Friday, January 26, 2007

Late post

Thank you to Rebecca for blogging here Thursday. She hadn't intended to blog here Thursday but there were problems with logging into her own account (which are now fully fixed, as of right now). Okay, I'm going to depress the hell out of everyone with the first thing I'm noting.

"Molly Ivins Hospitalized in Ongoing Battle With Cancer" (Editor & Publisher staff, Common Dreams):
Almost three weeks ago, Molly Ivins wrote that she would dedicate every single one of her syndicated columns from now on to the issue of stopping the war in Iraq -- until it ended. But she has managed to finish only one more column since.
The gravely ill Texas columnist has been hospitalized again this week in her ongoing battle with breast cancer.
Her assistant Betsy Moon says she may be able to go home Monday. She adds that those close to Ivins are "not sure what's going to happen, but she's very sick.''
The 62-year-old columnist had taken an earlier break from her syndicated column, but resumed writing earlier this month.
Last October she had suggested this headline to an E&P interviewer: "Molly Ivins Still Not Dead."
E&P wrote then, "The third recurrence of the breast cancer she has been battling since 1999 (and which recently claimed her good friend, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards) has left the 62-year-old Ivins with precarious balance, minimal hair, and no illusions about the redemptive quality of life-threatening illness. 'I'd hoped to become a better person from confronting my own mortality,' she laughs. 'But it hasn't happened.'"
In the
Jan. 11th column, which opposed the troop escalation, Ivins wrote “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war....If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"
But this was the last newspaper column she has been able to write.

I've always enjoyed her columns and hope she recovers. She's done some amazing work and always managed me to reach me even when I disagreed with her (on Cuba, for instance). She's an important voice and one of the few females to break through in the supposedly more equality minded left. (Does anyone else ever notice how many White males get a microphone shoved in front of them on radio program after radio program? I'm not talking mainstream media.) Kat wrote a thing when Ann Richards passed about how Richards put a good face on Texas to the rest of the nation (that point was echoed elsewhere but I believe Kat made it first). I don't disagree but, for me, Molly Ivins would be the one I'd cite. I'd see her on TV with Bill Moyers or speaking to someone else (he's also from Texas, by the way), or I'd read her columns (I have all of the collections in book form) and she just seems like someone who always calls crap "crap" without beating around the bush. She really is something special.

Actually, that's it for highlights. I had to stop because independent media reporters (or "reporters") had written into the public account of The Common Ills and Jess was reading them. What a load of whiners, as someone said. Really, what a bunch of cry babies. The funniest one was where someone was wrong in print but tried to act like they weren't. They admitted they were wrong but said that was just because they put something in quotes that shouldn't have been. If I said more, I'd blow the whiner's identity so I'll leave it at that but if they spent half the time writing things of use that they do on their whines, the world might be better off. I'd also suggest that when they think they're "helping" C.I. by pointing something out (such as the fact that The Nation ran online pieces on Watada -- and I don't care that I've i.d.ed one publication of a whiner), they'd do well to know that not only does C.I. know about that, it's been noted at The Common Ills repeatedly. Just because you're late to the party doesn't give you an excuse to be dumb. C.I.'s quite aware of the 'online exclusives' -- we all are. They've been noted. Repeatedly, but I'll just note that. Another thing of note is Isaiah's upcoming comic for Sunday. I've seen it. I will be posting it at my site on Monday. You don't want to miss it. Rebecca noted it here when she blogged here earlier (scroll down one post).

Kat's crashed on the couch. She asked me to slap her foot when I got done blogging. We're in the living room (we're staying at a friend's home) (a friend of C.I.'s originally but we're all claimed now) and Kat was exhausted. She didn't even wake up when we were discussing the e-mails, and that got loud, when Jess was reading them. I'm tempted not to slap her foot so she can get some sleep but I know I would be mad if someone did that to me (even if they were being kind), so I'll wake her up. Besides, she'll be more comfortable in a bed later on.

I'm tired. Tomorrow's a very busy day. I hope you're taking part in something. Make your voice heard.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, January 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, ten days to go until Ehren Watada's February 5th court-martial begins, groups mobolize to end the war in the United States, Bully Boy issues death threats to Iranians in Iraq and a death threat to American democracy, the privatization of Iraq's assets is boldly expressed but we're all supposed to look the other way and the US military gets caught in a lie.

Starting with
Ehren Watada, he, his father (Bob Watada) and his mother (Carolyn Ho) will be out in full force tomorrow. Susan Paynter (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports will be taking part in Seattle's events to end the war: "1 p.m. at the Center for Social Justice, 2111 E. Union St., moving to the Military Recruitment Center at 2301 S. Jackson St., then to the Langston Hughes Center at 104 17th Ave. S. at 3, where speakers will include Lt. Ehren Watada." Watada, who will be part of a panel discussion, is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and he is facing a Februarty 5th court-martial in which he will not be able to present any real defense because 'Judge' Head has a really sick sense of what "justice" is.
Michael E. Ruane (Washington Post) reports that Bob Watada will be speaking at the DC rally tomorrow and Bob Watada tells Ruane: "There is no doubt in my mind that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is wholly unwarranted. The Iraqi people have done absolutely nothing to the United States. They've done nothing to deserve the massacre and the pummeling they're getting . . . the plunder, the torture, the rape, the murder of innocent people. It's got to stop." Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that, in San Francisco, things kick off with "a noon rally at Powell and Market streets. Carolyn Ho, the mother of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Hawaii, who is refusing orders to deploy to Iraq, will speak to the crowd."

Three different cities tomorrow where they will be attempting to get the message that the illegal war needs to end and that what will take place in the February 5th court-martial won't be justice because the 'judge' has refused to allow
Ehren Watada to present his reasons for refusing to deploy, the studies he did as part of his command that led him to the conclusion that the war was illegal and immoral. Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) spoke with Marti Hiken (National Lawyers Guild) who noted that "people do not surrender all their constional rights when they enter the military" and that "Regardless of whether the military wins this court martial, they lose for silencing an individual who has so much integrity that is evident to people across the country."

Saying "no" to an illegal war is hard. It takes courage. (Note the Cowards Silence plauging the left if you doubt that, but I'm actually talking about those in the military who have said "no.") Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske 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, tomorrow sees protests, rallies and marches around the country. As
CODEPINK notes: "Join us on January 27 to say No More Funding for War! Bring Our Troops Home Now! We will use our feet and our lungs and our signs and our outrage to let Bush and our new Congress know that we are serious about ending this war.If you can't make it to DC, see if there is a solidarity event being planned in your area. If not, create your own, even if that means standing alone on a street corner with a sign! In lieu of lobbying, you can call your Congressperson to demand they cut the funding for George Bush's War. Our voices are powerful, wherever we may be geographically. We know peace is the only real path to hope and opportunity for this country. Together we will make it happen."

If you can't make it to DC, you can still be heard. If there's not an event in your area, start one. (formely Ceasefire Campaign Team) is attempting to get the word out on a way you can be heard in DC if you're not able to attend:

Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today! This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!

Events will be covered by some media. Known coverage will include:
KPFA which will broadcast live from the DC demonstrations from 10:00 am to noon PST. (At which point it will begin covering demonstrations in the Bay Area.) and Laura Flanders who will cover the days demonstration Saturday night (7:00 to 10:00 pm EST) on her program RadioNation with Laura Flanders (heard on Air America Radio and other outlets). (Both KPFA and Air America Radio offer online streaming.) (KPFA also offers their achived broadcasts for free, so if you miss the live coverage and would like to hear it later, check out the KPFA Archives). Rachel notes that WBAI will broadcast live coverage of the demonstrations from
11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST. In addition, she notes that tonight (Friday) on
WBAI, David Occhiuto will host a special which will feature anti-war films, interviews and will include coverage of Ehren Watada including sections of the speech he gave in Seattle that the the Article 32 hearing in August included and the court-martial next month plans to include in their prosecution of him. Tune in to hear the message that so frightened the military brass that 'Judge' Head has gagged Watada's defense from presenting. That's tonight, WBAI,
7:00 pm to 11:00 pm EST (over the airwaves in NYC and surrounding areas as well as online).

As people mobilize to get the truth out, the US military finds some cover-ups implode faster than others. New details emerge regarding Saturday's reported violence. Saturday, five US troops were killed in Karbala when resistance fighters reportedly wearing US uniforms were waived through checkpoints and made it to a meeting in Karbala. Five US troops were reported as dying during the attack that followed. The
AP is reporting (based on US and Iraqi military sources) that four of the five were kidnapped and the four were then killed with bodies being discovered as far away as 25 miles. There was a lot of Happy Talk this week. There was the lie that corpses discovered in Baghdad were tapering off (42 discovered yesterday), there was the lie that what's happening on Haifa Street is normal and not an attack that's killing civilians, there were showy moments in the US Congress and there were the lies of Bully Boy's State of the Union address. When we're neck-deep in lies, it's really easy for the US military to lie (that is what happened) and misinform the public.

Without the lies, the escalation couldn't be sold and a lot of people are vested in selling the escalation. And note that when the AP asked about it, the US military played dumb. As
Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reported later, the US military has now confirmed that four were kidnapped and killed later (1 of the 4 was apparently discovered "mortally wounded").


CBS and AP report a bombing of a pet market utilizing a bomb hidden among pigeons that has resulted in the death of at least 14 people in Baghdad. Stephen Farrell (Times of London) reports: "Police said insurgents concealed the explosives inside a cardboard box punched with holes to make it appear a container for pigeons, parrots or other birds which are prime attractions at the market. The blast, which also wounded 55, hit the Ghazel market on the eastern banks of the Tigris just before the weekly curfew intended to protect crowds attending mosques during noon prayers on the Islamic day of prayer." Farrell notes that the explosion allowed some caged pets to be let loose but many died. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Two civilians were injured when an IED exploded in Milhaniya, a part of Amil neighborhood at 1 pm." Reuters notes: "On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul, killing seven and wounding 17 more after prayers, a police source said."


Reuters notes: "Gunmen opened fire on a crowd in Baghdad's Bayaa district, killing one person and wounding two, a police source said."


CBS and AP report: "Seven tortured bodies of people who had been blindfolded and had their hands and legs bound before they were shot in the head were found in the capital Friday, according to police." Reuters notes that number of corpses discovered in Baghdad today has risen to 27 while one corpse was discovered in Kirkuk and a headless corpse was discovered in Hawija. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The body of the Iraqi boxer Hussein Hadi was found in Haifa street. Police said that Hadi was kidnapped three days ago and he found hanged today."

Also today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

CNN reports that the Iranian government is calling "terrorism" on Bully Boy's recent order (backed up by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) for US troops to kill (on the spot) Iranians they suspect of plotting terrorism. These execution orders by the Bully Boy come with no jury or defense, just an instant passing of judgement.

In financial news,
AFP reports that one of Iraq's two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi, has called the illegal occupation of Iraq "idiotic" but is pushing the 'we will be safe if we have to raid and terrorize school children, residents of homes, etc' that was so popular with the puppet of the occupation yesterday. Those confused by the both-sides-talking Mahdi can refer to a commentary by Antonia Juhasz (Huffington Post) last May: "The re-appointment of Mahdi may yet provide the Bush Administration with its most important victory in the Iraq war since Saddam Hussein was pulled out of a rabbit hole in Tikrit. However, Mahdi's Vice Presidency may also ultimately generate at least as much hostility towards the United States as the invasion itself. Over the course of the war, Mahdi emerged as one of the most aggressive proponents of the Bush administration's economic agenda for Iraq, including the implementation of controversial corporate globalization rules and greater U.S. corporate access to Iraq's oil." Mahdi earlier served in the Bremer 'government' and will probably serve in a great many other puppet governments to follow.

MarketWatch reports: "Over the next several years, the minister [Mahdi] said Iraq would look to privatize all of state-owned industry, which number around 60 companies. He also said Asian companies were keen to enter discussions with the Iraqi government over industrial contracts. Hariri said Iraq was also in discussions with San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp over engineering contracts, without elaborating."

The privatization. Antonia Juhasz (author of
The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) attempted to address the realities of the oil law on KPFA's Living Room
January 11th. But a (male) guest, of course, new better and felt that whatever laws were passed, Iraqis could undue the damage many years on down the line. That's confronting the problem! For those who didn't grasp the importance of what Juhasz was addressing, The San Jose Mercury News reports "Iraq is in negotiations with San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to build a new $3 billion petrochemical facility, and is in talks with several other Western companies over industrial projects. In an interview Thursday, Iraq's minister for industry and minerals Fowzi Hariri said the discussions with Chevron and Exxon began this week in Washington and are at an early stage." The New York Times fluffed their coverage of the law last Saturday. Apparently, we're all supposed to pretend it doesn't matter or take the attitude of, "Hey, they can fix in 20 years!"

For those who've forgotten, in polling where Iraqis side with the resistance on the topic of attacking foreign fighters (including American troops), they also note the belief that the continued war is nothing but an attempt for foreigners to get their hands on Iraqi assets. Prvatization laws and multi-billion dollar deals by outsiders tend to convey that impression.

In political news,
CNN reports that that the Democratic leadership in the US Congress may push for a revamping of the 2002 act that the Bully Boy cited as his authorization for starting a pre-emptive, illegal war of agression on Iraq. Of course, with Democrat leadership, "maybe" means basically what "We'll see" means when said by a parent.

In news of dictators,
CNN reports on Bully Boy of the United States latest string of I statements: "I am the decider . . . I've picked the plan . . . I know . . ." Though his love affair with self continues unabated, as the recent poll by CBS News found on Bully Boy's desired escalation: "More than 70 percent of Americans think he should have to get congressional approval before he commits those troops." (68% of poll respondents stated they were "uneasy" with Bully Boy's ability to make decisions regarding Iraq.) Though Bully Boy appears to have forgotten this basic fact, in a democracy, the people are "the deciders."

Reminder: Those in DC Saturday should check out
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm and those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.

ben hamamatoliving roomkpfa

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

rebecca posting at elaine's site

rebecca here, not elaine. elaine's off. i'm here because i'm such a great friend. no, really!

actually, i'm here because i caught her as she and mike were going through the airport (i had to wait for them to land) and i told her 'i can't log in. can i blog at your site?' she said sure and gave me the password. at some point, i'll be back at my site. hopefully tomorrow. wally, elaine and c.i. are the only 1s who are still using old blogger that i'm aware of. cedric was until he went to post today.

he got a message that he had to switch. it was no 'if you'd like to switch now' (switch to beta) so we'll probably soon all be on it. (c.i. will probably be the last just due to the fact that the common ills is so huge with all those entries. elaine doesn't want to switch but we know at some point every 1's getting switched.)

so that's what's what. hello to elaine's readers. warning: i have a foul mouth. and then some.

so i web surfed tonight to get stuff to write about and ended up wondering - what was the point?

let me explain.

1) editor & publisher tells you about the offensive non-joke where an iraqi soldier points a gun at a reporter, squeezes the trigger and laughs because the gun did not go off. they posted that at 11:55 a.m. today est. which would mean 8:55 am pst.

matters because?

4:26 am pst is the time stamp on c.i.'s 'The Times disgrace themselves -- New York and LA' - covering the same thing.

2) then i find rory o'connor and david olson's 'Helping Lara Logan' and think, 'well sure, i'll help lara out. what's she need?' what she needs is to get the slaughter of haditha street on air at cbs. the slaughter that c.i.'s been pointing out for weeks now. (including today, including yesterday, including last week.) (i forgot to ask c.i. if friends at cbs news were talking about it. they may have been and that may have been why c.i.'s hit so hard on it.)

elaine loves isaiah's comics (i do too) so let me give you a heads up there. you do not want to miss sunday's comic. if you've had it with the media types who present left but can't do a damn thing to help war resisters, be sure to check it out. 'born useless' - as my mother-in-law & i like to think of a certain woman - is 1st out of the gate. (with that old horse face.)

but i did find 1 thing i really, really loved. this is from david rovics' 'They Kept On Walking' (truthout):

Our taxi dropped us off at the checkpoint outside Nablus, so we could walk through the checkpoint and take another taxi into the city. With the travel restrictions and hundreds of checkpoints everywhere, this is the way you have to travel, if you're lucky enough to be allowed to travel at all.
There, on the outskirts of this ancient Palestinian city, as with every other city in the West Bank, was a heavily armed gang of young Israeli men and women in green IDF uniforms. One of the men inspected my passport and spent a few minutes trying to discourage me from entering Nablus. "It's crazy in there. There are Arab terrorists. There are bombs every night. It's not safe." I thanked him for his warning, and I thought to myself that he might have an entirely different experience in Nablus if he visited the city in a role other than an occupation soldier.
We got into another taxi and drove towards the city center, passing one destroyed factory after another. They were bombed in 2002 when Israel invaded, leaving much of the city in ruins. Several of the factories used to make soap. Nablus was known for them, but no longer.
Inching along in gnarled traffic, we eventually got to the campus of An-Najah National University. I was to do a concert there that evening to a large and appreciative audience. Due to circumstances beyond my control, each organizer on my tour of Palestine had only a few days to put together a concert, and Saed Abu-Hijleh managed to pull it off brilliantly.
Contrary to the warnings of the Israeli soldier, I only met really nice people like Saed during my stay in Nablus. Saed was my age, in his late thirties, a good-looking man in a sports jacket. He greeted us warmly, and together we walked across the campus to his office. As we passed hundreds of students and other people on this extremely crowded, bustling campus, it was obvious that Saed commanded a deep respect and admiration from everyone.
Saed is a professor and is the administrator in charge of public relations. Under the current restrictions of the Israeli occupation, the only way he could potentially get out of Nablus would be on foot at great personal danger. He and his car are not allowed to leave the city. Before the Al-Aqsa Intifada, when travel was easier for most Palestinians, he had studied for nine years in Iowa City, and he remembered his time there fondly.
We got to his small office, and Saed was showing me a lovely booklet one of his students had made with Arabic translations of some of my songs. It was to be handed out to everybody coming to the concert that night. There was a picture of a woman on his desk, and I asked him who she was. He explained to me that she was his mother, and he said she had recently been killed by Israeli occupation soldiers.

so we get an issue i really care about and it's written by some 1 whose music i really enjoy. david rovics is a singer-songwriter and you can read 'Kat's Korner: David Rovic's Halliburton Boardroom Masscre' if you haven't heard it yet. kat picked it as one of the best of 2006. the cd actual comes with a bonus dvd and we've been intending to do something on that at the third estate sunday review. fingers crossed, we'll do it this weekend.

okay, i am late starting (due to blogger's problems - if mike doesn't blog tonight, that's the problem) so let me wind it on down. i won't be able to go to dc and i wish i could. but airplane travel is out of the question (due to pregnancy) and it would be a road trip (with me worrying the whole time, see what i wrote yesterday) so i'll be here. betty will be here tomorrow with her kids and, on saturday, we're going to have a big gathering. we'll be watching and discussing the ground truth.

maybe you can't make it either? maybe, like me, for health reasons, d.c. is out of the question. if that's the case, i hope you will do something in your own area. and there is something every 1 can do (c.i. passed this on to me):

Dear friends,
I just joined a global virtual peace march demanding that the new US Congress stop President Bush's escalation in Iraq and demand a real peace plan, and I thought you might be interested. Please see the email below.
Subject: Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!
This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today!
This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!
With hope,
Ricken, Paul, Tom, Rachel, Galit, Lee-Sean and the rest of the Ceasefire Campaign (now! ) Team

now here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, January 25, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Green Zone comes under attack, more people with courage speak out for Ehren Watada, US war resister Agustin Aguayo recevies a court-martial date, Nouri al-Maliki prepares to target schools and homes, and the delusional Dick Cheney makes like a Starship cover band as he sings "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now."

Starting with news of war resistance.
Bobbie Morgan (Bainbridge Buzz) observes, "Sometimes it takes a travesty to create a hearo. We have a hero close by, awaiting a court martial for refusing to participate in the Iraq war because he feels it was never a lawful war."
Morgan is writing of
Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the Iraq war. Next month, February 5th, Watada faces a court-martial.

Speaking recently with Ken Mochizuki (International Examiner), Watada stated: "I've said publicly that I'm willing to face the consequences for my action. But, I would ask that I be given a fair trial. So, there's no desertion there. And, when it comes to dissension, I have dissented, obviously, against the orders I've been given. Watada's referring to the ruling by 'Judge' Head which strips him of the ability to mount a defense or even offer his reasons for refusing to deploy. Stanley Campbell (Rock River Times) notes Watada's reasons that Watada will not be allowed to uttered in court: "It's my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the Iraq war is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law. Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must, as an officer of honor and integrity, refuse that order." Again, the court-martial is scheduled for February 5th, Fort Lewis, Washington.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a court-martial date has been set for US war resister
Agustin Aguayo. Kevin Dougherty (Stars & Stripes) reports that at today's arrinment hearing, the judge decided ("barring any delays") that the court-martial will start on March 6th. Aguayo
served in Iraq and, based on what he witnessed, decided serving in Iraq was against his religious beliefs. He then applied for conscientious objector status but was denied that status and expected to deploy to Iraq for a second tour. From
September 2nd through September 26th of last year, Aguayo was absent from the military. He turned himself on the 26th. He has appealed his denial of C.O. status and, although the US Court of Appeals heard arguments on November 21, 2006, they have yet to issue a ruling.

Agustin Aguayo, Ehren Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske 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, many demonstrations will be held on Saturday including a rally and march in DC. For information on that, you can check out CODEPINK's
Bring the Peace Mandate to D.C. on J27! KPFA will be broadcasting live from the DC demonstrations from 10:00 am to noon PST. (At which point it will begin covering demonstrations in the Bay Area.) Saturday night (7:00 to 10:00 pm EST), Laura Flanders will cover the days demonstrations and more on RadioNation with Laura Flanders.

United for Peace & Justice and many other groups are taking part in Saturday's DC demonstration and march and in activites around the United States (at least fifty cities in the US have activities scheduled -- fifty in addition to DC -- at this time and more are expected to be added to the lists).

As the mobilizations gear up, shades of Tricky Dick, Bully Boy is spying on peace groups.
Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports on US Defense Department documents obtained by the ACLU which reveal that 186 demonstrations have been spied on and recorded by the Defense Department: "The internal Defense Department documents show it is monitoring the activities of a wide swath of peace groups, including Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Code Pink, the American Friends Service Committee, the War Resisters League, and the umbrella group United for Peace and Justice, which is spearheading what organizers hope will be a massive march on Washington this Saturday."

In Iraq today,
CNN reports that occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki declared, "I ask everyone to excuse us as we do the job. No school, house, mosque or husseiniya [Shiite mosques] will be out of reach of our forces if they are harboring outlaws. The same for political party headquarters." If that doesn't trouble you, imagine it as the school in your neighborhood, your house. Civilians are being targeted and al-Maliki wants "everyone" to "excuse us" while the BBC reports that the the Iraqi parliament has voted in favor of this death wish.

Not unlike the continued slaughter on Haifa Street which the Muslim Scholars Association has termed "
a campaign of genocide." Richard Mauer (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on eye witness Omar Abu Khatab who stated, "We have many people wounded and badly injured and we have also people killed. We want someone to help us bury them but we cannot get any help. We don't have any food or water. Until now, 16 days under this curfew and we cannot go out." Another resident, Abu Ali, explains to Mauer how the slaughter continued even after most media lost interest, "The Americans left; only the Iraqi forces stayed in Haifa. There were snipers on the buildings, Iraqi Army snipers. It kep people home because they shot two people that tried to go out to the street. They burned four buildings. They closed the area, which left the families with no food -- we had to whare with others what we had."

This 'fine' Iraqi military that al-Maliki intends to turn loose on homes and schools includes some real thugs as evidenced by incident
reported this morning by Damien Cave and James Glanz (New York Times): "One Iraqi soldier in the alley pointed his rifle at an American reporter and pulled the trigger. There was only a click, the weapon had no ammunition. The soldier laughed at his joke." Hate to break it to Cave and Glanz, it's not a joke. Any fool knows you don't aim guns at people for a joke. That applies if you're cleaning it or at target practice and you better believe it applies in a war zone.

Reporters Without Borders counted 146 journalists killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war through January 18, 2007. Does someone really think it's funny that an Iraqi soldier is aiming a gun at journalists and squeezing the trigger? Had a journalist been hit (or, worse, killed), you better believe the excuse would be "I didn't know it was loaded." Guns aren't toys and anyone who isn't smart enough to grasp that, who thinks a gun is a prop for a joke, needs to have his butt kicked out of the Iraqi military right away. Instead, he (and no doubt others like him) will be doing house raids, school raids. Maybe he can be 'funny' by aiming the gun at children and squeezing the trigger when that happens?

Journalists have died in Iraq and for the Times to report it as a "joke" is an insult to all journalists, those in Iraq and outside of it. It also insults the memory of the journalists killed in Iraq or any other conflict. It's a "joke" to them. Just a "joke." The New York Times needs to get their priiorities straight and if the slaughter on Haifa Street doesn't trouble you, maybe when they target school children it will bother you.


Reuters reports that a car bomb in a central Baghdad market killed 20 and left 18 wounded.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports the death toll from the bombing climed to 26 and the number wounded to 54. AFP reports "that the explosion set a bus loaded with passengers ablaze, and destroyed half the front of a nearby building."

In addition,
Reuters notes one person died and 13 were wounded in a Sadr City market in Baghad while three died and 10 were wounded from a roadside bomb in west Baghdad, a motorcycle bomb "killed a boy and an elderly woman in the city of Falluja" not far from a school, and four civilians were wounded in a bombing in Tal Afar.

In addition to the motorcycle bomb in Falluja,
AFP reports one struck a central Baghdad market killing 4 and wounding 2o while destroying "stalls and carts" and quotes an official stating, "The bomb was strapped to a morotocycle which was parked on one side of the road that runs through the market."

Most important in terms of the press the Green Zone was attacked today. In June, when the Green Zone was almost breached, Nouri al-Maliki began the 'crackdown' that long ago cracked up.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that two or three rockets hit the Green Zone and six people were wounded. The Green Zone is the heavily fortified bunker area of Baghdad where the US is building its embassy, where the Iraqi government meets and where many reporters are stationed. AP notes that during the attack a voice came blaring over the PA system insisting that "This is not a drill" in English.


Reuters notes that two people were wounded near Haswa and that Hussein Abdul Aziz ("a member of the city council of al-Gayara") was shot dead near Mosul.


Reuters reports two corpses were discovered in Mosul and two in Dujail.

In political news,
a toothless, symbolic measure passed through a Senate committee yesterday and now awaits a vote in the full Senate. CBS and AP report that Dick Cheney (second to the Bully Boy) has responded that, even if the resolution passes the full Senate, "It won't stop us." Margaret Taliv (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that US Senator Dick Durbin has called Cheney "delusional." Though Cheney, no doubt, is delusional, it should be remembered that he shot his own friend. Delusional, crazed and a (hopefully) bad shot.

Hopefully a bad shot? Otherwise that incident was intentional which would result in charges of assault or attempted murder and Cheney might be confessing today. Which brings us to legal news,
Beth Rucker (AP) reports that Corey R. Clagett "pleaded guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice." Earlier this month, Juston Graber did the same (to charges of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon) for his actions in the same May 9, 2006 incident where three Iraqis were detained near Tikrit, then released and killed after the relase with the claim that they had been 'escaping.' Corey Clagett was asked his intentions when he shot at the three men and he told the court, "To kill them, your honor,"

Those in DC Saturday should check out
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm and those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

When it rains it pours

When it rains, it pours
And there's no one at the door

That's from Stevie Nicks' "One More Rock And Roll Star" which was the flipside of "Talk To Me" (single) and is on Enchanted (boxed set). I couldn't remember the title but it's been in my head all evening. C.I. told me the title a second ago on the phone and also told me, "Go check into a hotel."

Besides computer issues, which I'll get to in a moment, I'm also without power except in the kitchen. I guess a fuse blew. I flipped the breakers over and over and finally, the power in the kitchen came on. That's it. So it will be fun putting on make up tomorrow morning.

I could get a hotel room but I'm just not in the mood to put on my high heels or even a pair of flats. I've got candles and will use those. I've set the alarm on my cell phone so I should wake up on time. But applying make up will be interesting tomorrow morning. I've got . . . I don't know what I've got. When I bought my place, I didn't have time to decorate and I hired a decorator. I've got thick glass in the bathroom that's green. I wasn't "in love" with it but it is nice. But I'm thinking now that I won't even have sunlight tomorrow when I'm putting on my make up. I will have a dim green light.

Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude -- use links on my blogroll) lives for decorating. I just wanted it done and done by someone else. I thought I was agreeing to a stained glass window in the bathroom, and maybe that's what it is, but I was picturing little bits of different colors when I agreed to it.

C.I. said it's probably a fuse and wondered if someone would come out if I was willing to pay big? I am willing to pay anything but tomorrow. I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to put on any shoes. I'm in my sweat pants, wearing a CODEPINK t-shirt and have my hair pulled back in a pony tail. I'm just not in the mood to see anyone tonight.

It was a busy day because I'm trying to take care of several things at once at work (because I'll be taking Friday off to be in DC this weekend).

My plan was to come home, eat some wild rice while blogging and read a few chapters of Frances Moore Lappe's Democracy's Edge which Trina (see Trina's Kitchen) and C.I. (The Common Ills, but I'm guessing you knew that) can't stop singing the praises of. By the way, no italics. Mike said they don't work. I'll get to that.

I don't believe it. There was someone at the front door. It was an electrician. C.I. made some calls. I can't believe that. I'm not complaining. I just can't believe C.I., who doesn't live on the east coast, could find an electrician who would come out tonight in my area. He greeted me with, "You don't look bad."

I asked, "Who are you?" He said C.I. called and he asked where the fuse box is and went off with a flashlight. (Thank you, C.I. if you read this before I speak to you on the phone.) Ten more minutes and my rice is done. The electricity's being fixed (fingers crossed), the day's finally looking up.

So, the other thing on my "things to do list" was install the new version of Windows Explorer. I had a message pop up about that on Monday. I asked Mike and Rebecca if they were using it and they weren't so we all agreed we'd install on Wednesday and talk each other through while using it if it was hugely different from the previous version.

We weren't able to. We did install it. And it does nothing. I use Explorer as my browser. They use something else, or at least Mike does. What happened to all three of us is that the page tries to connect and tries to connect and . . . It nevver does. You can't do anything with it.

This is so hilarious: "Updates are ready for your computer." That just popped up. Like I would install more after the problems with Explorer.

So we tried playing with it and nothing. If it ever pulls up, I hope there's a thing for bookmarks. It doesn't look like there will be and, if not, I just lost all my sites I check. Whine on, Elaine, whine on.

So I'm blogging thanks to Mike who e-mailed my outlook account with a link to a Browser he never uses and I can see why. If you hit return (really "Enter" but I learned to type on a typewriter -- I am that old), you get kicked out of the posting screen. You also can't do italics. You can bold. I have one screen and one screen only which is why I'm writing things like "Trina (see Trina's Kitchen on my blogroll)" -- I can't do links with only one screen.

So it's just been a tiring night and then some. I had told C.I. on the phone that I was just going to sleep on the couch tonight. There's a huge window in the living room and I could open the drapes and it wouldn't be pitch black. I'm not big on sleeping with candles burning and I don't get as much light (sun or moon) in my bedroom. I said, "All I want to do is see if I can blog and just curl up on the couch." I'm sure I sounded both tired and pathetic. (If I'm lucky, I just sounded tired.)

C.I. said, "It is too cold for you to sleep in a room without heat." I said I'd just use extra blankets. I would have too but (fingers crossed) it will be nice to have heat instead. (In the kitchen, I've had the front burners on low, while cooking the rice on a back burner, to warm the kitchen up.) I remember in college when we all smoked -- Rebecca, C.I. and I. If we were out matches or the lighters were dead, we'd light off one of the stove's burners. Rebecca ended up with bangs one semester after she wasn't paying attention and caught some of her hair on fire. The message is don't smoke! I am joking. I quite smoking years and years ago, about four or five after college. But I don't have any problem with smokers. I'm not one of those people who does a fake cough when someone smokes. Dona smokes and it would be better if she didn't but she's an adult and she knows that. I'm never bothered when she smokes around me except during the editions of The Third Estate Sunday Review when we're all togehter because if it goes over thirty minutes, I need to open a window. That's not griping about Dona. I know she stresses out and cares about the time more than anyone (in terms of "Readers are going to be looking for content! We've got to post!") and I remember my stressful days in college. But by those last hours if it runs long, you need the windows open.

(For anyone who's missed it, Rebecca's pregnant. Until she found out she was pregnant, she was smoking. She's the only person I know who can start and stop in the snap of a finger. She really can turn it off like that. She has repeatedly.)

I had thought I would talk about the new issue of Ms. that came out this week (Winter 2007 edition). But it's not in my briefcase. I may have had it in my hands when I walked in. If so, it's somewhere in the dark. Two articles that stood out were on Afghanistan and Iran. In Iran, there's a woman who does a feminist publication in Iran. I'll try to talk about both articles either Friday or next week (unless we grab it at The Third Estate Sunday Review). I don't feel up to discussing it if I can't even get names to put it. (I have one screen and one screen only. Tab browsing is not an option in the browser Mike sent.)

Rebecca sent me an article (without a link, thanks Rebecca!) from the New York Times entitled "Libby Defense Portrays Client As a Scapegoat" by Neil A. Lewis. If I don't have Rory O'Connor on my blogroll, Mike does. Rory O'Conner (part of is blogging on the Scooter Libby trial. The Lewis article (from today's paper) addresses the claim made in court by Scooter's lawyer (Theodore V. Wells Jr.) that Libby was scapegoated.

The claim is that, to protect Karl Rove, Libby was made the scapegoat. Do you buy that? I don't know if I buy it or not myself. But I think this trial could get interesting. Sunny and I were discussing it today. (I believe it's a headline on today's Democracy Now!) Sunny thinks Scooter's attorney is going to make a claim each day and she believes it will be at least partly true. She thinks the legal strategy (for Scooter's defense) is to float out things bit by bit in the hopes that Bully Boy will think, "We must shut him up!" -- in which case, Bully Boy will immediately issue a pardon.

I could see that happening. Not with a smart person, but with Bully Boy, I could see that happening. Pardoning in the middle of a case would be an admission of involvement and guilt to many people. Bully Boy's dumb enough to do that.

If you've forgotten why Scooter is on trial . . .

Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent. Joe Wilson is her husband. Joe Wilson was revealing that Bully Boy's claim of "evidence that Saddam Hussein recently sought yellow cake from Niger" (that's from memory and may not be exact, State of the Union speech in 2003, look it up) had already been disowned. Joe Wilson had traveled to Niger to investigate the claim and turned in a report on it. When Bully Boy continued to repeat that claim, Joe Wilson went public.

Someone decided the way to get to him was to out his wife as a CIA agent.

Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel to investigate. In the end, only Scooter was indicted. Scooter had been Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff (after being indicted, he stepped down from that post). Scooter told journalists Valerie Plame was CIA. (So the administration outed a CIA agent.) When he was questioned, under oath, by Fitzgerald, Scooter maintained journalists had told him. (He even said Tim Russert had told him which Tim Russert denies.) Judith Miller fingered Scooter as well. So, due to lying in the grand jury investigation, Scooter now faces "five felony counts of lying to investigators" (that's from Lewis' article). Lewis points out that previously Scooter's camp had argued that he had a faulty memory. They appear to have dropped that as a defense.

Again, that was in Wednesday's New York Times. No link because Rebecca just copied and pasted it an e-mail. I'm checking my e-mails to find something I can add to this weak post. C.I. forwarded me something from Feminist Majority:

In commemorating Roe v. Wade, Ms. magazine is delivering thousands of names from our "We Had Abortions" petition to President Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other U.S. Representatives and Senators. These brave women lent their names to the continuing struggle to protect our reproductive freedom. Top decision makers will see that thousands of women can personally attest to the necessity and importance of safe, legal, and accessible abortions.
Join these brave women. Send a letter to your Representative and Senators now
We recognized that today, during a time in which local, state, and national attacks on abortion rights are not uncommon and social stigmas surrounding abortion persist, women and men still need to speak out in support of reproductive freedom.The response to the new Ms. petition has been overwhelming. Women have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share their stories and to hear that they are not alone. Women of all ages from every state in the nation signed, showing their desire to preserve the legal right to abortion for future generations.
Our voices are making a difference.
Join us by sending a letter to your Representative and Senators
For Women's Health and Lives,
Eleanor Smeal
Ms. Magazine, Publisher
Feminist Majority Foundation, President

There is an article about this topic in the new issue of Ms. Actually, two if you count Martha Burke's article on money spent in the 2006 election (she notes that anti-choice zealots in Michigan outspent pro-choice supporters to ban late-term abortions and the anti-choicers still lost). The other article, which may be by Eleanor Smeal, addresses the makeup of today's Surpeme Court and ponders whether Justice Kennedy could fill Sandra Day O'Connor's spot as a supporter of abortion rights? That is easily possible, my opinion, because O'Connor wasn't that strong of a supporter. (She provided the many of the loopholes for undermining Roe in various decisions including Planned Parenthood v. Casey.) Alito and Roberts, the newest judges added to the Supreme Court are both anti-choice to the extreme. (Roberts' wife belongs to the pseudo feminist group "Feminists for Life.")

Neither Alito nor Roberts should have been confirmed but the Democrats refused to fight. (Are we seeing a pattern?) Use the links to light a fire under your representatives in Congress. (If Casey Junior is one of your reps, don't even bother. In another sign of cowardice, the Democrats ran Casey Junior, over a pro-choice woman. He's anti-choice. He's DLC and he's the son of the Casey of Planned Parenthood v. Casey.)

The electricity is on. Let me copy and paste the snapshot and go speak to the electrician.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, January 24, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Dahr Jamail explains the importance of war resisters, Bully Boy bombs (or, as Mike called him, "Bully Boy Butt Wipe") with his State of the Union address, the slaughter on Haifa Street continues, a Senate committee feels really proud of themselves but Russ Feingold pops their hot air, US Rep Maxine Waters speaks with Amy Goodman about this weekends demonstrations to end the war, US Rep Dennis Kucinich explains what puts him ahead of other Democratic candidates attempting to win their party's nomination for the 2008 presidential election, and Tony Blair's whimper is the whine heard round the world.

In the US, Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and faces a court-martial on February 5th at Fort Lewis. Last week, the 'judge' (John Head) ruled on the parameters of the case. As Matt Hutaff (The Simon) reports the ruling amounts to "stripping the defendant of his constitutional rights. When Watada faces prosecution on February 5, he will be unable to assert free speech in questioning the legality of the war and is forbidden from using Nurember laws as defense. Watada's entire argument rests on the fact that troops are bound to serve honorably and follow lawful orders, and that the Iraq war is a hodepodge of neither." Paul Rockwell (San Francisco Bay Guardian) observes, "It is a sad day in American jurisprudence when a soldier of conscience is court-martialed -- not for lying, but for telling the truth; not for breaking a covenant with the military, but for upholding the rule of law in wartime." Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) notes, "Activists in the Northwest and around the country are planning a February 5 day of action to show support for Watada, timed to coincide with the beginning of the Army's court-martial against him. Defending war resisters is a critical part of ending the war, because it gives confidence to other soldiers considering their options as Bush plans a 'surge' of 21,500 more troops to Iraq." Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) notes that among those people showing support for Watada on February 5th at Fort Lewis will be war resister Darrell Anderson who "set off on a cross-country bus tour with the Iraq Veterans Against the War organization, making stops in several cities to support war resisters."

Meanwhile, war resister Agustin Aguayo was due to be arraigned on Monday but Stars & Stripes reports that the arraingment has now been postponed until Thursday. Aguayo served in Iraq and applied for Conscientious Objector status afterwards. The military denied that and Aguayo has been appealing that. On November 21, 2006, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC heard Aguayo's appeal. They have not yet ruled on it. As Aaron Glantz reported on the November 20, 2006 broadcast of The KPFA Evening News, Aguayo's case was the first of it's kind hear in "a federal court since 1971". Despite the fact that the case was on appeal, the military had told Aguayo he had to redeploy to Iraq. In September, Aguayo self-checked out and turned himself in the same month. He was gone less than 30 days (September 2nd through September 26th.). However, last week, the military announced that they would be charging him with desertion. As Kevin Dougherty (Stars & Stripes) noted in November, 30 days, though not a rule, is "the standard benchmark." That charge and missing movement could, if convicted on both counts, result in Aguayo serving seven years in prison.

Interviewed by Alan Maass (Socialist Worker), Dahr Jamail noted the importance of war resisters and observed: "There are between 8,000 and 10,000 people AWOL from the military, and I imagine that number has increased dramatically over just the last week. I know it was starting to increase dramatically even before Bush made his speech. More people than ever are heading off to Canada or going underground, so that they don't have to go to Iraq and be targets. If anyone is seriously interested in ending this occupation and wants to do something to make it happen, people should follow the instruction of Lt. Ehren Watada. In his speech at the Veterans for Peace national convention in August of last year, he said that the best thing people could do is adopt the family of someone who wants to become a resister, and do what they need to do to support those families, economically and morally, so that their people don't have to go to Iraq."

Agustin Aguayo, Ehren Watada and Darrell Anderson are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske 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 Iraq today, the Independent of London's Patrick Cockburn, speaking with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, noted the Bully Boy's laughable speech from Tuesday evening, "He talked about chaos coming to Iraq. Well, I mean, I'm in the center of Baghdad, and it's difficult to imagine anything more chaotic. There's heavy fighting going on in an area called Haifa Street just near the Green Zone. I can hear mortars occasionally going off. It's said that there is an attempt to assassinate one of the vice presidents a few streets away from here. So we have almost total chaos in Baghad at the moment."


KUNA reports a bombing in Mosul that left a police officer and a civilian wounded. Reuters reports a bombing that killed four police officers and left three civilians wounded in Baghdad, a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one man wounded, and a mortar attack on City Hospital in Baghdad that killed two and left 20 wounded. Shootings?

Reuters reports that two people wounded in an attack "on a minibus carrying Shi'ite pilgrims" in Baghdad. The BBC reports that another educator has been killed in Iraq and describe Diya al-Meqoter as "a well-known professor and econcomist who presented a programme on Sharquiya television. . . He was known for supporting poor people needing loans to set up business, and he also headed Iraq's consumer association, a non-government agency which campaigned for fair pricing." RTE reports an attack on the country's minister of higher education, Abd Dhiab al-Ajili, that left one of his body guard dead "and another was shot in the head and seriously wounded."

KUNA reports 52 corpses discovered in Mosul (all with"scars of torture") which comes after Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reported that the number of corpses discovered in Baghdad was decreasing.

Meanwhile the slaughter on Haifa Street in Baghdad continues. Ross Colvin and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) repeat the US military's version of events ('insurgents, insurgents, insurgents') to explain the US military's air raid on high rises on the largely residential street; however, they also note: "A local journalist said he helped transport 37 wounded people to hospital, including women and children, in three ambulances that managed to get through the security cordon." KUNA reports: "An Iraqi security source and eyewitnesses said US helicopters had been bombing the street compound since early morning today, noting the clashes were most intense near Al-Sheikh Cemetery, which witnessed similar clashes last week. Eyewitnesses told KUNA over the phone that ambulances were rushed to the scene of the clashes." This attack is what Patrick Cockburn was describing to Amy Goodman on today's Democracy Now!

Today the US military announced today: "One Marine assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province" and they announced: "Insurgent small arms fire targeting a Multi-National Division – Baghdad patrol killed one Soldier near the city’s center Jan. 24."

The US military also announced that Adam L. Huryta was court-martialed on January 22nd "for assaulting a fellow soldier with a survival knife." Huryta, as the release goes, disagreed with a position he was ordered to take while an Iraqi was being questioned so he repeatedly stabbed another US soldier and, having been found guilty in the court-martial held at LSA Anaconda, Huryta has received: "eight months in jail, reduction to E-1, and a bad conduct discharge." Ponder that. Ponder that as Ehren Watada faces six years in prison if convicted and Agustin Aguayo faces seven -- neither of whom went after another US service member with a hunting knife.

On Tuesday, Bully Boy yammered on for a little less than fity-minutes as he delivered a Constitutionally mandated State of the Union speech. At one point he spoke of the need to find resolve -- possibly he lost it on one of his many vacations? (If he ever had it.) On KPFA's The Morning Show today, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari addressed the speech with Elizabeth de la Vega (author of United States versus George W. Bush) and US Rep Dennis Kucinich. de la Veage noted that "we heard almost the same exact statements about Iraq that we've heard since before 9-11 on the Middle East" and characterized it as "more of the same" talk about Iraq while noting her alarm over Bully Boy's words regarding Iran.

Kucinich noted his plan for ending the war which includes: "First that the US announced it will end the occupation, closes the bases and withdraws" -- using the existing funds to bring US troops back to the US, allow reconstruction contracts to be turned over to Iraqis, build and international peace keeping force, etc. On the subject of impeachment, which de la Vega has written of, Kucinich stated his "focus right now is to end the war and bring the troops home" but "I don't take issue with anything that anybody's doing to hold this administration accountable." He did note that if Bully Boy attacked Iran without Congressional authorization, he did expect there would be an impeachment.

On the issue of 'bipartisanship,' Kucinich declared, "If we have a bipartisan effort to keep the troops in Iraq, that's not the kind of bipartisanship I'm lookng for." Andrea Lewis pointed out that Kucinich is running to become the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nominee and asked him to explain how he stands apart from other declared candidates. Kucinich responded that "the single most important decision anyone in the Oval Office will make is whether or not to commit America's young men and women to war" and, unlike other declared nominees, the American people know that Kucinich has opposed the illegal war from the start, from before it began while the others "all offered to vote for the war or they voted to fund the war" and, unlike the others, he never "bought George Bush's line."

Some did. Less and less are buying it today which explains the underwhelming response to the State of the Union speech. Al Jazeera reports that the reaction to Bully Boy's speech was 'indifference' -- Hoda Abdel Hamid: "Iraqis told me 'we don't believe in all his promises -- he's goin gto ask us to be patient, but he's not the one living under the bombs. All Iraqis can hear this morning is explosions -- there are mortars going off and there is a heavy gun battle going on just a couple of hundred metres away. This is what Iraqis are listening to."

In England the on-his-way-out-the-door Tony Blair continues to face strong calls to take British troops out of Iraq. (On Tuesday, the British consulate in Basra was attacked -- as it often is -- and two British soldiers were wounded.) The Guardian of London reports that Menzies Campbell, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, "called for the first time for a pull-out of all British forces from the country by the end of October" which Blair rejected and Campbell then went on to challenge Blair to stay for the debate. Tony Blair whimpered, left a puddle on the floor, and scurried off quickly.

In what Andrew North (BBC) has called the "first sign of disagreement" regarding Iraq, Tony Blair's cabinet and Bully Boy's appear to be odds regarding southern Iraq. The BBC reports that Zalmay Khalilzad, in an interview with them, voiced his belief that "UK forces . . . remain at their current levels in southern Iraq" despite the fact that at least "a partial withdrawal of British foces from Basra this year" has long been discussed publicly by Blair as well England's Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

Turning to the US Senate where a toothless, symbolic measure has passed through committee, Frederic J. Frommer (AP) reports that Senator Russ Feingold has declared, "My far, Mr. Chairman, is this is slow walking. This is not a time for legislative nuancing. This is not a time for trying to forge a compromise that everybody can be a part of. This is a time to stop the needless deaths of American troops in Iraq. We have a moral responsibility, as well as a responsibility to the lives of the American people, to start doing it now." The toothless, feckless, symbolic measure, the BBC reports, passed on a 12-9 vote.

A measure so meaningless, it took three men to devise it: Carl Levin, Joe Biden, and Chuck Hagel. The lunchtime poll reads: "It's really, really, really, really-really, really not in the best interests of the United States for Bully Boy to send more troops to Iraq and if he does so they will be really, really, really, really-really, really ticked off -- so ticked off, in fact, they might just decide to take another lunchtime poll! Watch your step, Bully Boy! Blah, blah, blah." The poll was a vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, CNN reports, the non-binding, toothless measure should go before the full Senate for a vote next week.

Joe Biden is of course interested in flaunting his useless nature with something far more than meaningless legislation, he also wants to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. John Kerry has announced what we noted here weeks ago -- stick the fork in, he's done. One candidate who is still in the race is US Senator Hillary Clinton. Weighing in at Truthout, Cindy Sheehan recalls, "I, my sister Dede and another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, whose son, Travis Nall was killed in Iraq in 2003, met with Senator Clinton in DC in September of 2005. We poured our hearts and souls out to her. We cried as we told her of our sons and our fear for the people of Iraq and the escalating body count of our brave young people. She sat there stone-faced and walked out and told Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice, 'My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain. . . . I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal. . . I don't think it's the right time to withdraw.' She may as well have slapped us in the face using Bloody George's line and using our sons' sacrifice to justify her war mongering. On Thursday, January 18th, Senator Clinton introduced a meaningless bill to put a cap on the number of soldiers that can be in Iraq, set at January 1st levels. It is as weak and meaningless as a nonbinding resolution -- and a politically safe move, since almost three fourts of the country oppose Bloody George. By the time she introduced her Senate bill last Thursday, over 1000 of our young people had come home in body bags and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis had died, while she was waiting for the best political time to be semi-against the war. How many of our troops are lying in Walter Reed with devastating injuries that could have been prevented if a Senate leader like Clinton had taken a moral stance instead of a political one?"

Which is a good time to offer the contrast: US Representative Maxine Waters. Appearing on Democracy Now! today, Waters discussed the proposal she and US Reps. Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey have on the table: "No more troops going to Iraq. Number two, to start to wind out of Iraq. Make sure that you work with the Iraqis for a security plan that they come up with that would include the international community and those in the region and no American soldiers in that kind of security plan. We also talk about reconstruction. We have bombed Baghdad and other parts of Iraq to smithereens. We owe it to them to be involved in a reconstruction plan that's real. Thirdly, we would leave some troops over the horizon in neighboring communities, in the event the coalition forces that are put together by the Iraqis would ask for a bit of assistance at any given time." Waters and Goodman also discussed the Saturday protest in DC and that the representative has "sent a letter to all members of Congress" encouraging them to also take part.

Information on the demonstrations can be found at CODEPINK's Bring the Peace Mandate to D.C. on J27! activities will also be taking place in communities around the country. Saturday, Laura Flanders will be broadcasting live from DC to cover the demonstrations on RadioNation with Laura Flanders. Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports on the upcoming demonstrations and notes United for Peace & Justice's Leslie Cagan stating, "The voters of this country figured out that they could use the November elections as a vehicle to voice their opposition to the war. What happened there was that the voters gave Congress a mandate to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home." Glanz notes that in addition to events in DC, there are "large mobilisations planned for Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. In addition smaller actions are planned for more than 50 cities." In DC, Saturday the rally will be held at the National Mall from eleven in the morning to one p.m. at which point a march will begin. Larry Margasak (AP) notes of the DC rally and march: "Scheduled speakers include members of Congress sponsoring anti-war measures; civili rights activist Jesse Jackson; veterans against the war; actors such as Danny Glover, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon; and a voice from the . . . [pro-peace] past, Jane Fonda."

Those in DC Saturday may want to check out Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm while those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.Again, that's Sunday, January 28th, 7:30 p.m. the 92nd Street Y in NYC.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blogger/Blogspot problems

I'm not going to try to say much tonight because Wally and Cedric did and their posts won't even show. Wally has a post three times (same post) and it won't show. Twice he e-mailed it and once he posted directly. They get a "read only" message of some form.

The rest of us who post in the evening? Rebecca says she's taking about another half-hour to try to log in (I only just was able to log in after trying for three hours) and then she's going to call it a night. I don't blame her.

Mike says he's going to try and post no matter what. Cedric's gone ahead and posted at his backup site (that's the post that he and Wally did together and can't get to show up at their Blogger/Blogspot sites). This sort of thing is getting so old and so tired. Blogger/Blogspot's problems go on and on endlessly.

Think of it as setting up a time to spend on the phone with a friend, a time when you can both really talk. Then, minutes before the time comes, the phone line goes dead. You're stuck there waiting. You keep hoping and lifting up the phone's receiver for a dial tone. You never get one and only grow more frustrated with each passing minute.

We are used to this sort of thing happening when we're all working together on the weekends -- in fact, that's generally the norm and why it takes forever to do those editions.

Rebecca just called and said she's losing her patience. I know the feeling.

"Hillary Clinton and the Israel Lobby" (Joshua Frank, CounterPunch):
George W. Bush's position on Iran is "disturbing" and "dangerous," reads a position paper written in late 2005 by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). One year ago the Bush administration accepted a Russian proposal to allow Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy under Russian supervision. Needless to say, AIPAC wasn't the least bit happy about the compromise.
In a letter to congressional allies, mostly Democrats, the pro-Israel organization admitted it was "concerned that the decision not to go to the Security Council, combined with the U.S. decision to support the 'Russian proposal,' indicates a disturbing shift in the Administration's policy on Iran and poses a danger to the U.S. and our allies."
Israel, however, continues to develop a substantial nuclear arsenal. In 2000, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported that Israel has likely produced enough plutonium to make up to 200 nuclear weapons. So it is safe to say that Israel's bomb-building technologies are light years ahead of Iran's budding nuclear program. Yet Israel still won't admit they have capacity to produce such deadly weapons.
Meanwhile, as AIPAC and Israel pressure the U.S. government to force the Iran issue to the UN Security Council, Israel itself stands in violation of numerous UN resolutions dealing with the occupied territories of Palestine, including UN Resolution 1402, which in part calls on Israel to withdraw its military from all Palestinian cities at once.
AIPAC's hypocrisy is nauseating. The Goliath lobbying organization wants Iran to cease to procure nukes while the crimes of Israel continue to be ignored. So who is propping up AIPAC's hypocritical position? None other than Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
As one of the top Democratic recipients of pro-Israel funds for the 2006 election cycle, pocketing over $83,000, Clinton now has Iran in her cross hairs.
During a Hanukkah dinner speech delivered in December 2005, hosted by Yeshiva University, Clinton prattled, "I held a series of meetings with Israeli officials [last summer], including the prime minister and the foreign minister and the head of the [Israel Defense Forces], to discuss such challenges we confront. In each of these meetings, we talked at length about the dire threat posed by the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, not only to Israel, but also to Europe and Russia. Just this week, the new president of Iran made further outrageous comments that attacked Israel's right to exist that are simply beyond the pale of international discourse and acceptability. During my meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I was reminded vividly of the threats that Israel faces every hour of every day. It became even more clear how important it is for the United States to stand with Israel."

I like Frank (and CounterPunch) and on a night when I hadn't waited three hours to just log in, I'd have a great deal to say. Instead, I'll just note it and the snapshot.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, January 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq,
Ehren Watada discusses his upcoming court-martial, another helicopter crashes in Iraq, calls for the unproduced NIE begin as the Bully Boy attempts to sell his escalation in and continued war on Iraq, and questions arise over his repeated alarmist talk of Iran.

In June
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Today, he spoke to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about what he's facing ins February 5th court-martial at Fort Lewis. Watada explained the process by which he came to his decision: assigned to Iraq, he began doing the research required of him. (Yesterday on WBAI's Law and Disorder, Carolyn Ho walked people through her son's awakening. In addition to archived broadcasts at either link, Rebecca's written of the speech at her site.) His research provided him with information and, from that infomation, he was left the reality that the war was illegal and immoral. At which point he had to decide what to do and he tried to handle the matter privately but the military repeatedly refused to do so. Only after months of that did Watada go public. In his August Article 32 hearing (similar to a grand jury), his attornies (a military attorney and a civilian attorney) were allowed to present a defense. 'Judge' Head has disallowed that for the court-martial scheduled to be held at Fort Lewis on February 5th.

Amy Goodman asked, in light of that ruling, "what is heard in the court, that you just refused to show up?" Watada answered, "Correct. It will simply be. It will be a non-trial. It will not be a fair trial or a show of justice, in any sense. I think that they will simply say, 'Was he ordered to go? Yes. Did he go? No. Well, he’s guilty.' And that also goes for the conduct unbecoming charges: 'Did he make those statements? Can we verify that? Yes? Okay, he’s guilty.' And then it will be pretty much a disciplinary hearing -- in terms of how much punishment should we give this lieutenant." There will be strong defense offered despite the fact that Watada faces up to six years in prison if convicted of all charges. Now the military has a roll of who made the deployment and who didn't and they have transcripts and audio and video of Watada's statment. If he's not allowed to explain his reasons, it's a matter of "yes" and "no." That's really not a defense and "Judge" Head really isn't a judge. (That's me, not Watada for any 'researches' for the prosecution.)

Watada declared that "there's tremendous support out there. I think it's unfortunate that we haven't been able to get into the national media as much as we wanted to. And therefore, the more east you go, the less people know about the case. And I think, just looking at how much support I've received in Washington state and back home in my home state, in Hawaii, there are a lot of people who are coming out. And not just people on one spectrum of the political ideology, but people from the mainstream. They are all coming out -- the unions, the interfaith groups, the students, universities. They are all coming out to support. And I think that's just a testament to how people feel about the war and the policies of this administration."

There is a lot of support. There is, however, very little coverage in media big or small. There are exceptions and it's usually the same group we've learned to look for coverage of what matters. Yesterday on
Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Evening News, Martha Baskin reported on the Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq held in Tacoma, Washington last Satruday and Sunday noting that while a 'judge' had "ruled that" Watada "could not raise the legality of the war in his defense" the hearing did just that attracting experts from legal and military fields, "military families and veterans". Richard Falk was heard, in the report, testifying that, "It is our role as citizens to protect those who are brave enough . . . who refuse to participate in an illegal war."

Another issue in the court-martial of
Ehren Watada is whether or not journalists should participate in the proceedings as witnesses for the prosecution. Emily Howard spoke with journalists Sarah Olson and Norman Solomon yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints. Olson will not discuss her "legal strategy." She has stated, on air, to Laura Flanders she wouldn't testify and she has played mum on that with others. However, as noted on Sunday, she has not stated that she supported Watada 100%, she has just stated that as a journalist it is her job to cover the news and her sources are sources and neither an endorsement or a rebuke.

Speaking with Howard yesterday, Olson made her strongest case yet.

She did that by first starting with
Ehren Watada who is facing the court-martial and whose stand is what the military is interested in and wants to punish. ("The crux of this trial," as Howard pointed out.) Having established Watada's stand, Olson then connected it to other war resisters who had come forward by name (and noted that Flashpoints interviewed Ivan Brobeck -- they were the only outlet to do so when he returned to the US from Canada to turn himself on election day in November with an open letter to the Bully Boy). Why does whether she testifies or not in the court-martial matter?

As Olson and Solomon outlined it (very clearly) who are war resisters going to talk to? If they're under the impression that any reporter they tell their stories to will then be called before a court to testify against them, that will produce a chilling effect on free speech and prevent a free press from the ability to keep citizens informed. That is the purpose of the free press,
as veteran DC journalist Helen Thomas noted on yesterday's Democracy Now!, not providing with you commercials of products that will 'enhance' your life, informing citizens so that they can make their decisions and contribute within a democracy.

Norman Solomon noted that the Pentagon is "worried about people not only thinking for themselves but speaking up" so it is "trying to intimidate" people into silence and that this is "a contradicition between the myth of the military defending our 'freedoms'" and trying to supress freedoms.

Olson, who faces six month in jail and/or a fine if she refuses to testify, declared, "When you look at the number of people who are taking steps to actively express their opposition to this war I think that is has become it has grown to a point it's not something that can be ignored or . . . can or should be ignored. And I think it's very important as journalists . . . that we are able to cover this perspective and this growing number of active dutry Iraq war vetrns and soldiers who are in opposition to this war. It's becoming more and more relevant as the days go by."

Olson is correct -- Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Kyle Snyder, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Robin Long, Ryan Johnson, Chris Teske, Tim Richard 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 Iraq . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two car bombs in Baghdad (Sheikh Omar neighborhood and Karranda neighborhood) that killed five and left 11 wounded while, in east Baghdad, an IED wounded 3 police ofiicers; in the province of Basra an explosion killed one person, and, yesterday, two British soldiers were injured in yet another rocket attack "on the British consulate downtown Baasra city".Reuters reports three Iraqi soldiers wounded in a car bombing in Sinjar, nine injured in a car bombing in Mosul, a woman dead and two children wounded from mortar attacks in Iskandariya, and six dead from mortar attacks (nine wounded) in Suwayra.


Yesterday a school teacher (female) was gunned down on her way to work. Today,
CNN reports another attack on an educator -- a professor was gunned down on his way to work as well (northern Baghdad). The BBC reports five Iraqi police officers were shot dead in Mosul. Reuters reports that educators were attacked in Tal Afar as well -- two teachers shot dead,
that two Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Falluja, and that two people were shot dead near Kirkuk (with another wounded).


Reuters reports a corpse discovered in Mussayab today and five discovered yesterday (four in Rutba and one in Iskandariya).

Also today the
US military announced: "An 89TH Military Police Brigade Soldier died Monday of wounds suffered after an improvised explosive device exploded next to his vehicle north of Baghdad" and they announced: ".One Marine assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died Sunday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in the Multi National Division-Baghdad area of operation, south of Baghdad. One Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Monday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

In addition to the above five Americans, employees of the Blackwater security firm, are dead.
CBS and AP report that helicopter was shot down citing an "Iraqi defense official" who states a machine gun was used to shoot the helicopter down. This echoes the Washington Post's eye witness who stated a machine gun was used to shoot down the helicopter carrying twelve US troops, Saturday in Baghdad. The US military has presented the crashes and crash landings repeatedly as though they were mechanical failures (which some may have been) but it's also true that helicopters can be shot down -- with guns, no rockets needed. That was very clear during Vietnam and it's amazing how so many in the press corps seem to either be unaware of that point or choose to ignore it as one crash after another (until recently) resulted in press 'reports' that read like military press releases (and some were).

In news of reality versus Operation Happy Talk, the press can't contain their giddyness (with few exceptions) over the supposed 'crackdown' finally going on with militias and the people in leadership (or portrayed as such) of them being caught. As has been pointed out earlier this month, the detentions (in the past) can best be termed "catch and release" (one Republican senator even denounced them as such). Commenting on one wave of Operation Happy Talk in the press, the
BBC's Anderw North notes: "it is still not clear how significant the senior Mehdi Army figures now in custody are." And Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that a US led operation in the Salah Ad Din province Monday night led to the arrest of "the chief of Tikrit local council Aarif Jabbar Motar and Sheikh Khaleel Al Ejili, a member of the Muslim Scholars Association and the imam of Omar Bin AL Khattab mosque. The two men were arrested in the house of the Iraqi army intelligence officer Captain Maeen Al Dulaimi." Hammoudi also reports that one of the two arrested as they attempted to negotiate the release of both Dr. Basim Al Jishi and Sheikh Hamid Ugab and that Ugab "had been released early morning today." Was there a point to arresting him, or any of the others, besides the giddy press 'reports' that help continue Operation Happy Talk?

If so, does it counter the fact that
the people's response was a 1,000 plus demonstration against these arrest? Or does it just further inflame the tensions?

Meanwhile, same topic (Operation Happy Talk versus reality), the usual War Hawks among the press have passed off escalation as the answer (see Michael R. Gordon) and few questions have been asked by others whether this was a 'strategy,' a 'technique,' or just sop tossed out to try fool the public?
David Morgan (Reuters) reports: The Bush administration came under fire on Tuesday for its failure to produce a key intelligence report that casts doubt on whether the Iraqi government is capable of taking steps to ensure the success of President George W. Bush's strategy. The classified document, known as a national intelligence estimate, would represent the 16-agency espionage community's consensus views on the stability of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government and prospects for controlling sectarian violence in Iraq. U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte's office was ordered by Congress to produce the document in late September, but is not expected to do so until after the Senate takes up two measures opposing Bush's plan to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq to try to quell the violence." That would be the report that former CIA analyst Ray McGovern (writing at Consortium News) noted: "So the White House is playing it safe, avoiding like the plague any estimate that would raise doubts about the wisdom of the decision to surge. And that is precisely what an honest estimate would do. With 'sham-dunk' former CIA director George Tenet and his accomplices no longer in place as intelligence enablers, the White House clearly prefers no NIE to one that would inevitably highlight the fecklessness of throwing 21,500 more troops into harm’s way for the dubious purpose of holding off defeat for two more years. The Old Mushroom Cloud The NIE, which leaned so far forward to support the White House’s warnings of a made-in-Iraq 'mushroom cloud,' remains the negative example par excellence of corrupted intelligence. The good news is that Tenet and his lackeys were replaced by officers who, by all indications, take their job of speaking truth to power seriously."

Finally on this topic, the Bully Boy gives his State of the Union speech tonight. In it, he is again expected to sound the alrams on Iran. But
Alexandra Zavis and Greg Miller (Los Angeles Times) report that there are claims but little proof: "But there has been little sign of more advanced weaponry crossing the border, and no Iranian agents have been found. In his speech this month outlining the new U.S. strategy in Iraq, President Bush promised to "seek out and destroy" Iranian networks that he said were providing "advanced weaponry and training to our enemies." He is expected to strike a similar note in tonight's State of the Union speech. For all the aggressive rhetoric, however, the Bush administration hasprovided scant evidence to support these claims. Nor have reporters traveling with U.S. troops seen extensive signs of Iranian involvement."

In DC, the Senate Armed Services Committee went through the motions of a hearing on whether or not to confirm David Petraeus, nominated by the Bully Boy, the Lt. general would become the new commander of US troops (and Iraqis, be honest) in Iraq.
BBC reports that he told the committee: "None of this will be rapid. The way ahead will be neither quick nor easy. There undoubtedly will be tough days. . . . The situation in Iraq is dire. The stakes are high. There are no easy choices. The way ahead will be very hard. . . But hard is not hopeless." Hard does not mean hopeless, Petraeus declares. (Gordo gets giddy at the thought.) And soft doesn't mean happiness, as many women could explain. He did and a song and dance and the senators acted as though they were doing a probing examination. Or maybe it was supposed to pass for 'symbolic.' The senators occassionaly asked a difficult question (Ted Kennedy) but after almost four years of a war that continues to kill Iraqis, Americans, British, . . . that just didn't cut it anymore than the 'symbolic' measure Senators Carl Levin, Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel are pushing. The most obvious question went unasked: "Why is the US in Iraq? What pupose does the US presence serve?"

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported today, US Congress Representative Maxine Waters will be attending the demonstration in DC this weekend and is urging other members of Congress to do likewise. Informations on these demonstrations in DC this weekend can be found at CODEPINK's Bring the Peace Mandate to D.C. on J27! activities will also be taking place in communities around the country. Saturday, Laura Flanders will be broadcasting live from DC to cover the demonstrations on RadioNation with Laura Flanders.

In addition
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, will be speaking in DC this weekend on Saturday the 27th at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm while those in the NYC area might want to check out this Sunday event -- from The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Joan Mellen lecture on JFK assasination 1-28-07" which I meant to note last week but didn't have time (we will be noting it, Monday through Friday, in the week leading up to the Sunday event):We'll be noting this again in January, but we'll note it right now.
Joan Mellen will be speaking Sunday, January 28th at 7:30 p.m. in NYC at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25.Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.
Again, that's Sunday, January 28th, 7:30 p.m. the 92nd Street Y in NYC.