Friday, September 28, 2007

Kevin & Monica Benderman's book; and abuse of science

Letters from Ft. Lewis Brig is published October 1st. What is it? Letters from Fort Lewis Brig: A Matter of Conscience by Sergeant Kevin Benderman with Monica Benderman. Kevin Benderman could not continue to fight in the Iraq War after what he witnessed and the military wasn't about to let him go so they created a kangaroo court system with some phony charges. You can read about it in the book and the book comes out on October 1st which is this coming Tuesday. You can check bookstores, order it through the publisher (link at the top of the entry) or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or wherever you elect to shop.

The military wanted to break Kevin Benderman and they didn't. He and Monica Benderman stood strong and it wasn't easy but leadership -- and they both provided leadership -- isn't easy. So I hope you'll make a point to check out their book.

In my inbox tonight there is a thing about embedding video on your website. I don't think that's even possible without an upgrade. The Third Estate Sunday Review upgraded to try to post a video and it's been a nightmare for them (and they couldn't post the video after all of that). But I was reading the e-mail and came across the factoid that they would pay me to do so. To be clear, I'm not suffering for money and as bad as this blog can be, at least I know I'm not plugging something for cash. I will plug friends. I don't have the wide range of friends C.I. does (few do) but I do have a few including a news producer I used to date very seriously 'back in the day'. If a friend asks for something, it will get plugged the same way if a community member asked for it. In addition, if there's something any of the veterans in my Thursday night group want noted (a link or a point of view), I gladly note that. But to accept payment (which I don't need) for something would corrupt how I see this site. So to the "word of mouth coordinator," thank you for writing but I have no interest in profitting from this site. I know most in the community will feel the same but I can't speak for all (and wouldn't if I could). If any of the others would like to, that's their business but it's not my job to contact them on your behalf.

There are friends of C.I.'s and mine at a paper that repeatedly ask us to embed their headlines. Their headlines on Iraq includes opinion pieces on it and we have said no for that reason. The Third Estate Sunday Review is still toying with the possiblity and may do that (they were asked by the same friends) and that's perfectly fine if they do. Jim's thinking is, "We publish once a week and those coming by later in the week could see a headline on breaking news." I understand that point. But I do not want an e-mail asking me why I'm promoting a neocon and I also do not want to promote a neocon.

On Third, Ava, Jess and C.I. stopped by to visit (at Mike's) before heading back to California (as did Kat and Maggie) and they say Kevin Benderman's book will be the focus for a book discussion there, not this Sunday but -- if everyone can read it in time -- the Sunday after.

I'm gasping right now. I was looking for something to blog about and Mike said CounterPunch has a piece on the the thing C.I.'s been noting for how long? I don't remember. I'm googling right now. The first time C.I. noted this, hate mail arrived from military brass in Iraq in huge numbers. Apparently, no one was supposed to notice it and if they read it in passing in George Packer's usual glossed over writing, they weren't supposed to register what was going on. What is going on is disgusting. There were also nasty e-mails from governmental agencies. If a policy has been 'broken,' tough crap. C.I. got a storm of hate mail from military brass and the US government for noting how disgusting this program was and how unethical. C.I.'s continued to note it. Okay, it was December of 2006 when C.I. first noted it. (It's been noted again but I'm not going to spend all night searching for entries.) December 20th's "When Dumb Ass Met Dumb Ass." This was brilliant. This was attention getting in that it hooked you immediately and then, as you read along, you're learning more (celeb is the hook). It's also C.I. setting the tone for making sure a Bay Area nobody is kept a nobody and not embraced by decent people and, since it's the Bay Area, C.I.'s in the know (much more so than Packer) before a word was ever written. From the entry:

She's now a consultant for the Pentagon and quite a bit more. She majored in anthro and now uses her doctorate for bad. (No surprise to anyone who remembers her tantrums as a child.)
She's Packer's kind of people, a supposed hippie child (in her dreams) who woke up to reality and now will use knowledge of a people against them which is what her talk of "culture" is about -- using it to conquer a people. She was frightening as a child, she's more so today.
This is the new phase, what's giving Bully Boy hope that he can still eek out a 'win' in his illegal war, the 'culture' ammo that Monty and others will provide him with. The department is called Cultural Operations Research Human Terrain and it's tasked with using research against a people. An unnamed Marine is 'quoted.' It's apparently what he told Monty but for some reason Packer presents the quote as though he heard it himself: "We were focused on broadcast media and metrics. But this had no impact because Iraqis spread information through rumor. We should have been visiting their coffee shops."
To tell the truth? No, to spread their own rumors (which was all the military was doing with their broadcasts and their leaflets). Propaganda, the US military hopes, will go down easier with the help of Monty and her ilk.
This is such a betrayal of the sciences and anyone who says otherwise is a liar or a fool. The closest Packer can get to that reality is when he speaks to another anthropoligist (think of them as Conquering Apologists) who wants far less of the limelight than Monty (she always wanted the limelight) and goes unnamed but does state: "I do not want to get anybody killed" and offers that people are so offended by her work that "I end up getting shunned at cocktail parties."

If others -- outside the field of anthropology (many in the field have written e-mails to C.I., glad that this was being covered somewhere) -- have covered it, I'm not aware of it. Time moves so quick these days. I'm still surprised to discover it was December of last year when C.I. first wrote about it. I thought it was sometime this spring.

"When Anthropologists Become Counter-Insurgents" (Roberto J. Gonzalez and David H. Price, CounterPunch):
When anthropologists work overseas, they typically arrive with an array of equipment including notebooks, trowels, tape recorders, and cameras. But in the new context of the Bush Administration's "war on terror," a growing number of anthropologists are arriving in foreign countries wearing camouflage, body armor, and guns.
As General Petraeus and his staff push to enact new strategies in Iraq, the value of culture is taking on a greater role in military and intelligence circles, as new military doctrines increasingly rely on the means, methods and knowledge of anthropology to provide the basis of counterinsurgency practices. The Department of Defense, intelligence agencies, and military contractors are aggressively recruiting anthropologists for work related to counter-insurgency operations. These institutions seek to incorporate cultural knowledge and ethnographic intelligence in direct support of US-led interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The Pentagon is increasingly relying on the deployment of "Human Terrain System" (HTS) teams in Afghanistan and Iraq to gather and disseminate information on cultures living in the theatre of war. Some of these teams are assigned to US brigade or regimental combat units, which include "cultural analysts" and "regional studies analysts." According to CACI International (one of three companies currently contracting HTS personnel for the Pentagon), "the HTS project is designed to improve the gathering, understanding, operational application, and sharing of local population knowledge" among combat teams. Required experience includes an MA or Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, sociology, or related social science fields, and applicants must obtain a secret security clearance to be eligible for employment.
In this environment it is not surprising that the Science Applications International Corporation-one of the top 10 US defense contractors-has begun describing anthropology as a "counter-insurgency related field" in its job advertisements. Prior to joining HTS teams, some social scientists attend military training camps. Recently, Marcus Griffin, an anthropology professor preparing to deploy to Iraq boasted on his blog that "I cut my hair in a high and tight style and look like a drill sergeant...I shot very well with the M9 and M4 last week at the range... Shooting well is important if you are a soldier regardless of whether or not your job requires you to carry a weapon." The lines separating researchers, subjects, protectors, protected and target are easily confused in such settings, and the concerns of research ethics are easily set aside for more immediate concerns.

The two writers are anthropologists. You really need to read this article.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, September 28, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the air-war continues and NPR goes ga-ga over it, the mercenaries at Blackwater continue to raise questions, and Dems fund the illegal war again. And, ADDED, PBS examines the Iraq War (tonight in most markets) via Bill Moyers Journal and NOW with David Branccacio.

Starting with war resistance. As Iraq Veterans Against the War notes, the government's 'do-over' (double-jeopardy) attempt at court-martialing Ehren Watada is scheduled for October 9th and "Lt. Watada is facing four charges that could land him in jail for up to six years." June 22, 2006, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in the Iraq War (rightly) noting that the war is illegal. Daniel Ellsberg gave a speech (posted at ICH) last week where he noted Watada, "I've often said that Lt. Ehren Watada -- who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war -- is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath." Watada's attorneys are appealing on a number of grounds including the fact that Judge Toilet (aka John Head) thinks he can be impartial and preside again as well as the fact that a second court-martial (after Head ruled the February court-martial a mistrial over defense objection) would be in violation of the US Constitution which forbids double-jeopardy.

At the start of the week,
Audra D.S. Burch (Miami Herald) provided an overview of war resister Aidan Delgado's book The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq, noting, "This is a story of one young man's transformation from reserve volunteer to soldier to conscientious objector, practicing Buddhist, author and always -- always -- relentless critic of the Iraq War, a peace advocate with a point of view based on real wartime experiences." Delgado is the third war resister to tell their story in book form this year. In May, Camilo Mejia shared his story in Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia while in February Joshua Key told his story in The Deserter's Tale.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Derek Hess, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

ADDED:In media news, the latest episode of
Bill Moyers Journal airs on PBS in many markets tonight (check your local listings) and he will remember two US service members who died recently (two of the seven who wrote the New York Times column "The War as We Saw It") and this is also up at YouTube..In addition Bill Moyers Journal examines the Iraqi refugee crisis with NPR's Deborah Amos and War Hawk George Packer while also taking a look at the outrageous amount of monies being spent on the illegal war.

Also: This week (Fridays in most markets) PBS'
NOW with David Brancaccio examines the issue of US service members wounded in the illegal war: "For many Iraq and Gulf War veterans, the transition from battlefield to home front is difficult. Bouts of fierce anger, depression and anxiety that previous generations of soldiers described as "shell shock" or "combat/battle fatigue" now earn a clinical diagnosis: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But the relatively new medical label doesn't guarantee soldiers will get the care they need. On Friday, September 28 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW looks at how America's newest crop of returning soldiers is coping with the emotional scars of war, and some new and innovative treatments for them."

NPR's The Diane Rehm Show today (second hour), Al-Arabiya TV's Hisham Melhem explained the new meaning of Blackwater since the September 16th incident where they slaughtered at least 16 Iraqi civilians, "In the past, Susan [Page, USA Today], if you wanted to discredit the American war in Iraq or if you wanted to discredit the war on terror all you had to do is just invoke the names of places such as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib or Haditha. Now you can add to that Blackwater USA. I mean this is a huge embarrassment and a problem for the United States in the future. These people are now seen by the Iraqis as the new face of the occupation. And the irony of all ironies now, because these people are in charge of providing protection to the American diplomats there -- I mean, you have a private army. This is the privatization of war. More than 30,000 men. And I'm not saying that many of them . . . are [not] honorable and former good soldiers, the problem is that given what they've done, as Robin [Wright, Washington Post] said, just imagine Ryan Crocker, one of the best American diplomats serving in the Middle East, probably the best one available for Iraq now, trying to visit a neighborhood in Baghdad, after the surge, whatever, he's going to be protected by whom? By elements of the Blackwater. That's the irony of ironies."

On the topic of Blackwater, today
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported that among the deaths resulting from the US mercenary compnay are four Iraq journalists including Suhad Shakir who was shot dead February 2nd while driving to work inside the Green Zone while three guards of the Iraqi Media Network were shot dead, "picked off one by one by Blackwater snipers stationed on the roof of the 10-story Justice Ministry". The US Defense Department has maintained that they do not use Blackwater for their employees; however, the US State Dept does. James Risen (New York Times) reports that the State Department released a count that found Blaackwater "had been involved in 56 shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq so far this year." An Iraqi government investigation found Blackwater responsible for the September 16th deaths at a time when Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, was issuing strong words that Blackwater would be gone. Instead, the puppet's strings were pulled and he agreed to go along with a US State Department led investigation. AFP reports today that US Gen David Petraues and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker have stated that this 'commission' has still not met and is still "preparing for its first meeting in Baghdad". Rather surprising when Steve Fainaru and Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) are able to report on the US embassy's insta-study of the situation today which finds 'confusion' and 'good intentions' (at least one Blackwater employee all but yelled, "Stop the madness!"). Though James Glanz and Sabrina Tavernise are back to pimp this report, the New York Times' reporters fail to use the term "self-serving" though they were very happy to apply that to the report on Blackwater from the Iraqi government. Since the mercenaries do not protect Iraqis, since they protect US embassy employees, exactly which report would be more likely to be "self-serving"? Play dumb, Glanz and Tavernise, play dumb. As Reuters notes, the official US State Dept response is "We're not commenting on the substance of the investigation" which allows them to float this, to get it out there, and if it explodes in their faces, claim they never said those things happened. Meanwhile, Kristin Roberts and Sue Pleming (Reuters) report that US Brig Gen Joseph Anderson declared today of the mercenaries, "I can certainly say I've seen them do some tactics that I thought were over the top. Are they quicker with the trigger? Are they quicker to wave a weapon, brandish a weapon, other tactics, cutting people off? All of us have experience, have seen different things at different times. I have seen them, in my opinion, over-react but that does not mean it's consistently the case."

Blackwater is far from the only problem facing Iraqis. Today on
WBAI's Wakeupcall Radio (first hour), host Mario Murillo spoke with CorpWatch's Pratap Chatterjee who explained his latest piece ("The Boys from Baghdad: Iraqi Commandos Trained by U.S. Contractor") noting that Blackwater shooting at civilians was "just the tip of the iceberg . . . because you do have US soldiers and US security guards that are in the country shooting at civilians, dropping bombs on them, etc. -- creating mayhem. But in fact the role the US has played in creating the civil war in fact is far more long lasting, could be far more insidious and dangerous than the occasional massacre of civilians. That's in no way to condone it at all -- but just say that there are far worse things happening today. There are probably at least, to the best of my knowledge, six training programs to support 'Iraqi security'. The first couple are the training of the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army which interestingly enough were given over to private contractors. DynCorp from Virginia trains the police and Vinnell from Los Angeles originally had the contract to train the Iraqi army. Both of these have been pretty much disasters. And in fact one of the things I explain in this article is that in April 2004 when there were like two major incidents in the country -- and I was in Iraq at the time -- one was the civil uprisings in the south with the siege of various cities and the attack on Blackwater personnel in Falluja -- the US tried to press this police and army into service and in both cases, in fact they shipped police down to Najaf the Iraqi police and soldiers just basically fled the scene and refused to fight and, in some case, turned against the US. So the US quickly realized they needed something way beyond the sort of regular security forces. . . . So they came up with this idea of third force. The third force was going to be special commandos that would be highly trained -- a little like Special Forces that could go into action." Chatterjee explains in his article that these are Emergency Response Unit or ERU and that they training "began under General David Petreaus as an effort to bolster security in Iraq, and soon evolved into a system for providing support to the deeply sectarian Ministry of the Interior." That ministry provides their paychecks as well as controls them today. "Sometimes the people that they train are people who come from backgrounds that are either sectarian or criminal," Chatterjee explained to Murillo. "It's one thing to bring in Blackwater and have them protect US diplomats and shoot at anybody who comes close -- that's horrendous -- but it's another thing to actually go in and train people in the art of warfare and hand this training over to sectarian groups that are now creating multiple civil wars in the country. And that, to me, is one of the most insidious and dangerous parts of the US occupation."

Another insidious part of the illegal war is the little noted air war. (Norman Solomon has long noted the air war and it's under-reporting by the media.)
Guy Raz (NPR's Morning Edition) reported today that "about every 90 seconds something takes off or lands at Balad Air Base there's C130 Cargo planes, there are helicopters, there are fighter jets and those are just a fraction of the forty different kinds of aircraft that use this base. It's not just busy, it's really busy. Actually the busiest Pentagon airport in the world and the second busiest airport in the world overall." Though such activity might give many pause, Guy Raz is a rah-rah-rah-er and tickled pink to be one of the 'boys'. This as Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Around 2 a.m. U.S. military used aerial fire targeting a building in Al Doura area south Baghdad, Iraqi police said. The aerial fire targeted building number 139 in Al Siha district. 10 people were killed and 7 others were injured according to the Iraqi police sources." Reuters notes eight dead. Meanwhile, the US military issues a press release regarding events Tuesday: "A U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Fighting Falcom dropped precision munitions near Al Nussayyib, Iraq Sept. 25, killing Abu Nasr al-Tunisi and two other Al Q'aeda in Iraq operatives. They were killed when the aircraft, assigned to U.S. Central Command Air Forces, dropped two laser guided 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition GBU-12 bombs, destroying the terrorist safe house when the three were meeting." If this is the announced 'investigation' into the Tuesday bombing in Mussyyib that claimed the lives of 5 women and 4 children (see yesterday's snapshot), consider it a white wash.

In news of other violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded two people while a truck bombing in Mosull "destroyed a bridge". Reuters notes the Mosul truck bombing left twenty people wounded. KUNA reports that the British military base in Basra was attacked with mortars overnight.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "David Shamoun, a 28 Christian Iraqi . . . worked with a Turkish company and a college students" was shot dead in Mosul


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Dominic Evans (Reuters) reports that if the 59 announced deaths holds, September will be the lowest month of announced US service members deaths for the year. September in 2005 and 2003 was lower than the announced 59. Also worth noting is that M-NF 'elected' to allow DoD to announce deaths this month.

On the subject of the US military's "kill teams," the press continues to avoid the fact that war resister James Burmeister was publicly speaking of them months before the press stumbled onto them this week.
Paul von Zeilbauer (New York Times) reported this morning on the court-martial of Jorge G. Sandoval and noted that Anthony G. Murphy had testified in July that there was a sense of sense "of disappointment from field commanders seeking higher enemy body counts" and that "Soldiers also testified that battalion commanders authorized a classified new technique that used fake explosives and detonation wires as 'bait' to lure and kill suspected insurgents around Iskandariya, a hostile Sunni Arab region south of Baghdad." AP reports that Sandoval was acquitted today of some charges; however, "the panel decided he had placed a detonation wire on one of the bodies to make it look as if the man was an insurgent."

Wednesday's snapshot, the Joe Biden led push in the Senate (Biden is a senator and also a candidate for the Democratic Party's potential presidential nomination) to divide Iraq into three section in a vote that found 75 US senators voting in favor of it and only 23 voting against it. Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) observes, "Partitioning Iraq is not a solution that is Washington's to make. The recent vote by the US Senate is misguided. In addition, it will do little to further the desire of the US public to bring the troops home. Instead, it will put US forces in the position of maintaining the newly created divisions along new lines in the sand. Senator Biden's bill is not a solution. It is another false approach that has as much chance at success as anything tried by the Bush administration. In other words, it is destined to fail." Al Jazeera reports that Nouri Al-Maliki is denouncing the US resolution and declaring, "They should stand by Iraq to solidify its unity and its sovereignty. They shouldn't be proposing its division. That could be a disaster not just for Iraq but for the region." Strong words from the puppet. Words that, if pattern holds, will vanish with the mere pulling of a string.

Which is why the Iraqi government, 'officially' led by the puppet, is held in such low opinion by Iraqis. Yesterday on
Free Speech Radio News, Hiba Dawood reported, "The slow crumbling of Iraq's government began when the Sadrists withdraw their ministers from cabinet, demanding real authority to provide local services and a timetable for an end to the US occupation. In the fourteen months since then, the Sadrists and the Fadheela Party have split from the United Iraqi Alliance Coalition the largest Shi'ite grouping in the Iraqi parliament. The latest to leave the government were the ministers from the Sunni Accord. They accuse the government of serving sectarian ends. Shi'ite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's government is accused of sectarianism even by other Shias who accuse him of marginalizing them. But the United Iraqi Alliance, now reduced to just the Dawa Party, and the Iraq Islam Supreme Council insists the government is still performing. Jinan [Jasim] al-Ubaydi is a member of parliament and with the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council. She says the withdrawal of so many parties from the governing alliance doesn't effect government policy or performance: 'There dreams are negotiable and though there are many withdrawals, the government is not collapsing. Ryan Crocker said the Iraqi government has enjoyed many vital successes.' Despite the US ambassador's optimism few ordinary Iraqis say the government is succeeding. There is a growing frustration with both the government and the parties that have pulled out."

Despite this, the US Congress continues to fund the illegal war.
John Nichols (Common Dreams) reports that the Senate raised the debt limit for the federal government and gave the Bully Boy "at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq" in a 94 to 1 vote with Russ Feingold being the sole senator to vote no (and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain and Sam Brownback all missing the vote due to campaiging for their parties' presidential nomination) while the House of Represenatives passed the measure by a 404 to 14 vote with Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Earl Blumenauer, Keith Ellison, Ron Paul, Bob Filner, Barney Frank, Maurice Hinchey, Dennis Kunich, Jim McDermott, Donald Payne, Lynn Woolsey and Diane Watson voting no (Kucinich and Paul are running for their parties' presidential nomination). Meanwhile, the national Green Party has noted Democratic party hopefuls for their party's presidential nomination Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama declared this week in a forum broadcast by MSNBC that they couldn't guarantee all US troops would be home, if they were elected to president, by the year 2013. The Green Party notes:

The Green Party of the United States has called for full and immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the occupation of which is entering its sixth year; the party opposes a US military attack on Iran and warns Americans not to believe the new flood of deceptive war propaganda.
Greens stress that Congress could end the war quickly if Democrats refused to move on bills for war funding, including the latest request for nearly $190 billion the Pentagon says is necessary to keep combat troops in Iraq for another year. Greens urge Congress to divert federal funds from war spending to human needs and services in the US, including restoration and rebuilding in the Gulf Coast.
The Green Party has called for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for numerous abuses of power, including misleading the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq. Greens have called the invasion a criminal breach of the US Constitution and international law, motivated by desire for political and corporate dominance in the region, control over Iraqi oil and other resources, and cooperation with Israel's aggressive strategic objectives.

In news of pacts,
CBS and AP report: "Turkey and Iraq signed a counterterrorism pact Friday aimed at cracking down on separatist Kurdish rebels who have been attacking Turkey from bases in Iraq. The agreement, however, falls short of meeting Ankara's demand to send troops in pursuit of Kurdish rebels fleeing across the border into northern Iraq, Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay said. 'It was not possible to reach a deal on chasing Kurdish rebels, however, we hope this issue will be solved in the future,' Atalay said. 'We are expecting this cooperation against terrorism to be broadened as much as possible'."

Last night, Houston's The Progressive Forum (
KPFT -- here for KPFT archives) devoted the second hour of the program to a speech by Gloria Steinem delivered September 17th in Houston, Texas and entitled "The Progression of Feminism: Where Are We Going?". Steinem declared near the start, "I arrived here this morning and I said, 'Oh, this is Ann Richards Airport.' Don't you think we're going to live to see the day when they'll be glad to change the name?" She then began addressing the efforts to destroy tribes, women, LBGT and other members in an attempt to dominate and colonialize. As she observed, "No, we can't go back and it's not about romanticizing the past but it is about understanding that if a system of male dominance had a beginning, it can have an end." Steinem's Outrageous Acts & Everyday Rebellions was mentioned in yesterday's snapshot as was a documentary, Anthony Thomas' Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done which a typo turned into "They" (I put in links on a good day and then dictate later in the day -- I dictate very fast and would have my own typos if I typed the snapshots -- we're noting this one because the documentary's title was wrong due to the typo "They Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done.")

now with david branccaciopbs

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tent City

Kevin Benderman got railroaded by the US government after serving many years in the US military. Once railroaded, he was imprisoned. If you don't know his story, you can check out
Kevin Benderman's website. I'm sure a military prison had its own harshness. But he wasn't required to wear pink panties and he wasn't exposed to temperatures of 150 degrees. The meals might have been bad or sorry, but they weren't crap bought for 30 cents a day.

At the end, you'll see C.I.'s snapshot and, in it, you'll learn more of "Tent City" in Arizona. I think it's inhumane treatment for anyone. That includes someone convicted of murder, rape or whatever else pops into your mind. But it's now going to also be used for to house soldiers from one base who went AWOL and turned themselves in or were arrested while AWOL (probably with the US military's help -- but we're never supposed to notice that). Tent City is not humane, is not about rehabilitation and appears to be run by something far worse than a control freak. In a just world, it would be immediately shut down.

But that Abu Ghraib can now set up shop on US shores demonstrates exactly how far we have allowed ourselves to be degraded by the occupant of the White House and this is going to continue to get worse until we say enough. As awful as our own Abu Ghraib operating within the US, there's still the fact that we could all be enemy combatants tomorrow and see Guantanamo franchises in every state.

You've got a sheriff who thinks he's the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke bragging about what's being done in Tent City. Though a stooge of questionable mental capacity, let's wonder about what even he's too smart to talk about publicly. Already what he's discussed is offensive and goes against everything that the prison system (as flawed as it is) is supposed to be set up for.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue; the 3800 mark was reached, little noted and already passed; coverage of the 'Kill Teams' setting up Iraqis for murder continue to ignore the statements of James Burmeister; Baghdad gets its first cholera death; the US military announces another death; and more.

Starting with war resistance. Have you heard of Arizon's Tent City? It's a federal facility that's now being used to house US service members from Fort Huachuca who go AWOL.
Not all service members who go AWOL or self-checkout are war resisters. Some are. And some will no doubt end up in Tent City.
Nikki Renner (The Arizona Republic) reports that the publicity flack for Fort Huachuca, Tanja Linton, is thrilled with Tent City and believes "that the AWOL soldiers' experience in Tent City will be close to the living accomodations of soldiers in Iraq." Well let's hope Tanja keeps her legs crossed because what she considers "justice" is the sort of thing others would see as The Scarlet Letter type 'justice'. She's not the most jazzed in public, however. That dishonor goes to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. Phoenix's KPHO reports not only has he "agreed to accept all Fort Huachuca soldiers convicted of being" AWOL but he's also panting hot and heavy over how Tent City's "top bunk in each pod is 150 degrees. Meals given to inmates are worth 30 cents a day." But Joey saves most of his panting for Nikki Renner, he's all excited about putting these service members into 'pink panties.' As he drools over the prospect, possibly someone might want to note that he couldn't get away with that with the prisoners the prison normally deals with. As Little Joey nealy creams his shorts over the prospect of becoming 2007's Lynndie England, people might want to show some concern over the fact that Abu Ghraib is being set up in Arizona. And there's no attempt to hide that, in fact, abuse and degradation of those convicted of going AWOL appears to be getting Little Joey aroused. AP noted Tent City earlier this week (in terms of boxer Mike Tyson), described it as "an open-air jail near a dog pound and a trash dump," note Little Joey self-describes as "America's Toughest Sherrif," included Little Joey referring to Tyson gleefully as a "crook," that Little Joey was salivating over the prospect of Tyson forced "to wear pink jail-issue underwear and eat bargain-basement meals that cost taxpayers 30 cents a day," and bragging -- while apparently humping the reporter's leg, "If I put him in the tents, I might have him on a chain gang." We're not a sports site, but for the record, Tyson is an addict. He's not convicted of a violent crime. Nor are the service members who go AWOL. Bully Boy's already led the US into the gutter and now Little Joey appears eager to roll around in it in public -- apparently because the cesspool is currently full.

Josh White and Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) report on the "Kill Teams"
noting, "Officers described the program, in unclassified statements obtained by The Post, as involving the placement of the items in insurgent areas and killing those who picked them up." And
Kim Sengupta (Indepent of London) reports, "A US military source said "baits" had been left by a number of units. 'The guys picking them up are sometimes bad guys. But how do you know each time?' Robert Emerson, a British security analyst, said: 'This seems a highly arbitrary and suspect way of carrying out counter-insurgency operations'." But neither outlet notes war resister James Burmeister who went public about the "Kill Teams" in June. And, in fact, cited them as one of the reasons he decided to self-checkout and move to Canada with his family.

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

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, the 3800 mark for US service members killed in Iraq was passed on Tuesday. Wednesday morning's papers didn't run that headline.
Alan Zimmerman (C-Ville) notes it at the end of his column. James Gerstenzang and Alexandra Zavis note it in the 24th paragraph of their article in today's Los Angeles Times. Now let's be really clear here Cuba's Prensa Latina can note it and others can't? And this is not a problem with just one branch of media, this is a problem with All Things Media Big and Small.

"I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself,"
AFP quotes Bully Boy declaring February 22, 203 as he met with the then prime minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, and explained that despite his public statements, the illegal war was 'on': "There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March." Although prepared to tell the Spanish prime minister that the illegal war was a sure thing, Bully Boy used March 6, 2003 primetime address to state that it might be likely or, as Duncan Campbell, Michael White and Patrick Wintour (Guardian of London) worded it, "President George Bush last night indicated that war was very close in an address to the American people on prime time television." In Baghdad, March 20th would be the day the illegal war started. Or, as Tom Brokaw dubbed at the opening of his interview with Bully Boy "that first night, when you surprised us all by launching the preemptive strike against the residence of Saddam Hussien." That's the same April 24, 2003 interview where -- one month into the illegal war -- Bully Boy declared he "had obviously made up my mind that if we needed to, we would use troops to get rid of weapons of mass destruction to free the Iraqi people. But the actual moment of making that decision was a heavy moment." It should be an even heavier moment for him today for a number of reasons including that he lied, that he's been caught in his lies, that 3800 US service members have died in the illegal war and over 1,066,817 Iraqis have died in the illegal war.

Though All Things Media Big and Small elected not to note the 3800 mark, the deaths didn't stop to wait for them to get off their lazy, pathetic asses and catch up. Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during a small-arms fire attack while conducting combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi captial Sept. 25."

Yesterday the Bully Boy spoke to the United Nations and today it was puppet Nouri al-Maliki's turn.
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) observes that yesterday Bully Boy selectively cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- omitting articles "that he's been violating . . . over and over again." Meanwhile, does the Puppet Love the Bully Boy? If so, Lebanon's The Daily Star tells us the love is strained: "During their face-to-face meeting Tuesday, Bush pressed Maliki to enact long-delayed laws and reforms seen as key to national reconciliation, telling the premier he may find the next US leader less sympathetic to his government's struggles, a senior Iraqi official said." USA Today reports that the puppet addressed the United Nations today and included this bit, "We have a long way to go to reach our goals for a secure, stable and prosperous Iraq".

Or even an "Iraq".
Ken Strickland (MSNBC) reports that US Senator Joe Biden (and hopeful for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination) paln to divide Iraq into three sections reached the US Senate floor today in a symbolic measure and received 75 votes in favor and 23 votes against. It should be noted that all of those votes came from US senators and, possibly, the Senate could grasp that determining Iraq's future is not allowing self-determination in Iraq. James Oliphant (Baltimore Sun) notes that the measure (non-binding) is an amendment that "requires the United States to work to support the division of Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions, each governed locally by its dominant ethnic and religious factions, the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds." Aaron Blake (The Hill) provides humor by suggeting that this (non-binding) amendment "could be part of the political solution for his flagging presidential candidacy." Yes, because the destruction of the Ottoman Empire is something that's not only looked back on so fondly but also something that voters consistently cite as their number one issue.

In Iraq today, Army Major General Kevin Bargner gave a press briefing with the usual fluff and nonsense that will make tomorrow's paper such as "583 Freed!" for the nonsense about 583 Iraqi prisoners -- never tried but held behind bars -- being released since the start of Ramadan (75 last week alone). Don't expect to see the 'reports' probe the issue of how this latest wave of Operation Happy Talk qualifies as 'happy' news since -- again -- the reality is that these prisoners have never been tried. Great example of 'justice' being set. Wasn't it just Monday that US Rear Adm Mark Fox was declaring to the press, "Our assessment is that the overal trend lines, in terms of the numbers of attacks and the numbers of violent incidents in Iraq, is on the downtrend." Are you done laughing yet? In the press conference today, Bergner had the never to claim of the increased violence, "We had been expecting it." Someone forgot to tell Mark Fox!

The actual trend? As
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) notes today there appears to be "a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, other Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq". The trend continues today. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Suicide car bomb slammed into a construction contractor's house who is the son of one of the tribal Sheikhs of Shammar tribe, one of the largest tribes in the country in Um al-Diban village near the Iraqi Syrian border to the west of Sinjar at 7:30 this morning. The Kia minibus detonated killing 8 civilians and injuring 10." BBC notes that the "attacker drove his vehicle up to the house before detonating his explosives" and states "Tribal leader Kanaan al-Shimari was injured in the blast".

In news of other violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that destroyed a home, two Baghdad car bombings that claimed 32 lives, a Mosul car bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers while another Mosul car bombing claimed the lives of 4 civilians and a third Mosul car bombing claimed 3 lives and a Basra bombing claimed 5 lives. Press Latina explains that the Mosul bombings resulted in the city's mayor (Duraid Kashmula) putting the city under curfew and "that security closed roads leading to all bridges above the Tirgris River."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In other news, the cholera outbreaks in Iraq continue to get little attention despite long having left the northern region and turning up elsewhere.
Al Jazeera notes, "Eleven people have died and new cases of the disease have been confirmed in Baghdad, Basra and for the first time the northern districts of Tikrit, Mosul and Dahuk, according to a WHO report."
For those who've forgotten,
two weeks ago (September 12th) the wave of happy talk on the outbreak was that it was confined to the northern region of Iraq. That is no longer the case.
At least twelve people have died from cholera and the twelth was outside the original area.
BBC reports, "A woman has died of cholera in Baghdad, Iraq's health ministry says, the capital's first confirmed fatality in the country's recent outbreak."

Though there's been no money used to guarantee potable water to Iraqis or to provide them with more than a few hours of electricity each day. Despite that fact,
Tony Capaccio and Nicholas Johnston (Bloomberg News) break the news that $190 billion is what the Pentagon wants "for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in fiscal year 2008, which would be the largest annual expenditure since the conflict begins." As Peace Mom and Congressional candidate for California's eighth district, Cindy Sheehan, explained yesterday on KPFK's Sojourner Truth, the Iraq war is about the destruction going on in Iraq but it is also about the decaying infrastructure in this country, the programs the people need -- such as universal health care -- but are told there is no money for while the illegal war continues to suck up ever more billions and trillions. Sheehan was host Margaret Prescod's guest for the full hour and they addressed a number of issues including Sheehan's desire to step back when it was obvious that if you call out Republicans on their support for the illegal war, you get applause but if you call out the Democrats who support and prolong the illegal war you get attacked. She spoke of her trip this summer to the Middle East where she visited with refugees who had been driven out of Iraq and how these events and the maiming and the killing don't seem to register in the US Congressional leadership. Sheehan spoke of the credit the peace movement has earned for carving out a space where the illegal war could be addressed and sees her run for Congress as another step towards peace because she is taking on the military-industrial complex.

On the greed that enriches a select few off the blood of others, US House Rep Henry Waxman has a few questions for US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice. As
Cedric's "
Busy Condi" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! WAXMAN EXPECT RICE TO READ!" noted yesterday, Waxman, chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Rice:

Since your testimony at the Committee's hearing on July 26, 2007, current and former employees of the Office of Inspector General have contacted my staff with allegations that you interfered with on-going investigations to protect the State Department and the White House from political embarrassment...The allegations made by these officials are not limited to a single unit or project within your office. Instead, they span all three major divisions of the Office of Inspector General -- investigations, audits, and inspections. The allegations were made by employees of varied rank, ranging from line staff to upper management... Some of the specific allegations include the following: Although the State Department has expended over $3.6 billion on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, you refused to send any investigators to those countries to pursue investigations into wasteful spending or procurement fraud and have concluded no fraud investigations relating to the contracts. You prevented your investigators from cooperating with a Justice Department investigation into waste, fraud, and abuse relating to the new U.S. Embassy in Iraq and followed highly irregular procedures in exonerating the prime contractor, First Kuwaiti Trading Company, of charges of labor trafficking. You prevented your investigators from seizing evidence that they believed would have implicated a large State Department contractor in procurement fraud in Afghanistan. You impeded efforts by your investigators to cooperate with a Justice Department probe into allegations that a large private security contractor was smuggling weapons into Iraq. You interfered with an on-going investigation into the conduct of Kenneth Tomlinson, the head of Voice of America and a close associate of Karl Rove, by passing information about the inquiry to Mr. Tomlinson. You censored portions of inspection reports on embassies so that critical information on security vulnerabilities was dropped from classified annexes and not disclosed to Congress.You rejected audits of the State Department's financial statements that documented accounting concerns and refused to publish them until points critical of the Department had been removed.

Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) discovers additional details in the story which includes that the US State Dept's contract officer, Kiazan Moneypenny, wrote the mercenary company Blackwater USA on September 20th instructing them "not to disclose information about the contract" they had with the State Department and referred to phone conversations between the mercenaries and the State Dept "on September 19 and 20". Blackwater was the subject of an investigation in Iraq earlier this month following the slaughter of at least 11 Iraqi civilians. The Iraqi investigation found that Blackwater was at fault. Puppet Nouri al-Maliki was insisting that Blackwater leave Iraq. Instead, under heavy pressure from Rice, he put a smiley face on the White House's decision to allow Blackwater to continue operating in Iraq. With the State Dept now coaxing and coaching Blackwater the alleged 'investigation' that was allegedly going to be conducted by the US and Iraq is even more of a joke.

In book news,
Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism came out last Tuesday. Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post via Common Dreams) examines the book and finds, "It's a brilliant dissection of what Naomi Klein calls 'disaster capitalism,' an economic philosophy born half a century ago at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman. It holds that the best time to institute radical free-market policies is in the aftermath of a massive social crisis, such as a terrorist attack, a war, or a natural disaster like Katrina. Klein shows how the crony capitalists running the Bush administration saw post-invasion Iraq as the perfect proving ground for all their pet free-market policies. The fantasy was that a privitazied and corporatized Iraq would become a free-market utopia that would spread the gospel of the market throughout the Middle East. Democracy would reign, and Halliburton and Bechtel would stand supreme."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Isaiah, Kevin & Monica Benderman, 3800

Opening with a smaller version of Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Boy On the Job" which went up Sunday.


Hi and Lois and Beetle Baily. It's in response to Bully Boy (and Congress) decrying a newspaper advertisement last week ("General Petraeus or General Betray Us") which was one more way to avoid them addressing something that actually mattered.

This was in yesterday's snapshot: "A Matter Of Conscience is a new documentary about the illegal war and Kevin and Monica Benderman's strength when Kevin realized he was a conscientious objector. Like Mejia, Kevin Benderman is among the early war resisters. A preview of the documentary is available at YouTube. More information on the film can be found at Kevin Benderman's website. A Matter of Conscience: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War is a project by William Short and Willa Seidenberg (an incredible project) and, to be clear, that's not this documentary. (There are other items with that title, I believe Kevin Benderman also wrote a column with that title.) If you're interested in purchasing a copy of the documentary, e-mail Earl Brackett (Minehead Productions) at" I had intended to note that last night but, obviously, had other things on my mind. I did watch the clip. It's ten minutes. You've got some footage of Bully Boy, some footage of Kevin Benderman being interviewed by Dan Rather, some footage of Monica Benderman speaking about why her husband's stand matters, some Iraq footage, and a really heart breaking moment after Kevin's show trial where Monica looks like she's going to lose it. She is wounded in that scene (no surprise after what was done to her husband). You can see the pain over what is being done to Kevin and the pain over not being able to do anything to pull him from what the government's about to do. They are both strong people and they survived but that moment probably stood out the most.

I have a lot of respect for her strength and have noted that before. But to see that moment, after the show trial, is really to appreciate it because it really demonstrates how much strength it took to pick herself up after. There is some strong music in the trailer and I wish something stood out. When I watched, I was making mental notes. (I was eating lunch.) But that scene really stood out and wiped out pretty much everything else. I believe the clip started with the Doors.

I was also thinking today about the 3800 mark that was just waiting and pretty sure it would be reached today. It was.

3800 dead
Keep the number in your head
36,943 maimed
They will never be the same
1.06 million Iraqis 'liberated' from their lives
It was all based on lies
It was all based on lies.

That's from the snapshot. If you checked out The Common Ills this morning, you knew C.I. was in a musical mood. (Which bothered me only because I imagined C.I. very tired. Not always, but many times, when C.I.'s using lyrics, that's generally what it means.) One entry had Laura Nyro, the other Jackson Browne. Kat will write about the 3800 dead tonight. They were speaking to a number of groups today (Kat, Maggie, Jess, Ava and C.I.) and Kat, Jess and C.I. began pulling somethng there. So visit Kat's site tonight.

Joni Mitchell's Shine is available at Starbucks, online and I'm sure other places as well. On my way to work this morning, I was noticing just how man Starbucks I pass (a lot) and thinking, "Well I guess everyone will have a shot at getting the CD." Then I realized that there are rural areas all over the country without Starbucks. But, short of Wal-Mart, I would assume people living in those areas either have to order online in most cases or else take a long drive. I actually wouldn't be at all opposed to many other artists signing with Starbucks. I'm a coffee addict so I'm always stopping somewhere for coffee on the way to work (even though I've had coffee while rushing to get ready in the morning) and music would make Starbucks my first choice.

"Greens call Sen. Clinton's health care mandate proposal a 'fraudulent, cynical, cruel' affront to Americans who need coverage" (Green Party):
Monday, September 24, 2007
Contacts:Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
mclarty@greens.orgStarlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
Dem plans are really billion-dollar subsidies for HMO-insurance campaign contributors, say Greens
Greens appeal to Dems who support Single-Payer/Medicare For All: America will not get real universal health care until some Greens get into Congress
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders strongly criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care reform plan, calling it a capitulation to private HMO and insurance corporations and an affront to Americans who lack adequate access to health care.
"Senator Clinton's $110-billion-per-year 'mandatory coverage' plan amounts to a gigantic subsidy for the HMO-insurance industry, while shifting the burden -- and the blame for lack of coverage -- onto people who desperately need health care," said John Battista, MD, former Green candidate for state representative in Connecticut and co-author of his state's single-payer legislation in 1999 (the Connecticut Health Care Security Act).
"As Michael Moore's documentary 'Sicko' showed, predatory insurance companies are the reason for America's health crisis, with 47 million uninsured and millions more whose coverage doesn't give them adequate treatment," added Dr. Battista. "Ms. Clinton's solution is to reward these companies for their greed, giving them more money. Ms. Clinton has been Congress's top recipient of money from the insurance industry [source: Center for Responsive Politics, ], which explains her dedication to corporate insurance and HMO profits."
The Green Party supports a Single-Payer national health plan, also called 'Medicare For All,' similar to the Canadian system, which would guarantee every American health care regardless of age, income, employment, or prior medical condition; allow choice of health care provider; provide low-cost or no-cost treatment and prescriptions (including certain forms of alternative medicine); and cost low- and middle-income Americans far less than they now pay for private or employer-based coverage by eliminating insurance and HMO company overhead.
Greens called Sen. Clinton's and other Democratic plans expensive and inefficient because of the duplication of administrative costs of multiple plans and because they offer fewer services in deference to profits. The US currently spends more that twice what other industrialized nations spend on health care: $7,129 per capita -- which would change only minimally under the Democratic plans.
For more on Green health care positions, visit . For health care leaders in the Green Party Speakers Bureau, visit .
"America doesn't need 'mandatory' coverage, America needs guaranteed health care," said Linda Manning Myatt, Michigan Green and spokesperson for the National Women's Caucus. "Unfortunately, all of the Democratic presidential candidates, except for Dennis Kucinich, are pandering for their insurance lobby friends. They care more about profits for their campaign contributors than about health care for the American people. Sen. Barack Obama has even admitted that his plan would sustain HMOs and insurance firms. Calling the Democrats' proposals 'universal health care' is fraudulent, cynical, and cruel."
Green leaders claim that Ms. Clinton promoted a disastrous reform plan in 1993, under her husband's administration, and has introduced an even worse plan in 2007. Greens have insisted that fair and accurate discussion of Single-Payer/Medicare For All be included in the media debate over health care.
"The only political party that supports Single-Payer Medicare For All is the Green Party," said Connecticut Green Justine McCabe, PhD, a psychologist and co-chair of the Green Party's International Committee. "We demand that the Green Party and Green candidates and other Single-Payer supporters be allowed to participate in the health care debate. Just as urgently, we need to get a few Greens elected to Congress. A few Green wins in congressional races in 2008 will jolt more Dems and even some Republicans into backing Single-Payer."
"Progressive Democrats and others who say they favor Single-Payer need to understand this point. American will not get Single-Payer until a non-corporate third party -- the Green Party -- gains a presence in Congress. If progressive, pro-Single-Payer Democrats insist on supporting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or other corporate Democrats in the 2008 race, then they will be complicit in keeping Single-Payer off the table for years to come," said Dr. McCabe.
Green Party of the United States, 866-41GREENFax 202-319-7193o Green Party News Center Green Party Speakers Bureau 2007 national Green Party meeting in Reading, Pa.: video footage, blog and media coverage
"Seeking Coverage For All"By John R. Battista and Justine McCabe (Green Party members), The Hartford Courant, October 31, 2006
"Health Reform Failure"By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein, The Boston Globe, September 17, 2007
Physicians for a National Health Program
search: lwcj, spol
Disclaimer: State, local, and candidate press releases made available here represent the opinions of the original source only. Opinions expressed by a state party or candidate do not necessarily represent the views of the Green Party of the United States. State party contact information, when provided with candidate releases, does not imply state party endorsement of the opinions expressed nor of the candidate (prior to gaining formal nomination by the party).___
Office: PO Box 57065 Washington, D.C. 20037 Email: 202-319-7191 or toll-free (US): 866-41GREEN

That's in full. I hope you're following the Green Party because there will be many candidates coming along and they may speak to you. As I noted in 2005, I will not be voting for a War Hawk so, barring a miracle, I will be voting Green for president in 2008.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, September 25, 2007. Chaos and violence continues, the 3800 mark has been reached for US service members who have died in the illegal war, cholera -- forgotten by the press but stil raging in Iraq, Jame Burmeister was talking about the "kill teams" in June but where were All Things Media Big and Small, and more.

Starting with war resistance and starting with James Burmeister who shared his story with Maria Hinojosa PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio (first broadcast August 24th in most PBS markets -- click here for transcript and here for a/v). 23-year-old Burmeister explained why he signed up: "I always wanted to do something that would be a big help and it seemed like the perfect thing." The segment focused on Burmeister and Agustin Aguayo and though Aguayo explained how his opinion changed while serving Iraq. Burmeister? Tape exists of why he changed his mind. It didn't make the final cut. NOW with David Brancaccio could air that footage or post it online and be seen as 'up to the minute' because one of the reasons Burmeister . Instead, we skip over reasons for his opposition and are taken to "James saw only two options either go back to Iraq or go AWOL" with Burmeister going to Canada May 4th. [At this site, screen cap is included and community member Eddie provided it. It's used in Ava and my TV commentary from August 26, 2007.]

What's missing from the story? It's a story told on Canada's CBC if not PBS.
Click here for summary (which includes audio link as well) of the June 29th interview.

James Burmeister: Myself, I was a Calvary scout. We do a lot of reconnaissance, mapping out, a lot of raids. Our platoon in particular would set up small groups called "Platoon Kill Teams" -- maybe a group of four, five people, some snipers and we would set up fake cameras, we would put "Property of US government" in English and Arabic and we would wait for an Iraqi to come up and touch it because that gives the US the right to kill them -- so they say. That would be the typical thing we would do.

Rob Benzie: You called this baiting. Is that right?

James Burmeister: Definitely.

"Baiting." In the news this week. The
Washington Post yesterday, the New York Times today and it could have been PBS in August -- if they'd aired the video. They didn't. And they couldn't tell you why Burmeister turned against the illegal war without airing the video of that section of the interview. Back to the CBC interview.

James Burmeister: It had a lot to do with the small kill teams which really bothered me. I didn't see how that was helping at all. We would roll around in the streets of Baghdad looking for a fight, and go into the danger areas and wait for somebody to shoot just so we could shoot somebody else. When I was back in Germany, after my six months there, I had threats to lie about my medical situation. At that point . . .

Rob Benzie: What took you to Germany after Iraq?

James Burmeister: I was actually injured in a bomb blast. I was a gunner on top of a Humvee and we were going up and down the same route several times something that you never should do in a combat situation. Bomb just blew up to the left side of the truck, knocked me out, I lost the hearing in my right ear, some shrapnel in my face and they decided to send me back on two weeks of leave instead of actually sending me to a hospital and so I had to go back and on my two weeks of leave had to do all my own hospital work on my own time. Eventually, I got my leave extended but after, after awhile they started to threaten me to lie about my medical situation or else they were just going to destroy my life. You know, they really wanted to get me back.

Rob Benzie: So you decided to leave?

James Burmeister: Definitely. I kind of had the idea in my mind a little bit but it wasn't a certain thing, Definitely after the threats and I had all these doubts about the war. That was it for me.

Kill squads. Platoon Kill Teams. Due to the fact that cases are going on right now, court-martials, the mainstream press is semi-talking about Kill Teams. They're zooming in on 'materials' of interest to 'insurgents' being left out. That is not reality.

Now if war resisters were covered, this would have been a news topic some time ago. But war resistance isn't covered and in terms of any coverage at all, it's done better by big media than small if you're looking volume. PBS remains the only American national outlet to interveiw Burmeister. Some papers in his the area he grew up in interviewed as well. But All Things Media Big and Small took a pass. For most of them, it was the same pass they've taken since the start of the illegal war.

In this morning's New York Times,
Paul von Zielbauer reports on the "testimony presented in a military court" which some might argue is also known as "transcription." PvZ notes "soldiers testifying for the defense have said the sniper team was employing a 'baiting program' developed at the Pentagon by the Asymmetrical Warfare Group, which met with Ranger sniper teams in Iraq in January and gave equipment to them." Human Rights Watch weighs in their general useless manner (and demonstrates their ignorance with regards to war resisters -- no surprise). Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., Michael A. Hensley and Evan Vela are the three US service members facing punishment -- and if more were public about the program, many higher ups would probably also be facing charges. Across the Atlantic, the BBC demonstrates the stupidity (willfrul or just a natural state) isn't confined to the US as they note that the US military will not confirm or deny the program's existance and cite military flack Paul Boyce as delcaring that using "drop weapons" would not "appear legally justified, as the three snipers are accused of doing." For those who paid attention, the wording is that way because the military is saying, "OH NO! We didn't okay that! But we're not going to go into what we did say and thank goodness no one uses Canada's CBC as a trusted news source so no one will ever raise the important issue!"

On the subject of war resistance,
The Fayetteville Observer interviewed Chuck Fager last weekend. Fager is the director of the area's Quaker House and he reported that in 2002 there were 3,000 phone calls asking for assistance while in 2006 the number of calls had trippled to 9,000 "[a]nd most of the months this year have set records for each month. As of the end of May, we have received 4,320 calls". Fager explained that they were "getting more and more calls about (AWOL) . . . sometimes from people who are thinking about it and sometimes from people who already are."

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

The 3800 marker has been reached. Today the
US military announced, "A Task Force Lightning Soldier was killed in Diyala Province, Tuesday, when an explosion occured near his vehicle." 3800 US service members have been announced killed in the illegal war. As noted Sunday in "Editorial: Buying the illegal war" (The Third Estate Sunday Review): "In the November 2006 elections, Democrats were put back in charge of both houses of Congress with a mandate to end the illegal war. The session of the 110th Congress started on January 3rd. On January 4th, the first announced death to take place after Dems were sworn in was made ("A Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol was attacked by small arms fire, killing one Soldier in the western part of the Iraqi capital today.") and that took the number of US service members to die in the illegal war to 3006. His name was Charles D. Allen." 3005 before Dems were sworn in, put in control of both houses. 3800 today. 795 deaths while they have been in power and they continue to fund the illegal war, they refuse to use the filibuster to end the funding, they've done nothing but pass 'symbolic' measures -- such as when they 'symbolically' agreed they weren't in favor of the escalation (aka "the surge").

3800 dead
Keep the number in your head
36,943 maimed
They will never be the same
1.06 million Iraqis 'liberated' from their lives
It was all based on lies
It was all based on lies.

Turning to the land of 'progress,' 'democracy' and 'liberation' -- Iraq. A
McClatchy Newspapers' Iraqi correspondent observes (at Inside Iraq) the realities for Iraqi women since the start of the illegal war, the loss of rights, and wonders, "Why?? Why have we lost our rights? For what have we been pushed back into the dark ages? How can this be liberation if my daughter has fewer rights than I did at her age? If she has less control over her life than I did? Fewer choices than even her grandmother had?" Fewer choices. Jay Price (McClatchy Newspapers) writes of the rash of burn victims (female) showing up in Kurdistan with many assumed to be suicide attempts (most of which are successful -- and many confess they were suicide attempts). Why set yourself on fire with kerosene? Don't you remember? Newsweek said it was a trend! And fashionable! And just something little romantic teenager 'girls' do. They do love their (false) trend stories at Newsweek. Price writes, "The common factor, though, was usually the traditional, patriarchal culture, which often leaves women feeling powerless in dealings with husbands, fathers or even brothers. That powerlessness is magnified when a girl marries young and comes under a husband's domination before she has a chance to learn much about life, Monsour said." Meanwhile, AKI reports that a "newly formed women's caucus" in the parliament is attempting to apply prssure on the issue of assisting "victims of the war in Iraq, including widows and orphans, war victims' families and Iraqi refugee".

Let's drop back to
yesterday's snapshot:

In news of other attacks,
Reuters reports a the targeting of various officials such as Sunday's Kut attack aimed at the police chief of the Wasit province (two bodyguards were injured) that continue today with a bombing targeting the police chief of Kirkuk (two bodyguards wounded) and an attack on the mayor of Kirkuk (1 bodyguard killed, seven wounded). Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reveals there were more officials targeted "General Secretary of the National Accordance Group, Najaf Branch, Adel Waheed Abood was targeted by gunmen and sustained two bullets this morning; one in the neck and another in the shoulder. The Health Department in Najaf says his condition is critical. He was a nominee for the position of Governor in Najaf governorate."

That would be a trend. A continuing trend and one that alert reporters should pick up on and immediately flashback to the months of June and July 2003 when resistance seemed unthinkable to so many enlisted in Operation Happy Talk.
Edward E. Kramer (New York Times) sees a trend in an attack on a 'reconciliation banquet'. The trend to watch is the escalating attacks outside the capital directed at those in charge of protecting and governing provinces. Such as AP's report this morning on the bombing attack of "police headquarters . . . in Basra" that claimed the lives of at least 3 Iraqi police officers. Or how about this? Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "The head of the local council of Hawija town Hussein Ali Salih was injured with one of his guards and a third civilian when a suicide car bomb targeted the convoy of Salih near Al Mahmoudiyah fuel station in Hawija town west of Kirkuk today afternoon." and "An IED exploded near the house of one of the officers of the 1st battalion, the 2nd Iraqi army brigade in Hawiha town yesterday night." and (this is all Hammoudi), "A gunman killed one of the military commandeers of the PUK Party today afternoon. The police said that Col. Ali Simeen, the commander of the emergency battalion of Bashmarga (Kurdish military troops) in Tuz Khurmatu town was killed in front of his house inside Kifri district south of Kirkuk city." And Reuters reports a "bomber wearing an explosives belt blew himself up near a police colonel, wounding the officer and nine others in Mosul." On the Basra attack, Deborah Haynes (Times of London) notes, "The suicide bomber approached al-Ashar police station as trainees were taking part in a morning demonstration outside the front, police said. A guard saw him and opened fire but failed to stop the car from detonating. Police said that three trainees were killed and seventeen wounded. Major Shearer said that only one member of the Iraqi security forces had been killed, along with two civilians, while a number of others were injured."

On the bombing Monday that Kramer was recounting,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observered today, "In news from Iraq, up to 25 people died on Monday when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque during a reconciliation meeting between a Shiite and Sunni militia. The suicide bomber struck in the mixed village of Shifta, outside Baquba. Baquba's police chief died in the attack. Meanwhile in Baghdad, residents of the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City say US forces have raided a number of houses. One civilian died in the raids. Iraq Resident: 'We are poor people. We do not have oil! We do not have anything! They took everything from us and in addition to all these things, they attacked us (repeatedly). Why did they do this to us? What did those innocent people do? They burnt out this generator (points), which supply us with electricity'."

Returning to today's violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three police officers were wonded in a downtown Baghdad bombing,and two Baghdad car bombings claimed 2 lives and left twelve wounded. Reuters reports a Khaldiya bombing killed a police office and a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left a second injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi contractor was kidnapped in Kirkuk.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 8 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.
Reuters notes one corpses discovered in Kirkuk.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization remembers the cholera breakout that the press has forgotten.
WHO announced today that "more than 30,000 people have fallen ill with acute watery diarrhoea, among which 2,116 were identified as positive for Vibrio cholerae. The case fatality rate is 0.52% and has remained low throughout the outbreak, although it continues to spread across Iraq and dissemination to as yet unaffected areas remains highly possible. The oubreak was first detected in Kirkuk province, where 68% of laboratory-confirmed cholera cases have so far been reported, and then spread to Sulaymaniah and Erbil provinces. Additional isolated cases of cholera have also been identified in other parts of the country, including Tikrit (6 cases confirmed), Mosul (2 cases confirmed), Basra (1 case confirmed), Baghdad (2 cases confirmed) and Dahuk (1 case confirmed)."

over the weekend came news that's gotten very little attention in the US press. KUNA reported another threat of withdrawal from the US installed government in Iraq and one that might make more waves than usual since it was from the Accord Front and the threat of withdrawal came from Iraq's president Tareq al-Hashemi who declared the intentions of his bloc and himself to withdraw stating they would not "be marginalized" and that, "Now we have withdrawn from the Iraqi government, but we will quite the presidency and the parliament in case our talks with the government reached a dead end". Among the issues include Aghai Farhadi, the Iranian delegate arrested by US forces on Thursday. CBS and AP report that Talabni is still raising the issue of the Iranian delegate: "President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who has been one of America's staunchest allies in Iraq, called it 'illegal' and said he met with American leaders to demand the Iranian's release. He said the Americans did not have the right to arrest somebody inside the autonomous Kurdish area in northern Iraq because the U.S. had handed over security responsibilities to the Kurds. 'Arresting a person inside the Kurdish region is illegal because the security file was handed over to the Kurdish government months ago,' he said."

In other legal news, the issue of Blackwater has seen the puppet Nouri al-Maliki -- following pressure from the US government -- to back down. No surprise. He is now willing to disown the report his own government produced and hop in bed with the White House for the white wash. However, that's not all of the story just yet.
Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports that a law which "would strip local and foreign security companies of their immunity" -- given to them by Paul Bremer -- "has been submitted to a state committee for legal vetting". BBC notes: "The new code would require contractors to be subject to Iraqi law and to be monitored by the Iraqi government. The draft is being considered by the consultative State Shura Council before being passed to parliament for debate."

andrew e. kramer
now with david branccaciopbs