the little boys want sto emulate the violence on the street"), a McClathy correspondent's relative who has to to Iran for medical treatment ("Although a trickle of people are returning so many professionals are absent and simple medical procedures are only available outside Iraq") and a meal where inquiries about marital status were made with Iraqi woman explaining, "My fiancee was killed at the beginning of the war. I've never found anyone like him."

And the violence goes on . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Bagdad mini-bus bombing that claimed 1 life and left five wounded, two Baghdad roadside bombings that wounded six people and a Diyala Province roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and wounded three more. AP reports that the mini-bus bombing was "near the Baghdad governor's office" and "near the heavily guarded Green Zone" and that it's "unclear if it was detonated remotely or just went off."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash at a police station "north east of Sulaimaniyah."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 14 people were kidnapped from a mini-bus north of Baquba, 7 truck drivers were kidnapped south of Kirkuk. Reuters reports that the 14 kidnapped off the bus today were all "members of one family". AFP reports on the 14 Shi'ites kidnapper that they were stopped at a fake check-point outside of Baquba and were taken off a bus at the checkpoint and kidnapped -- this was "all the passengers" on the bus "including some women and children" according to Iraqi police officer Hazim Yassin.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In addition,
Al Jazeera reports on a Sunday train crash that claimed the lives of many members of the Hamid Hrat family -- two adults, five girls and six boys for a total of 13 -- who were apparently unable to move over the train crossing (stalled car? who knows?) and were plowed into by a train in Hilla. (AP and some other domestic sources report the train crash as happening today.)

Finally, despite PO'LICeandTICksOh providing a back channel to Nancy Pelosi's Blue Dog Congressional enemies
last Friday, Dennis Camire (The Honolulu Advertiser) reports that US House Rep Neil Abercrombie states that Dems will "push on with the effort" to end the illegal war and that "Rep. Abercrombie said it's only a matter of time and American casualties before the public gets fed up enough and forces politicians to bring the troops home." Apparently, the writers' strike has also resulted in Congress airing re-runs. The 'strategy' is not 'new.' It's the one John Harris (PO'LIceandTICsOh) summed up as describing what Congress was hoping for in 2007 when speaking on PBS' Washington Weak over the weekend. (Here for the program's web site. Here for Ava and my review.)