Friday, May 08, 2009

The really-reals

"Cherie Welch go FUCK YOURSELF" went up tonight, it's Ruth's post. Danny Schechter's little assistant wrote Ruth a nasty e-mail. Cherie Welch, you're nothing, do you grasp that?

You're a woman being the 'office girl' for a sexist pig who couldn't call out the sexism in 2008 but damn well contributed to it.

He's the LIAR who claimed throughout the primaries that he had no preference. He was called on it repeatedly. I could put out a call community-wide and the e-mails would flood in, forwards of the e-mails where he insisted to this community member or that one that he had no preference and he was playing it straight.

That was a LIE.

Danny Schechter was making a 'documentary' (or as close to one as a bad journalist can) on Barack. It was important to his pocketbook that Barack won. He slanted his coverage and did so intentionally.

Danny couldn't take it. He couldn't take the little whore he'd become. He couldn't take the fact that he was getting called out on it. So he closed down comments.

That's why no one can comment there anymore. He couldn't handle people pointing out -- without swear words -- that he was slanting his coverage.

The 'brave' News Dissector.

Yeah, whatever.

He got co-opted and then corrupted and there is no saving his soul now. He's just a cheap whore. He can crawl out of the gutter he moved into.

He gave up everything.

He knew what journalism was.

He knew the rules.

He wanted to fudge them so he bent them a little. He got away with that, so he bent them a lot.

Now he's a joke.

No one takes him seriously.

He offers The Daily Loving 'Bama. He doesn't dissect news. He doesn't call out fawning over politicians. He's just another whore. He's as bad Elisabeth Bumiller was in 2002.

He's a whore. A cheap, money begging whore.

I don't give money to independent media and I always suggest you don't either.

They can't work real jobs so they want to beg you.

Danny couldn't hack it in the real world of news broadcasting so he ended up online and, for a while, he tried to follow the ethics of his profession. But he wanted to play! He wanted to be part of the team!

So he whored it. He whored it repeatedly.

He sold out. Thing is, beggar media can't support him.

Nothing can.

This is how it ends.

I saw from the beggars when Vietnam ended as well.

It's not a surprise. If you go back to 2007 here, you'll find some journal entry where I'm comparing Barack to Jimmy Carter and noting that if he gets the nomination we will see the same abandonment of beliefs and convictions that we did then. That's what happened to the media, it turned to fluff. I don't mean the corporate, I mean the 'alternative.'

The two exist side-by-side. C.I. can speak to this better than I can. But when the 'alternative' media fluffs, there's no reasonf or Real Media to do anything else.

Like I said, I lived through this before and learned that the beggar boys shoot themselves in the foot. You never have to throw the beggar boys of Panhandle Media out on the street because they always toss themselves out there.

There's your hope, there's your hopelessness, as Joni Mitchell once sang.

They need a hero. Which is why they slaughtered Hillary. Got to have that cock to wrap their . . . dreams around.

Men of Danny's generation on the left especially should have been calling out the sexism because they contributed to it in real time. In fact, Danny might want to offer some confessions on his own 'enlightened' behaviors.

Look, reality is they couldn't work in the real world. They don't work for real media because they lack the talent, the skills and the ethics required. That's why they go into beggar media.

Then they just become consumed with jealousy as others succeed which is why Danny had his non-stop fits about Katie Couric. Sorry, Danny, she had the chops. She made it into the anchor seat. She knew how to dress, after all. I knew Roone too. I heard him gripe and gripe about you over the years (he generally couldn't get your name right but he always talked about how poorly you dressed and how your clothes needed ironing or cleaning). So point, Danny never would have been an anchor. He didn't conduct himself in a professional manner.

That's no excuse for the way he hated on Katie Couric.

James Hider (Times of London) has a piece on Steven D. Green's conviction that went up after the snapshot. (C.I. asked me to note that an I will gladly.)

I just want to comment on the snapshot and then post this and I'm not sure how to bring it in. Okay, how about this?

Danny Schechter climbs on the cross to pretend he's a real journalist. He took his flabby ass to DC for a Barack event recently. Propaganda gets him to DC. But he can't take those same flabby cheeks to DC to cover a Congressional hearing. C.I. covered an amazing one yesterday (in the snapshot) and that's reporting. What C.I. does with Congress is actual reporting. We know that unless Congress is taking a break that month, she'll average at least four hearing reports. She's reporting and doing so as she breezes through DC.

But Danny's supposed to be the journalist, right? He doesn't do that. He doesn't cover hearings. But when it's time for a feel-good propaganda moment for Barack, Danny can suddenly head to DC.

Along with claiming to be a journalist, Danny also claims he's a media critic. When's the last time he offered a critique? When did he ever call out the silence on Abeer?


He's not a media critic.

Seems to me C.I. does about fifty jobs (and looks beautiful during all of it) and flabby cheeks can't even manage one job or to even be presentable. C.I.'s always been what Natalie Wood called "the really-reals."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, May 8, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, US troops continuing shipping out to Iraq, some cover the War Crimes conviction, some stay silent, Diane Rehm bans female callers from the second hour of her show today out of fear that one will bring up Abeer, Odierno holds a press conference, and more.

Yesterday the jury issued a verdict in the War Crimes trial of Steven D. Green. Last night on The KPFA Evening News, the events were summed up as follows:

Andea Lewis: A jury convicted a former soldier today of raping and fatally shooting a 14 year old girl after kiling her parents and younger sister while he wsa serving in Iraq. PFC Steven Dale Green faces a possible death sentence when the penalty phase of his trial begins on Monday. Green, aged 24 from Midland Texas, was being tried in civilian court because he had been discharged from the army for personaltiy disorder before he was charged with the Iraq crimes. Green stared straight ahead as the verdict was read in U S District Court in western Kentucky efense attroney Darren Wolff speaking afterward said the defense never denied Green's involvement. "Is this verdict a surprise to us? No. The goal has been to save our client's life," Wolff said Green's defense team had asked jurors the context of war saying soldiers in Green's unit of 101st lacked leadership and received little help from the army deal with the loss of friends in combat. The prosecution rested six days into the trial after presenting witnesses who said Green confessed to the crimes and others who put him at the home of the 14 year old
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, heard him shoot her family and saw him rape and shoot the girl. Three other soldiers are serving time in military prison for their roles in the attack and they all testified against Green at his trial.

Alsumaria explains, "A high panel court found Steve Green guilty for 16 counts while a death sentence is still to be decided in trial which will start on Monday." Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) adds, "Prosecutors say Green was the ringleader in raping and killing fourteen-year-old Abeer Kassem Hamza al-Janabi and killing her parents and five-year-old sister." Evan Bright reports on the verdict:As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts. After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.

Evan Bright is the 18-year-old high school senior who has been in the court every day of the trial and reporting on it. Something most outlets pointedly avoided. The only outlet that can hold its head high is the Associated Press which reported on it and utilized Brett Barrouquere to do so. Barrouquere has been on this story for nearly three years now and has covered the other court appearances of soldiers involved in these war crimes. Barrouquere notes some reactions in Iraq to the news of Green's convictions. Mohammed Abbas Muhsin states, "If American court has convicted the American soldier I will consider the U.S. government to be just and fair. This verdict will give the rights back to the family, the relatives and the clan of the victim Abeer." Ahmed Fadhil al-Khafaji feels differently, "The American court and government are just trying to show the world that they are fair and just. If they are really serious about it, they should hand the soldier over to an Iraqi court to be kept in Abu Ghraib prison and tried by Iraqis." Sami al-Jumaili, Habib al-Zubaidy, Tim Cocks and Samia Nakhoul (Reuters) quote Abeer's uncle Karim Janabi, "By all measures, this was a very criminal act. We are just waiting for the court to sentence him so he gets justice and the court can change the image of Americans. Some people, when they die, I forget them. But we will never forget this girl [his niece Abeer] -- never." Another relative, Yusuf Mohammed Janabi, states, "So they decided this criminal was guilty, but we don't expect he'll be executed. Only if he's executed will it mean American courts are just."

Sky News reports on the case, as does the Belfast Telegraph, England's Evening Standard, Al Jazeera, the BBC, AFP, Caroline Hedley (Telegraph of London), the UK Daily Mail and Reuters. And US outlets? There's CNN and USA Today blogged on it.

Where's the New York Times? They are the news oulet, pay attention, that has refused to ever name Abeer. They began rendering her invisible in 2006. Let's fall back to the first big article the Times did on the matter by propagandists and professional liars Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall. "
G.I. Crime Photos May Be Evidence" ran August 5, 2006 and the fifth paragraph -- apparently in an attempt at parody, referred to the crimes as "first widely reported in June". Widely reported by whom? Not the Times. Ellen Knickmeyer's strong "Details Emerge in Alleged Army Rape, Killings" ran, not in the Times, but in the Washington Post. And even now, if you read it, you'll see Abeer named. But Worth and Marshall scribbled a 1464 word article but somehow couldn't squeeze in Abeer's name. The entire article is an attempt to soften up sentiment for the criminals. Worth and Marshall got in bed with the defense and present the arguments that will later be made in the Article 32 hearing. Combat stress, you understand, and Marshall and Worth got there first -- even before the defense could make the case. Andy Mosher (The Washington Post) explained after the Article 32 hearing started, "Eugene Fidell, a Washington military law expert, said Tuesday that the defense attorneys were most likely emphasizing combat stress to argue that their clients not face a possible death penalty in the event of a court-martial. 'This is not a defense known to the law,' Fidell said. 'But this kind of evidence could come in during the court-martial, and it might be pertinent to the sentence. They could be setting the stage to avoid a death penalty'." This is not a defense known to law. But it was known to readers of the New York Times.

Worth and Marshall could present -- could argue for over 1400 -- for the defense, in logic, not "known to the law" but they couldn't mention Abeer's name. The paper always made it very clear where their loyalties were. It wasn't with Abeer.
What did Aged Go-Go Boy in the Green Zone John F. Burns so famously say? Oh, yes, the paper tailors its Iraq coverage to US tax payers.

Worth and Marshall went to a lot of trouble hunting down sources who could give them the mind frame (or alleged mind frame) of the ones involved and their company. When do we get the serious story about Abeer Qasim Hamza and her family? When is that story going to be told? It's nearly three years since that propaganda ran in the New York Times and the paper has never run Abeer's story. The War Criminals Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall were carrying water for have all been sentenced. Surprisingly, the propagandists skipped reporting on that. And no one at the paper has ever told Abeer's story. Her name has never appeared in the paper.

Yesterday a US federal court found one of the War Criminals guilty on every count and yet you will find nothing about that in today's New York Times. You won't find an AP article they slapped on a page or even a paragraph in "Nation Briefs." You won't find anything. This is the alleged paper of record.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered by US soldiers who only knew of her because they were supposed to be protecting the neighborhood she lived in. These were War Crimes. This was an international incident. But readers of the New York Times have never heard that. They've never even been informed of Abeer's name. Today they don't even know that the ringleader was found guilty.

The paper has consistently rendered Iraqis invisible, over and over. In what is the worst known War Crime of the illegal war, the paper has avoided telling the story and it has done so repeatedly. Over and over.
When 'defense attorneys' Worth and Marshall thought they could sway public opinion on behalf of the War Criminals, the New York Times put the story on the front page.

The front page.

'Poor Little Boys in Iraq' was a front page story. Minimizing the crimes and excusing them was front page news for the New York Times. Telling the damn truth about what was done to Abeer? Telling the world that the ringleader was convicted? Not even worth a paragraph.

The paper should be ashamed of itself. It's far from alone in needing to feel shame. Diane Rehm thinks rape is icky. Here's a transcript of my call today with a friend on the show.

Friend: She thinks rape is a bad subject.

Me: She said that?

Friend: When the story was suggested, she wrinkled her nose.

Me: She wrinkled her nose?

Friend: Yes.

Me: You're saying she wrinkled her nose? Excuse me, but considering the condition of her skin, how ever could you tell?

Diane didn't just nix it as a topic to put on the agenda for the second hour, she nixed the e-mails that came in before and during the show. A huge number of e-mails that came in. We'll include some of those at Third this weekend (passed on via my friend). Not only did she exclude the e-mails but she insisted, as the e-mails poured in on this topic, that no female callers be put through on air because she "just knew" that someone would try to sneak on to bring up Abeer. Which is why you had Diane speaking to several callers in the second hour but none were women. It's also why Diane didn't do one of her "___ in ___ e-mails . . ." Diane censored Abeer from the program. She went so far as to ban female callers from the second hour because she just knew a mole would get through, a woman who would trick the screener, get on the air, and say, "Diane, you ignorant hypocrite, how the hell dare you refuse to cover the federal conviction yesterday."

Well now we know how far someone will go to avoid covering the news. So the only real question is why Diane doesn't go ahead and retire if she's not interested in discussing -- during the international hour of her program -- an international incident. I didn't listen. I'm told, however, she did make time for swine flu. How very. What a proud way for a woman with one foot and four toes in the grave to prepare to go out.

Golly Diane, do you feel everyone should be like you? If raped or molested, they should never name their attacker? Is that what's going on? If so, it's pretty damn pathetic because you're seventy-three in September and you should have come to terms with being molested as a child long, long ago. If you can't, you don't need to be doing a public affairs show because while you grew up in the Dark Ages when sexual asaults weren't spoken of, today we name names, today we talk about the crimes. If it's too much for you, you really need to retire.

And this is why feminists should have been all over this story. Credit to
Jill at Feministe and to Heart at Women's Space who drew attention to Abeer this week. But women needed to be on this story because we saw it during the Article 32. Abeer was ignored throughout the US coverage. International coverage would mention her. US coverage of the Article 32 hearing? No. Only by getting out in front of this, only by demanding that the press cover this, was it going to happen.

They have made it very clear that 14-year-old girl doesn't matter. Maybe it's because she was Iraqi? Maybe it was because she was Muslim? Maybe those two things added into it but what's really going on is what always happens which is stories that have to do with women's lives get ignored. Hillary Clinton, during her run for the Democratic presidential nomination, proposes a major move on combatting breast cancer and it's either ignored or reduced to one sentence in a 'report' about how she bowled with Ellen on Ellen's show. That's ridiculous. We see it over and over and we see how these sexual assualts are buried time and again. We knew the record on this or we should have known. And feminist should have been out in front demanding coverage of this.

Mother's Day is Sunday. No feminist who was silent has anything to celebrate. She should hang her head in shame. And that includes the women at Feminist Majority Foundation who are responsible for Feminsit Wire Daily and do not find time to mention it in their 'news briefs' today. At least
Rebeckah (Women's Media Center blog) included it as an item on her news roundup. 35 years after Susan Brownmiller's classic Against Our Will is published and we're still surprised we have to fight to get sexual assault covered in the media? All of those Take Back The Night rallies of the last two decades and we're unprepared to fight to get sexual assualt covered? What a truly sad commentary on the state of feminism today -- or at least the state of feminism at the top. Among the grassroots? There's a lively discussion taking place at Feministe and we'll note this comment by Gillian:

I'm going to look to see if there's a new thread on this but I want to just ask: Am I the only one who thinks if rape weren't among the crimes, the press would have covered this story 24/7? Look at what Valerie has to explain and the dismissal of rape period. I really think if this had been four murders we would have had CBS Evening News and everyone else parked outside the court house. Instead, they pretty much all stuck their heads in the sand.I think when the issue is rape, a lot of our media would rather play dumb.

Actually, Feministe has two lively threads on the topic,
click here for the other one. Let's be clear that the males and 'mixed' gender sites need to be calling out the silence as well but it's especially disappointing to see all the women online who are silent. New Agenda? Just pack it in, you're a disgrace. Today they serve up Nicky Kirstoff as a savior of women. Nicky who bought a sex worker. Do we forget that? Apparently New Agenda is Limited and Remidial Classes on Women's Rights.

Today at the Pentagon, US Gen Ray Odierno, top US commander in Iraq, gave a briefing to the press. At the start, he insisted that this was "not 2006 or 2007." True, in 2006 and 2007, peace activists actually thought US troops would be out of Iraq before the end of the decade. Odierno then insisted, "The government of Iraq has assumed complete responsibility for paying the Sons of Iraq, a clear sign of its resolve to continue the important program. The government has budgeted over $300 million to ensure full payments in -- in calendar year '09." And when will these payments be made because, as multiple news outlets noted earlier this week, they're still not paying all members of Sahwa. Odierno stated of US forces training Iraqi security forces:

I've been very proud of the U.S. units and the fact that they have continued to work with their Iraqi security force partners; that they have not even thought about their concern about continuing to work with their partners; that they understand that these are individuals who make these decisions and that we have to be vigilant about every individual because there are individuals that have still infiltrated some of the Iraqi security forces.

Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) explored Iraqi security forces turning on the Americans who are allegedly training them. The reporters do note Saturday's events but fail to identify Hassan Al Dulaimi as the man who shot dead Jake R. Velloza and Jeremiah P. McCleery. The report mainly focuses (in terms of specifics) on the November 25, 2008 shooting deaths of Anthony Davis and Warren A. Frank by Iraqi soldier Mohammed Saleh Hamadi. From the article:For months, Mr. Hamadi's case has been winding its way through the Iraqi justice system at a pace that frustrates members of the team. Two other soldiers from the battalion have been convicted for their roles in his escape."I guarantee you there's a handful of these in every battalion," Captain Keneally said, adding that if justice was not swift for Mr. Hamadi, others might get ideas.
Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reported, "Iraq's security forces, despite significant improvements, remain hobbled by shortages of men and equipment, by bureaucracy, corruption, political interference and security breaches" and built on interviews and government reports (Iraqi and US) to come to those conclusions.

At the press conference, Odierno insisted that the US was out of Iraqi "cities except for two, Baghdad and Mosul. We are on our way out of Baghdad." Really? From the
April 27th snapshot: "Rod Nordland (New York Times) broke that story in today's paper and noted that Iraq and the US are going to focus on Mosul in talks about US troops remaining in some Iraqi cities. Nordland reveals they will remain in Baghdad (he says 'parts of Baghdad' -- that means they will be in Baghdad and Baghdad is a city) and that Camp Victory ['Camps Victory, Liberty, Striker and Slayer, plus the prison known as Camp Cropper'] and 'Camp Prosperity' will not be closed or turned over to Iraq according to Iraqi Maj Gen Muhammad al-Askari. The SOFA 'requires' that they be closed or turned over but al-Askari says they're making exceptions even though the SOFA 'requires' otherwise. For the mammoth Camp Victory, it is in Baghdad and out of Baghdad, for example, so al-Askari says they consider it out of Baghdad." They're not leaving Baghdad, they've got a waiver. There's a difference. The Bush administration pushed through a treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. Barack, being Bush III, has gone along with it (after grand standing before the general election that he would oppose it and demand Congressional oversight of any agreement between Iraq and the US). Odierno was asked about it and where it might be "renegotiated to permit some elements of the US military to reamin -- air support, for example, and protective services?"

Ray Odierno: Yeah, I would just say I think it's too early for that, I mean, I think that's something that's down the road, that will have to be decided jointly between the United States and the government of Iraq. But I don't think now is the time to assess that.

Iraq's air force will not be prepared (not even in training) at the end of 2011. That was always known. Known when the agreement was forced through. But keep kidding yourself that the SOFA means something. Odierno noted it was "down the road" which is different from "no." He was asked about Facebook and we'll note his most recent post there.
From May 4th:

This week, Iraqi Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 39th Iraqi Army Brigade, completed the first half of an eight-week commando training course run by Romanian Special Forces Soldiers near Basrah, Iraq. Romanian Soldiers guided their Iraqi students through the same course of instruction that Romanian special forces receive, consisting of tactical, physical, and weapons training. After completing the second half of the training, which will consist of complex exercises such as scouting, reconnaissance, check point procedures and patrolling, the Iraqi troops will join their units in patrolling the tri-province region of Dhi Qar, Maysan and Muthanna in southern Iraq. Meanwhile, at Al Asad in western Iraq, American special forces continue to develop Iraqi special operations capabilities, and this past week conducted fast rope insertion training with their Iraqi counterparts.

The DoD has a budget request.
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) explains that Afghanistan war funding request is $4 billion more than Iraq ($65 billion to $61 billion). This as another battalion of Marines ship off for six-months of training before being deployed to Iraq. Howard Greninger (Terre Haute Tribune-Star) reports, "About 30 motorcycles, many driven by military veterans, escorted four buses Thursday containing more than 150 members of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines to Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field." Terre Haute's WTHITV has the story here with text and video. In addition to those marines, Fort Dix is sending 170 US soldiers to Iraq. The Reading Eagle reports, "Members plan a yellow-ribbon ceremony for families at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, on May 16. Another ceremony is planned at Fort Dix in July, Gilmer said." Meanwhile Colorado just sent troops to Iraq. The Denver Post notes, "More than 100 Colorado Air National Guard support troops bound for Iraq, many of them for at least their fourth tour in six years, flew out of Buckley Air Force Base on Wednesday." And Ashley Bergen (Mountain View Telegraph) reports that the "Headquarters and Headquarters Company, a unit subordinate to the 1st Battalion of the New Mexico National Guard's 200th Infantry, will soon deploy for more than a year to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." We're not done. Matthew Hansen (Omaha World-Herald) reported yesterday that the 313th Medical Company of Nebraska's National Guard is re-deploying to Iraq and notes that on the earlier deployment, "Sgt Tricia Jameson of Omaha, died July 14, 2005, when a roadside bomb struck her Humvee as it raced to another roadside attack. Jaemson was the second female soldier from Nebraska to die in Iraq. She was the only member of the 313th Medical Company killed durign the company's first deployment." Still not done. Frenchi Jones (Coastal Courier) reports Charlie Troop, 1st Battalion, 82nd Cavalry, 41st Infantry Brigade deploys to Iraq in July. Done? No. Didi Tang (Springfield News-Leader) reports 150 "Marines from the Weapons Company, 3rd Battallion, 24th Marines" will deploy to Iraq after training in California:On Wednesday morning, loved ones bid farewell to the soldiers, sharing tears, at the U.S. Military Reserve Center at 1110 N. Fremont Ave."The last five minutes were tough," [Maj Shannon] Johnson said.Missouri Highway Patrol troopers then escorted the military buses down Chestnut Expressway, up Kansas Expressway and west on Kearney Street toward the Springfield Branson National Airport.Many family members followed the caravan, hoping to catch one more glimpse of their child or spouse.The traffic was slow, but most motorists were patient.When the buses passed Williams Elementary on West Kearney Street, schoolchildren were out, waving red and blue behind a school fence.For a war Barack's allegedly ended/ending (depending on whom you speak to), a lot of troops are still going to Iraq. Today Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul car bombing which wounded four people (three were police officers).

Ehren Watada was the first officer to publicly resist the Iraq War. Yesterday's
Free Speech Radio News noted the latest on Ehren:

Mark Taylor-Canfield: The Department of Justice has asked the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss their appeal of a lower court ruling which blocked a second court martial trial for 1st Lt Ehren Watada. In June 2006, Lt Watada refused to serve in Iraq on the grounds that the US invasion was both illegal and immoral. His court-martial was declared a mistrial in February 2007. A civilian US federal judge blocked the Army's attempt to hold a second court-martial in October of 2007, ruling that a second trial would qualify as double jeopardy. According to the US Constitution, a person cannot be tried twice on the same charges. Although Lt Watada's period of enlistment was up two years ago, he is still virtually confined to the US army has barred him from communicating with anti-war groups. Despite the Dept of Justice's decision not to appeal the earlier civilian court ruling, the US army is still considering prosecution of Lt Watada on two charges of "behaviour unbecoming an officer" because of an anti-war speech he gave to the Veterans For Peace national conference in Seattle in 2006.

Ami Radil (KUOW -- link has text and audio) adds, "Fort Lewis commanders must now decide how best to resolve them [the two charges]. Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Piek says Watada's old unit is now training for its third deployment to Iraq. Both sides say the mistrial was unfortunate because it prevented a fuller airing of important issues like the grounds for Watada's refusal, and whether service members are entitled to First Amendment protections. When he's released from the Army, Watada hopes to attend law school."

TV notes.
NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on most PBS stations:This week, NOW's David Brancaccio sits down with one of the most prominent figures in world health to discuss the future of the swine flu pandemic. Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist, former chief philanthropist at, and was a central figure in the World Health Organization's successful small pox eradication program.Brilliant sheds light on high-tech tools that are making it easier for scientists to detect global outbreaks, the critical importance of early detection and early response, and how the current pandemic has yet to show its real hand."Anyone who tells you that they know that this is a mild pandemic, and the WHO has overreacted, they don't know. Anyone who tells you that the WHO and CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] have underestimated it, they don't know," Brilliant tells NOW. "We're all going to find out at the same time...we're all in it together."The show also features vital insight from Dr. Nathan Wolfe, a Stanford University epidemiologist who specializes in hunting viruses to their source.Lethal and deadly to female reporters, Washington Week and Gwen line up three suiters this week and toss in a woman for 'contrast.' Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), Charles Babington (AP) and online gossip Eamon Javers (Hedda Hopper Lives!) are joined by token 'chic' Joan Biskupic (USA Today) in PBS continued war on women and Gwen's determination to be "the prettiest girl at the table! I am! I am! Miss Beasley hair and all, I am!" The vanity and sexism begins airing tonight on most PBS stations. Also on PBS (and starts airing tonight on many PBS stations, check local listings), Bonnie Erbe sits down with Ann Lewis, Linda Chavez, Patricia Sosa and Karen Czarnecki to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:America's New Air ForceIncreasingly, the U.S. military is relying on un-manned, often armed aircraft to track and destroy the enemy – sometimes controlled from bases thousands of miles away from the battlefront. Lara Logan reports. Watch Video
The Perfect SpySteve Kroft examines one of the most mysterious cases in the annals of modern espionage: the curious life and death of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian billionaire claimed by both Israelis and Egyptians to be their greatest spy. Watch Video
All In The FamilyBill James doesn't run, hit or catch a baseball but his intense statistical analysis of the game and its players have made him an essential ingredient in a formula that brought two world championships to the Boston Red Sox. Morley Safer reports. Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, May 10, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

evan bright
brett barrouquere
steven d. greenbrett barrouquerekpfa
the kpfa evening newsandrea lewis
amy goodmandemocracy now
ehren watada
mark taylor-canfield
free speech radio news
the washington postellen knickmeyer
the new york timesrobert f. worthcarolyn marshall

rod norland
steven lee myers
campbell robertsonstephen farrellann scott tysonhoward greningerfrenchi jonesmatthew hansenashley bergendidi tangnprthe diane rehm show
60 minutescbs newspbsto the contrarybonnie erbenow on pbs

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Some people need to learn to say goodbye

This is from C.I.'s Tuesday snapshot:

As noted yesterday, Marilyn French has passed away. Last night Elaine called out the nonsense of the obits acting as if The Women's Room was the beginning and end of Marilyn. Elaine rightly noted that it was akin to an obit on Julie Christie focusing non-stop on Darling and ignoring her finest performance thus far (Afterglow). More to the point, it's the equivalent of an obit on Sally Field that can't shut up about Gidget or The Flying Nun. Those were popular hits. They're nothing to be ashamed of. But Field's best work includes Norma Rae, Places Of The Heart and much more. More people saw her play The Flying Nun than anything else. (And more people saw her in Smokey & the Bandit than saw her in Norma Rae.) If that's the only measure for how we judge than, by all means, keep pimping a popular book that may be as 'lasting' as any of Mary McCarthy's novels. French's work didn't end in 1977. It's appalling that standards and taste (or the lack of both) dictate that certain people pimp a page turner as opposed to Marilyn's well researched, analytical writing. Heart (Women's Space) finds a way to note the popular novel and yet not to reduce Marilyn to Judith Krantz. Heart observes, "Her work has been central to my own feminism and is, in my opinion, brilliant. She was one of only a very few feminists who really had a grasp of the broad picture; she consistently wrote of women's liberation as a struggle against all forms of coercion and abusive power, all dominance hierarchies, and as central and key to the liberation, ultimately, of all human beings, animals, the earth itself."

I wanted to note that because I do think C.I.'s comparison is even stronger than my own. The refusal of some to explore French's non-ficton work (work that resulted in much praise) is a lot like someone writing an obit on Sally Field and focusing on Gidget or The Flying Nun.

They are popular. They had the most viewers. (Back in the old days, you didn't have as many choices of what to watch and TV commanded huge audiences. Shows considered bombs in the fifties and sixties often had more people watching than some of today's top 20 rated shows.)

But is popularity how we remember an artist? Or do we applaud Sally for Norma Rae and other incredible performances?

By the same token, are we going to be so taken with a page-turner that we ignore the great works of Marilyn French?

As usual when there was an effort to note academic, well researched writing or to ignore it, the ignore order came from Gloria Steinem.

Someone needs to Gloria she's not a leader anymore. She betrayed women in 2008. Even were she a leader, it's not her business. She needs to but the hell out.

I used to wonder when Gloria would die? In a "We lose so many great people, we need her" kind of way. Now I just wonder when she will die because, until she does, she is going to screw up feminism. I'm tired of her. I'm tired of her babbles. I'm tired of her quackery passed off as fact, fad passed off as reality (see Revolution From Within for an example of fad passed off as reality).
I'm tired of defending her mainly.

It's been too many years of defending her. Too many problems. Oh, look, there's Gloria throwing ego with 60 Minutes but we all have to call and use our contacts to make sure it doesn't air. How about Gloria just not tell a reporting crew what they can and cannot film?

She's supposed to have been a good journalist once upon a time. If she was, she should damn well know that "off the record" is agreed to by both parties before anything starts. You can't, without an agreement before hand, suddenly declare something "off the record."

But we all had to pretend like it made sense of Gloria to demand that 60 Minutes stop filming and we all had to pretend like it was perfectly normal to harass friends at CBS with pleas to please not air the footage of explosive Gloria.

I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of all her nonsense and I'm tired of her eating up all the oxygen in the room.

It was one thing when she was there for women but (and C.I. and I differ somewhat on this -- however, Gloria's decision to reduce Marilyn to a writer of pulp fiction will pull C.I. closer to my side) after 2008 she really can't make that claim anymore.

She's not about women.

She's a Socialist who wants to pose as a Democrat and wants to be loved by men.

She whored it out for the Democrats over and over. 1976? It was Gloria refusing to let other women speak. It was Gloria selling out women and telling us that we had no right to make demands that we be an equal part of the delegates at the DNC conventions.

It was Gloria LYING to us.

I'm just not in the mood for her anymore.

When I think of how much time has been wasted on that woman . . .

We've had to defend her from charges that she was CIA (she accepted CIA money as a college student and did so knowingly; as a result, there have been non-stop and false rumors ever since that she was a CIA plant). We've had to defend her from one attack after another.

Most of that wasn't her fault.

But when she wants to trash other women to build up a man?

Then it's not worth my time to defend her.

It's not worth my energy.

Most importantly, all the time and energy I've expended defending her in the past turns out to have been a waste of time.

We had to defend her for dating Mort. We've had to defend for everyone. She's always had bad choices in men. (CIA Stanley, for example.)

It's just not worth it. Not when she attacks other women and does so with sexist language.

To have been a feminist for the last decades in the US has been to be forced to defend Gloria. I'm not doing it anymore.

I honestly hope she dies soon because it'll be the most liberating moment. Feminism will finally be free of her.

I'm not wishing for a painful death. But she's over 70 now. Over forty of those years have been about her sucking the oxygen out of the room and dragging the movement down.

It really is time for her to step off the stage.

The fact that she hasn't goes to how dead feminism is.

At 70, she should be someone on the edges, not treated as the leading thinker and mover. She really refused to surrender the spotlight and, in that regard, she ended up worse than Betty Friedan (and who would have thought that was possible?).

The way I see her, she's like a relative on life support that you've spent too long caring for and visiting and you think, "Just let her die and let us all have some peace."

I honestly thought that following the election, she would issue an apology for her actions. She never did.

As a result, she's dead to me. She can call on the phone and I won't donate a penny. I won't even take the call. I have no interest in ever speaking to her again or ever seeing her again.

Her desire to turn Marilyn French into who she wanted Marilyn to be (and not who Marilyn actually was) turned out to be Gloria having another tantrum and getting her way. It's gotten real old.

Future waves of feminism, a word of advice, Beware the woman who wants to be the 'princess' of the movement.

Steven D. Green

That is Steven D. Green and if you don't know about his War Crimes Trial then you are probably someone counting on Gloria Steinem to tell you what's important.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Ehren Watada gets some legal news (and people rush to figure out what it means), closing statements are made in the War Crimes trial, Blackwater did what?, and more.

Starting with big news involving the first officer to publicly resist the Iraq War. The
Seattle Times reports Lt Ehren Watada will not be subjected to double-jeopardy. Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported November 9, 2007: "A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday barred a second court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada while the Army officer pursues his claim that it would violate his constitutional rights. It was a legal victory for Watada, the first Army officer to face prison for refusing to deploy to Iraq." That was in November of 2007. (Not October of last year -- I have no idea where people are getting their false information.) The military has decided not to appeal that 2007 decision. However, US District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled on three of the five counts against Ehren so the Seattle Times cautions, "It is unclear if the Army plans to pursue those [two] charges." Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) cites Ehren's civilian attorneys stating that the "Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today granted the Army's motion to dismiss the case." And he cites the military stating that Ehren may yet be court-martialed. Vanessa Ho (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) notes that the military is unclear what they'll do next and that James Lobsenz (one of Ehren's two civilian attorneys, the other is Kenneth Kagan) states, "We are cautiously optimistic that perhaps we've had enough litigation." In June 2006, Ehren Watada went public with his refusal to serve in the Iraq War because it was an illegal war and, as an officer, he would be responsible not only for himself but for those serving under him. In August 2006, an Article 32 hearing was held and, weeks and weeks later, the finding was released: the military would proceed with a court-martial. That court-martial took place in February of 2006. On Monday, February 5, 2007, Watada's court-martial began. It continued on Tuesday when the prosecution argued their case. Wednesday, Watada was to take the stand in his semi-defense. Semi-defense? Despite the gravity of the charges, despite the maximum number of years in prison he was facing if convicted, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) refused to let Watada explain why he would not deploy. Watada was boxed in to a yes-or-no-I-did-it type of defense which is no defense at all. Judge Toilet also refused to allow the defense to call various witnesses. Wednesday morning, Judge Toilet was suddenly concerned with the stipulation -- the same stipulation he was involved one, the same one he signed off on, the same one both the defense and the prosecution agreed to, the same stipulation Judge Toilet had explained to the military jury on Monday. Suddenly, the stipulation was a problem. Toilet tried to argue Ehren didn't understand the stipulation. Ehren understood it and was doing what he announced he would be doing the week prior to Toilet. Did Toilet not understand the stipulation?

He certainly didn't understand double-jeopardy which had already attached to the case when, sensing the prosecution was losing, Judge Toilet declared a mistrial over defense objection. Judge Settle found the double-jeopardy argument was correct and ruled accordingly in the fall of 2007. Turning to other legal issues, Steven D. Green's War Crimes trial.
March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi's parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in their Iraqi home while Abeer was gang-raped in another room. Following the gang-rape, Abeer was murdered. Green is said to be the murderer of all four, a gang-rapist and the ring leader who planned the entire thing. Today the jury heard closing arguments. Evan Bright reports, "Scott Wendelsdorf just completed the Defense closing statement. 'Madness? Madness. Madness is the only way any of this could have happend'." Brett Barrouquer (AP) quotes US prosecutor Marisa Ford stating that those who took part in the attack had "forfeited their right to call themselves American soldiers". In other ways she echoed the closing arguments of US Army Capt Alex Pickands during the August 2006 Article 32 hearing held in Iraq. Pickands argued:

Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl. . . . They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."

Today in court, Marisa Ford declared, "This was a planned, premeditated crime which was carried out in cold blood."
Evan Bright and Brett Barrouquer have covered every day of the trial. Jill at Feministe notes the trial today. And has her facts right. Others aren't so lucky.

Gail McGowan Mellor was dispatched by The Huffington Post to cover the trial and arrived yesterday. Possibly this late arrival is why she has problems in this report? "Sex was incidental; they wanted to hurt Iraqis." Rape is not "sex" and, if that was McGowan Mellor's point, we'd be agreeing with her. That's not her point her point is that Abeer's family was hit because "the five U.S. soldiers reasoned that the family would be easy to kill and that nothing more substantial than her parents stood between them." It was about, Gail tells, hatred of Iraqis.

I'm really amazed at the late to the party check-ins who didn't even bother to do any damn research. Abeer was the target. I'm sorry Gail didn't have time to study nearly three years worth of press. Steven D. Green inappropriately touched Abeer in public -- at that military checkpoint -- and freaked her out. His constant staring had already unnevered her. After he started touching this 14-year-old girl, her parents decided to get her out of the house. Had they struck the next night, the US soldiers wouldn't have found her because she was going to live somewhere else. Do not pretend that Abeer was not the focus. Green was fixated upon her. And do not pretend that it was because of some 'easy kill' element you've just introduced into the narrative. Get a damn grip.

Evan Bright reporting on Day Four of the trial: "According to Barker, 'Cortez took a little convincing to get him to come along. He said if we were gonna have sex with the girl, he wanted to go first'." Gail McGowan Mellor wasn't present for day four and apparently didn't bother to read up on it. Cortez took a little convincing? For what? For an 'easy kill'? No, to take part in the gang-rape that Barker terms "sex." Bright reported on Friday's testimonies that Paul Cortez testified they "knew what was goin' on, we knew were were goin' down to that house to have sex with that girl, and Barker and Green seemed to know where they were going to get there."

Gail McGown Mellor is showing up late and imposing a narrative. This isn't reporting. And it needs to be called out. She's imposing her values and desires on the story while ignoring the facts. Now she can have an opinion and she can make her entire article her opinion but she better know the facts. She can argue with the facts, she can disagree with them, but she better know them. There is no indication that she knows anything. She appears to think she's 'cute' with her 'local color' piece she's turned in playing, as Bob Somerby might say, the readers for rubes.

"Four of Green's co-conpirators have been convicted by military tribunal and put away" insists Gail despite the fact that it's incorrect. She doesn't even know the trial history. She doesn't even know that, for example, Paul Cortez confessed. He wasn't convicted, he confessed. The ignorance on display is astounding until you grasp that Gail jetted in with a narrative firmly in place and was going to work it like crazy. (If you can't pick up on it, Gail's argument -- which will no doubt be even more clear in later posts from her -- is WAR CORRUPTS ALL.) Especially hilarious is where she blames the local press:

There were only twelve folks viewing the trial yesterday, five of us from the media. It's arguably not a lack of public intelligence and curiosity; it's a failure of local journalism. The Paducah Sun, which is blocks from the federal courthouse, is not supplying daily or in-depth coverage, and local broadcast news does not supply enough information on the complex case to fill a tweat. The report of one anchor was simply, "There were two witnesses today." There sure were; that was the day that two of Green's co-conspirators testified for the prosecution.

Gail was viewing it for the first day, her first day in the area, so how she knows what an anchor said last week is something she might wish to clarify. But it's not the job of the local press to cover this trial. It's not a local trial. It's an international trial. The events took place not in some city in Kentucky, they took place in Iraq. The problem isn't local news which is struggling. The problem is the outlets like the New York Times and others who could send a slew of reporters to Alaska not all that long ago but can't send one reporter to Kentucky. Wonder over that. There should be more local coverage but I've spoken to people at one local paper and at one local station and they said the issues included no amplification. If there reports were getting picked up by the networks or by other papers, they would be covering it. But they showed up for day one and saw little interest from the press. With minimal interest locally (from residents) and no amplification, it wasn't worth their resources to cover it.

Why is there minimal interest among local residents? For one thing, the case should have been infamous but never has been. Find the network report on it. Not just from Green's trial, find the network report on any of the trials. There's no reason the citizens of Paducah should be any more familiar with the case than the rest of the country. That's a point Gail ignores either out of ignorance or intentionally. What is the point of her anonymous quotes from locals? She is aware that Steven D. Green didn't grow up in or live in Paducah, isn't she? Whether she is or not, she's off spinning her yarn and facts be damned because she's smelling Midnight In The Garden of Good & Evil. Heaven save us all from bad feature writers who think they're bringing us the news.

It's really a shame because there are details in McGown Mellor's feature article that, if they are true, could make for a very strong report. But she's made it so abundantly clear that facts matter so very little that who can trust anything she provides? "Only after three years of legal maneuvering however was Green brought to trial." What? Does she have any clue what she's reporting on?
Green wasn't even arrested until June 30, 2006. Three years have yet to elapse. And 'legal'? From April 3, 2008: "As a result of the fact that he had been discharged, he was set to face a civilian court and that trial was finally due to start this coming Monday; however, AP reports the trial has been delayed "by three weeks to accomodate a quilt show". No, that is not a joke." It wasn't just "legal" delaying the trial.

Meanwhile at least 17 are dead from car bombings in Baghdad today.
Robert H. Reid (AP) notes 15 of them died at a market and quotes eye witness Raad Hussein stating, "The security personnel are not searching the farmers who bring their vegetables to the market. They search only private cars." Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) notes at least forty were wounded in the market bombing and quotes an eye witness stating, "The Americans are responsible for what is happening. It is because of the occupation that every day we have killings and wounded people." Ernesto Londono and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) report the rise in violence has led to a new move by the US military: "In recent days, top American military officials issued an order barring commanders and spokesmen from using the oft-repeated phrase 'security continues to improve,' because they deemed it 'disingenuous' in light of the recent attacks, according to an American official who spoke on condition of anonymity." In other reported violence?


Sahar Issa and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report a Baghdad roadside bombing which left eight people injured, 4 Mosul roadside bombings which claimed 2 life and left five people injured. Reuters notes a truck bombing "near the Baiji oil refinery" which left three people injured.

Saturday the
US military announced: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -- Two Multi-National Division -- North Soldiers were killed and three wounded during a small arms fire attack at a combat outpost south of Mosul early this evening. According to initial reports, an individual dressed in an Iraqi Army uniform fired on the Coalition forces and was killed in the incident. The incident is currently under investigation. The names of the deceased and wounded are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." Alsumaria identifies the Iraqi soldier as Hassan Al Dulaimi and notes that Abdul Qader Al Ubaidi (Defense Minister) has launched an investigation. AFMAO/PA noted the two US soldiers killed:

Name: Jake R. Velloza Hometown: Inverness, Calif. Rank: Specialist Service: U.S. Army Location of death: Operation Iraqi Freedom Name: Jeremiah P. McCleery Hometown: Portola, Calif. Rank: Specialist Service: U.S. Army Location of death: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Brent Ainsworth (Contra Costa Times) reported, "Jake Velloza was a football and baseball standout at Tomales High, where Leon Feliciano served as his football coach" and quotes Feliciano stating, "I think he knew from the first day he got into high school that he was going into the militiary. We talked about college, but he said, 'No, Coach, I want to be a Ranger doing special ops.' He was set on his goals. He was one of those young men who knew what he wanted to do and did it. Service to his country is what appealed to him." Michael Taylor (San Francisco Chronicle) spoke to his grandfather, Richard Velloza, who explained of receiving the awful news, "It was terrible all day long. Not too good. Jake was an only son. That's what makes it kind of rough." Steve Timko (Reno Gazette-Journal) speaks with Josh Rogers who was a friend of Jeremiah P. McCleery's and graduated with him in 2004 from Portola High School who says, "He was a very loyal friend. If you broke down in Reno or far away, he'd come pick you up. He always had your back." The Reno Gazette Journal also notes this statement from Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, "I want to extend the condolences of a grateful State and a grateful Nation to the family and friends of Specialist Jeremiah McCleery. His sacrifice for freedom will never be forgotten." Katharine Q. Seelye (New York Times) notes the two men's arrival at Dover Air Force Base Monday and observes of the policy change on photographing coffins, "The first arrival of cases after the media ban was lifte on April 5 drew 35 journalists; since then, the number has dwindled, sometimes to only a single photographer for The Associated Press."

Will anything come from the investigation? Not if their work is anything like the Integrity Commission's.
Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports today on the commission and the findings include:

The Integrity Commission recevied 5,031 complaints in 2008. 3,027 of the complaints went to court. Of that, there were 97 convictions.

If my math is correct that's a 3% conviction rate (3.204%). An underwhelming conviction rate. Speaking of a lack of convictions,
September 16, 2007 Blackwater slaughtered Iraqis in Baghdad. At least 17 Iraqis were killed. Bill Sizemore (Virginia-Pilot) reports today that, following the slaughter, "Blackwater contractors allegedly transferred a number of machine guns to another contractor who is now charged with trying to smuggle them out of Iraq."

Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") are being targeted by Nouri al-Maliki. In the latest development,
Ahmed Rasheed and Tim Cocks (Reuters) report that a number of them "are deserting their posts because of delays in pay and a spate of arrests". One of the recent arrests was of Nulla Naem Al Jibouri whom Alsumaria reports al-Maliki states will be released on Saturday.

Turning to p.r.,
Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report) weighs in on the 'Save Darfur' War Hawks and their machinary:

African tragedies, observed Ugandan scholar and Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani in a
March 20 presentation at Howard University, usually occur in the dead of night, outside the sight, concern or hearing of the Western public. The exception to this, he noted, has been Darfur. No armchair observer, Mamdani has traveled and worked extensively in Darfur as a consultant to the African Union in its attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict there.
Mamdani called Save Darfur "the most successful piece of single issue organizing since the Vietnam era antiwar movement, really more successful than the antiwar movement." But Save Darfur, with slogans like "boots on the ground," "out of Iraq, into Darfur" and persistent demands for the creation of "no fly zones" is far from being an antiwar movement.
As BAR pointed in a 2007 article, T
en Reasons Why "Save Darfur" is a PR Scam to Justify the Next US Oil and Resource Wars in Africa, Save Darfur is no grassroots movement either.
[. . .]
Mamdani explained the unique appeal of the Save Darfur Movement to US audiences by noting that unlike US responsibility for the one million Iraqi dead over the last six years, the Save Darfur Movement does not demand that we understand Darfur's history, ethnography, or the complexities of the current conflict there, or acknowledge any culpability of our own. Unlike the killings in Iraq, Save Darfur does not demand that Americans respond as citizens, with a need to account for responsibilities and actions, but merely as human beings with a need to feel powerful and justified. Save Darfur, Mamdani argued, has de-historicized and de-politicized the conflict for its American audience, presenting them with a simple morality play in which they can be the heroes.
Everybody wants to be a hero. Nobody wants to be a citizen.
And what could be more heroically self-justifying and self-affirming than intervening on the side of the angels in the picture of straight-up racial conflict presented to us by the Save Darfur Movement? The trouble is, it's an utterly false picture. The historic and present uses and definitions of race in America are not nearly the same as those in Africa. Most of Darfur's janjaweed who committed atrocities against civilians in Darfur are as black as those they murdered, and just as indigenous. The prosecutors at the International Criminal Court who recently indicted the Sudanese president are accountable only to the wealthy nations of the UN Security Council, not to anybody on the African continent. And the casualty figures thrown out by Save Darfur are wildly inflated.

From 'Save Darfur' to more dumbness.
Ask J-Som of Liberal Rapture who stumbles across this piece by Chris Hedges (link goes to Information Clearing House) and feels the need to add, "What does gall me about Hedges' work now is that he is saying what we, the dukes and duchesses of minor blogland, have been saying for well over a year. It grates on my nerves and ego to have a bigger player come in very late in the game and announce things like: [. . .]" And where there is dumb there is Carolyn/Caro of MakeThemAccountable (as Rebecca pointed out already this week). In the comments, Carolyn huffs to J-Som, "We won't forget we heard you speak the truth of Obama first. Some of us were immune to the hopium." If you hear J-Som before Chris Hedges, it's only an indication of how little you read.

Carolyn is this century's Tina Yothers who shows up to deliver her single line ("Yeah!") over and over whenever stupidity is expressed. J-Som and Carolyn, meet the real world: Chris Hedges has been calling out Barack all along. Your stupidity makes everything you write suspect. How could you not know that Chris Hedges called Barack out?

How could you not know that Chris Hedges was ridiculed by Tom Hayden for refusing to hop on the Barack bandwagon, ridiculed and mocked? How could you not know that, unlike all the other chicken s**t (Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Eddie Vedder, Janeane Garofalo, Ani DiFranco, Patti Smith, the list is endless) who once stood with Ralph Nader only to run like crazy when the Blame-Ralph movement started, Chris continued to stand with Ralph. Chris endorsed Ralph in the 2008 presidential race.

But J-Som and Carolyn aren't concerned with facts. They just want to write whatever they want. It's stupid and it makes them both come off as either grossly ignorant or total liars. Carolyn especially has a problem -- a repeat problem. There's no harm in highlighting Chris Hedges' article and stating, "I don't know where he stood in 2008 . . ." There is harm in assigning to Chris a position he didn't hold. Chris has spoken out about Obama through Obama's race for the Democratic nomination, throughout the general election and after Barack was elected. You sort of expect J-Som and Carolyn to next stumble across an article by John Pilger and to type up, "Oh, now, he speaks out!" (Pilger has spoken out against the lies of Barack for some time.) I do know Chris Hedges, as disclosed before. And he's been held accountable here in the past. I made the decision that I would not critique him in a negative manner when I found out he was going to endorse Ralph because I knew he was already being slammed by the Cult of St. Barack. The slamming continued beyond the election. And we don't need the likes of J-Soms and Carolyn rewriting history out of ignorance or malice.

ehren watadahal bernton
gregg k. kakesako
evan brightbrett barrouquere
the washington posternesto londonoaziz alwanmark kukis
jomana karadsheh
the new york timessam dagherkatharine q. seeylemichael taylorthe san francisco chronicle
brent ainsworthmark kukissteve timko
bruce dixon
chris hedges

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dennis Loo, Doug Henwood

"Shut Down Guantanamo! D.C. Action, April 30" (Dennis Loo, World Can't Wait):
They tell us:
We will extract confessions from you.
We know that you know what we want.
We will tell you what we know about you and your co-conspirators and what we know that you know.
We will tell you again and again and again and again until you tell us what we have told you so that we may know the truth.
We will pour jugs of water onto your face till you choke and struggle against your binds, to purify you.
We will tell you that if you don’t talk that you will surely die.
We will put you in coffin-sized boxes for hours.
We will throw you against the walls. Repeatedly.
We will strip you naked and sic dogs upon you.
We will deny you sleep for days upon days.
We will tell you that we will not ever stop until you have made your peace with us and confess freely and fully.
We will slap you and beat you until you tell us what we want.
We are, you must know, a merciful people, a kind people, a just, and a moral people.

Dennis Loo remains, for me, the best writer on torture today and I really enjoyed the piece above because he broke to do these single sentence statements that whizz by like flash cards and, like flash cards, leave an impression. He's written many article the typical way and I am sure he's reached many people that way (I know he's reached me); however, it is good to shake things up and I think his approach above was an interesting change.

I wish I could be like Loo and go into the torture but it just disgusts me. It just turns my stomach and I'm not old enough to remember WWII but I am old enough to remember some of the WWII shows (that aired long after the war ended) which were all about how wonderful the US was for not torturting.

What is Petraeus Heroes going to look like on TV in 20 years? O-Troop? How are those shows going to play out?

"Zionist Lobby Targets Another Tenured Professor" (Doug Henwood, Information Clearing House):
May 05, 2009 "Counterpunch" -- Doug Henwood: We're now joined by William Robinson, who is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, someone I met about six or seven years ago at a conference and, although I've disagreed with him on some issues, I though he's a serious and thoughtful guy. I was very distressed to learn, reading Insider Higher Ed, the website, today that he's being persecuted by the Zionist lobby for an e-mail that he sent around to some of his students. Welcome William Robinson, tell us the story of what you sent and what's been happening.
William Robinson: Yes, good afternoon to everyone. I included some material which was highly critical of the Israeli invasion of Gaza as part of the reading material for a course on globalization and global affairs, and this was in January. And I am now facing charges, here at the university, of anti-semitism and violating the faculty code of conduct because two students in the course - there were eighty students - these two submitted a formal letter of complaint that they found offensive the material condemning the invasion of Gaza. The students immediately withdrew from the course, I don't even know them personally. And what is particularly egregious about this case is not that the students submitted a complaint - any student is allowed to do that - but rather that the university took the complaint seriously and is actually prosecuting me...
DH: You have tenure right?
WR: Yes, I am tenured, I am a full time professor...
DH: So in theory you're protected against persecution for your beliefs.
WR: No, in theory, I have total, I and even if I don't have tenure, have academic freedom, and this is in total violation of my academic freedom and of all of the principles of academic freedom, and of the university's own charter on academic freedom, and the American Association of University Professors principles and procedures on academic freedom, so there is absolutely no basis for any of this. What's going on, and I want to explain, behind the scenes we have been able to find out - students on campus and faculty have formed a Committee to Defend Academic Freedom which is taking up this issue, and by the way, there is a blog that they put up with all of this information, which at some point I would like to give your listeners - but we have found out that the Anti-Defamation League, which, as you know, and your listeners probably know, is an organization which, at one time, did very good and very important work in denouncing anti-Semitism, but since then has become a, basically, a mouthpiece for the Israeli government, a defender of the policies and practices of the Israeli state, and goes after and attacks anyone that criticizes those policies. So these students did not even accuse me of doing anything which we would consider anti-Semitism - discrimination against Jews, against the Jewish religion and so forth - they said openly and outright that the professor introduces material which criticized the state of Israel and that equals anti-semitism.
DH: Now, I think some people found offensive that you had likened Israeli behavior to the Nazis. Is that an issue?
WR: Well I didn't do that. What I did was I forwarded several items from the world media, from the internet media. One item was an article written by a Jewish journalist in a Jewish newspaper here in the United States, and it was criticizing the invasion of Gaza...

C.I. told me about this interview and I can't remember if it aired this weekend or last but here are two links if you'd like to listen to it:

Behind the News with Doug Henwood - May 2, 2009 at 10:00am
Behind the News with Doug Henwood - April 18, 2009 at 10:00am

It should be one of those two. My guess would be the May 2nd one.

Regardless, you'll have an interesting hour to listen to. In one of them (maybe the same one), there's an interesting conversation about labor. In terms of the bias within the unions against other members and the need to overcome it. There's also some comments on how Wal-Mart workers sometimes do not grasp that labor is not an individual problem that each person should pursue addressing on their own.

I want to note Cedric's "Naomi Wolf wins Dumbest on the Face of the Planet" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BACKLASH NAOMI WOLF!" because it is funny but it's true. Naomi Wolf finds a new way to disgrace herself every day and her latest is to pimp "cocooning." Michelle's a 'feminist' because she's cocooning. Naomi obviously never read Backlash. Imagine that, airhead Naomi forgetting to crack a book. She's praising Michelle for leaving a hospital job and becoming a 'fashion plate' and not working.

It's not feminism. Naomi Wolf is an embarrassment and someone needs to call her out. At this point if the dreaded non-feminist from the 90s attacked Naomi, I might cheer her on.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the defense rest in Steven D. Green's War Crimes trial, the UNHCR does NOT recommend Iraqi refugees return to Iraq, Sahwa remains under attack, and more.

Starting with the War Crimes trial.
March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi's parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in their Iraqi home while Abeer was gang-raped in another room. Following the gang-rape, Abeer was murdered. These were War Crimes committed by US soldiers and four have already faced a court and been sentenced. Steven D. Green's trial is ongoing. Friday night, Heart (Women's Space) posted some of her 2006 coverage of the War Crimes and among the comments, we'll note this by Khazeema:

Nobody how much we talk about this case, my littlesister Abeer wont come back. The american troops raped, tortured and killed her, and they could do it just because they were AMERICANS. Bu believe me.. Steven D Green and his buddies who raped and killed Abeer Hamza Qassim Al-Janabi they will get their punishment.. If they wont in this life, they will defenatly in the next life…. Some day they will die either, and then they will realise what they have done… and what they did is beyond doubt something which wont be forgive..
And to my dear sister Abeer Qassim Hamza Al-Janabi.. You will always be in my heart, I have wept for you scince your death, but at least - ya habibti - Allah is big, and he will take revenge for you.. Inshallah you are a shaheed, and your murders will suffer in hell for what they did to you.. WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU SISTER… Lailaha il Allah..

Last week, Steven D. Green's trial began in a Kentucky federal court. Of the first day,
Australia's ABC reported: "The girl's brother then testified about how he came home from school to find his house on fire and his family dead. Mohammed al-Janabi, now 15, stood outside crying with his younger brother but did not go in until after the bodies were removed. 'I saw blood on walls,' he said through an interpreter, 'I saw flesh and my father's brain was scattered there'." Yesterday the prosecution rested. Evan Bright reported that Noah Galloway was the last witness for the prosecution which rested their case before noon. At 1:30, the defense began presenting its side and Lt Col Karen Marrs took the stand to offer testimony as the psychiatric nurse practioner familiar with Green. She described him as "On edge and angry." Bright notes, "The defense MAY have one witness tomorrow before resting and moving on to closing statements. Expect a guilty/not guilty verdict by Wednesday, before moving to opening statements." Today the defense rested. Brett Barrouquere (AP) reports that a deposition of James Gregory was shown to the jury for an hour because Gregory couldn't show up at the court due to . . . getting married. How that played to the jury is anyone's guess but when the defendant is potentially facing the death penalty and someone chooses to blow off testifying in person, that does send a message. Christopher Barnes actually showed up and took the witness stand. Barnes made comments about "they" and "them" and how awful they were. US Attorney Marisa J. Ford cut through that nonsense by asking, "You didn't rape any 14-year-old girls? You didn't kill any Iraqi civilians, did you?" (No and no.) Justin Watt testified and his remarks should receive attention and examination. (We'll see if they do.) Tomorrow the jury hears closing arguments.

Meanwhile, Spencer Ackerman (Washington Independent), still a hack and reality challenged, laps up the statement from Nouri al-Maliki's flack about 'no extensions' for US troops to remain in Iraqi cities past June 30th deadline, he forgets/doesn't know (idiot) that the extension already took place in Baghdad. Poor tiny hack. From the
April 27th snapshot: "Rod Nordland (New York Times) broke that story in today's paper and noted that Iraq and the US are going to focus on Mosul in talks about US troops remaining in some Iraqi cities. Nordland reveals they will remain in Baghdad (he says 'parts of Baghdad' -- that means they will be in Baghdad and Baghdad is a city) and that Camp Victory ['Camps Victory, Liberty, Striker and Slayer, plus the prison known as Camp Cropper'] and 'Camp Prosperity' will not be closed or turned over to Iraq according to Iraqi Maj Gen Muhammad al-Askari. The SOFA 'requires' that they be closed or turned over but al-Askari says they're making exceptions even though the SOFA 'requires' otherwise. For the mammoth Camp Victory, it is in Baghdad and out of Baghdad, for example, so al-Askari says they consider it out of Baghdad." There's your reality Spensy, accept it or plan to grab an adjoining padded room with Patrick Cockburn. Fortunately there's so much stupidity going around, Spensy may be able to sneak by.

Take the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which made a stupid move that they should have known would be immediately misunderstood. Let's start with the misunderstanding.
Mark Leon Goldberg (UN Dispatch) goes for the gold in the Stupidity Olympics as he pants, "I think you can file this one under 'good news' in the sense that the UNCHR believes the situation in certain Iraqi regions is stable enough for the return of refugees." No, that's not what it was stating. The UNHCR was stupid enough with what they said but Goldberg had to go even further. And, to really go for the gold, he then quoted "the Washington Post" -- or thought he did. It was Reuters, Goldberg. Your clue was the byline "By Laura MacInnis[,] Reuters." It wasn't the Post. When someone can't even grasp what publication they're reading, maybe it's not at all surprising that they can't grasp the meaning of the words they read? Mark Leon Goldberg is a stupid, stupid man.

The UNHCR did not recommend the return of external refugees to Iraq. That would be more idiotic than Mark Leon Goldberg. Violence is again on the rise in Iraq. The
UNHCR made a stupid decision to say that external refugees "from Al-Anbar, ecompassing much of the country's western territory, and the south should be assessed on individual merit." What does that mean? It's the strongest the UNHCR was allowed to issue at the risk of two other UN agencies publicly calling UNHCR and it's 'tight' relationship' with Nouri al-Maliki out. (Today's statement has been argued about within the UN for over two weeks.) The statement specifically states, "The agency stressed that improvement in the situation in Iraq is not yet sufficient enough to promote or encourage massive returns and it recommended that refugees already benefiting from international protection should retain their status." How much clearer does it have to be for Mark Leon Goldberg? Someone needs to explain to him that his stupidity is deadly. You DO NOT tell refugees to return when it's not safe to do so. And if the UN doesn't say it's safe to return (and they didn't say it was safe to return), you do not say that they did.

The UNHCR statement never should have been issued but Nouri and his government have been pressuring and, let's all be honest, the United Nations has never had any independent standing in Iraq. NEVER. That's why their idiotic doctor didn't just take part in the Baghdad's government's press conference last fall but actively blamed Iraqi women for the yearly cholera outbreak.

They are not encouraging any groups to return. They are encouraging that some be judged on appeals by 'individual merit' and not the blanket category of refugees. Apparently the UNHCR suffers from some delusion that the blanket category was somehow assisting Iraqis in garnering asylum. Not in the US, not in the European Union, not in Australia. Those countries have done as little as possible. But even with this cateogry of people, the UNHCR stresses that there is a split and that those who are "religious and ethnic minorities; Iraqis perceived as opposing armed groups or political factions; UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers; human rights activists; and homosexuals" should be given "favourable consideration" regardless of whether or nto they are fron Anbar. And if you didn't grasp just how weak the UNHCR is, note that the "at risk" grouping included UN workers.

We'll stay with those categories for a bit. "Abu Muslim likens his work to that of a surgeon, cutting out diseased parts of a body to save it from cancer." What? That's from
Nizar Latif (The National) reporting on the excutioner of gays and lesbians in Iraq. The executionor explains, "We see this [homosexuality] as a serious illness in the community that has been spreading rapidly among the yough after it was brought in from the outside by American soldiers. These are not the habits of Iraq or our community and we must eliminate them." Doesn't he sound like some crazed Nazi inventing excuses for slaughtering the Jews? Yes, he does. And like the Nazis, he uses an ahistorical 'background' because actual history doesn't back him up. Real history does not allow him to persecute and murder. So he lies and goes along with his government's lies. He brags to Latif about the "ermission from key community leaders" he has stating, "We had approval from the main Iraqi tribes here to liquidate those [men] copying the ways of women. Our aim is not to destabilize the security situation. Our aim is to help stabilise society." Again, this is the Nazis. (And, yes, the Nazis also targeted gays and lesbians.) And why the hell should the US remain in Iraq at this point?

Truly. These are the people the US government installed and the ones the US forces on the ground keep in place. And these people are killing and slaughtering. Not only that, but then they try to blame human behavior (that they see as 'wicked') on US soldiers. Iraq's never going to be a free country until the US leaves and these thugs are forced out by the Iraqi people. Iraq was a tolerant society before the US wanted to 'whip' the population 'into shape' quickly in order to purse the tag sale on Iraqi assets.

Friday the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom issued their latest report, the 2009 Annual Report on religious freedom violations around the world. Commission Chair Felice Gaer explained of the "countries of particular concern" Friday, "Iraq and Nigeria are new to that list. Iraq was added last December and Nigeria today. Nina Shea explained this:

is a crucial year in Iraq, with provincial councils changing hands, national elections expected before year's end, and the US military beginning its drawdown. In December, an extensive report on religious freedoms in Iraq, based on travel, interviews, briefings, meetings and other activities was released by the commission and we recommended then that, for the first time since 2003, that the State Department designate Iraq as a country of particular concern.
This CPC recommendation was based on the ongoing severe abuses of religious freedom in the country and the government's toleration of these abuses, particularly against Iraq's smallest and most vulnerable religious minorities, including Chaldo-Assyrians and other Christians, Sabean-Mandeans and Yazidis. As described in this year's annual report, the concerns outlined by the commission in December persist as these vulnerable minorities have, in recent years, experienced targeted intimidation and violence, including killings, beatings, abductions and rapes, forced conversions, forced marriages, forced displacement from their homes and businesses and violent attacks on their houses of worship and religious leaders. Despite the overall drop in violence in the country, these incidents continued in 2008 and 2009 including in this month. The cumulative effect of this has created a serious threat to these ancient communities' very existence in Iraq. And the statistics are staggering. About half the Christian populations have left the country or been killed -- and that's starting from a total of 1.4 million. About ninety percent of the Mandean community report that they have left or been killed. This jeopardizes Iraq's future as a pluralistic, diverse and free society. In addition, the commission is concerned about the continued attacks and tense relations between Shia and Sunni Iraqis, as well as other continued, egregious, religiously motivated report on page 54 where we have extensive recommendations on Iraq. The commission urges the US government to take a number of specific steps to ensure, inter alia, the prevention of abuses against religious minorities is a top priority. We call for the training and deployment of police for these vulnerable minorities, that the KRG uphold minority rights in their area and that the situation of internally displaced persons and refugees is effectively addressed.

Shea took two questions on Iraq and noted that the USCIRF had long critiqued the constitution:

We are very concerned by the contradiction within the Iraqi Constitution. On the one hand, religious freedom for everyone is stated -- and for minority groups -- and on the other hand, there can be no law that contradicts Islam. So there is a possibility that there isn't a right to have individual choice in religious freedom or to manifest your beliefs publicly. It's very questionable. So we wanted to know what the -- I think there's some language about the consensus on the agreed upon tenets of Islam -- that no law can contradict the agreed upon tenets of islam. But there really, in fact, is no consensus on Islam. There is two main branches of Islam in Iraq -- Sunnis and Shiites. There are different schools. There are different commentaries on those schools. So there's many different points of view, so the constitution is ont clear and it leaves in doubt the extent of religious freedom particularly for minorities. The main problem we're seeing, though, is the extremists. Not government violence, but extremist violence. And the failure of the government to protect or allow these minorities to develop and flourish and remain in Iraq. So many of them -- half of them -- have left. And many of them continue to be in the region. The United States has been very dilatory in addressing this problem. It appears no, that they're not going back in great numbers. And I think the United States has a responsibility to -- and we make recommendations for this -- that the United States has a responsibility to support these people and to help them find refuge either in the United States or elsewhere.

The 269 page report is entitled [PDF format warning]
Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and Iraq is pages 43 through 60. We'll note the recommendations on human rights (and wonder why the administration requires someone else suggesting them):

* appoint and immediately dispatch a Special Envoy for Human Rights in Iraq to Embassy Baghdad, reporting directly to the Secretary of State, to serve as the United States' lead human rights official in Iraq; to lead an Embassy human rights working group, including the senior coordinators on ARticle 140 issues, on corruption, and on the rule of law, as well as other relevant officials including those focusing on minority issues; and to coordinate U.S. efforts to promote and protect human rights in Iraq; and

* appoint immediately one or more U.S. advisors under the Department of State's Iraq Reconstruction Management Office to serve as liaisons to the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights.

To address past and current reports of human rights violations in Iraq, the U.S. government should urge the Iraqi government at the highest levels to:

* undertake transparent and effective investigations of human rights abuses, including those stemming from sectarian, religiously-motivated, or other violence by Iraqi security forces, political factions, militias or any other para-state actors affiliated with or otherwise linked to the Iraqi government or regional or local governments, and bring the perpetrators to justice;

* cooperate with international investigations of such abuses; and

* create and fully fund the independent national Human Rights Commission provided for in the Iraqi Constitution and ensure that this Commission is non-sectarian, that is has a mandate to investigate and individual complaints, and that its functions and operations are based on the UN's Paris Principles.

Multiple links can be found at this page of the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The above alone goes to why the UNHCR had no business issuing any statement (not even to appease al-Maliki and his desire to interest foreign investment). Equally true is that this 'downturn' was one month (January) and each month since has seen an increase in violence with last month reaching 2008 levels. Equally important, things are always highly fluid in Iraq. Indpedent journalist Dahr Jamail (via Countercurrents) observes:

Indicative of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq, on May 1 the US military reported the death of a Naval petty officer who was killed "on April 30 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq." The Department of Defense report went on to explain that the sailor "was deployed with an East Coast based Navy SEAL team." That same day, the military announced the deaths of two marines "killed while conducting combat operations against enemy forces here April 30." The dateline for the latter press release is "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq." Apparently, all is not well in Fallujah and al-Anbar province. The US military, having met the fiercest resistance throughout their occupation of Iraq in these areas, is once again conducting combat operations there.
The fact that the US military has largely hung the Sahwa out to dry, exposing the 100,000 strong Sunni militia to the ire of the Maliki government for ongoing assassinations and detentions, has taken the lid off the volcano that the Sahwa were keeping from erupting. Let us remember - it was the Sahwa who kept al-Qaeda in Iraq in check, not the US military or the Iraqi military. As members of the Sahwa continue to leave their security posts due to lack of pay and being targeted by the Iraqi government, they are returning to the resistance from which most of them had emerged to join the militia.
Let us also be clear about the fact that the Sahwa allied themselves with the US military so as to protect themselves from the Shia-dominated sectarian government of Prime Minister Maliki.
I asked a good friend of mine in Baghdad to interview a Sahwa leader in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad a few days ago. The leader asked to be identified as Abu Ahmed. He is 40 years old, married, has four children, and had this to say, "I would like to say that the Iraqi Government, and especially Mr. Maliki, are continuing to target us. They have been doing this from the beginning, and they continue to do this against the Sahwa. The reason is because we are Sunni and the Iraqi government are a sectarian government."
Abu Ahmed said he and his fellow Sahwa members support the immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces "and then we can change our government by ourselves and build a nationalist government to replace this current sectarian government."
He then added, succinctly, "Our purpose is to end the occupation, end al-Qaeda, and make a new Iraq that is safe."

Which goes to why the US needs and it also goes to all the hogwash about al-Maliki winning in the provincial elections (held in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces January 31st). al-Maliki won nothing, he wasn't a candidate. And the way to read those results wasn't "Yea! Nouri!" it was that Iraq's rejecting sectarianism and, pay attention, that's a huge danger for Nouri. Nouri was only installed by the US because he was on the 'right' side of the sectarian divide. The results of the election have been spun repeatedly and in Nouri's favor when reality has never indicated any such thing.

Sahwa was again targeted today in Baghdad.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which left three people wounded and 3 Mosul roadside bombings which left three people wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes 1 "civilian" shot dead in Mosul and 1 "official from the oil police" wounded in a Kirkuk shooting and, in Baghdad, 1 Sahwa ("Awakening," "Sons Of Iraq") shot dead and his brother arrested.

Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Kirkuk.

April 23rd, as twin bombings rocked Baghdad, Nouri's mouthpieces announced they'd arrested the mythical Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that despite repeated claims since, no one really knows all this time later, "Iraqi officials have claimed to have captured or killed Baghdadi several times before, and they've been wrong every time. U.S. military officials have said in the past that they think that Baghdadi may be a fictional character meant to give a local face to a foreign-led terrorist organization. So far this time, the Iraqis haven't backtracked. But they also have yet to provide any proof they have him, except for one grainy headshot broadcast on state television this week. It's anyone's guess as to how officials might prove Baghdadi is who they say he is, however."

Turning to corruption news [James Glanz, Eric Schmitt and Choe Sang-hun's "
3 Koreans Convicted Of Bribery In Iraq"], in a shocking development, billions of US tax dollars have vanished in Iraq and the latest scandal involves $70 million that a foreign government was allowed to 'oversee.' This 'oversight' was in a direct violation of the program as it was repeatedly explained to the US Congress and the American people.Appearing before the The Commission on Wartime Contracting February 2nd, the Department of Defense's Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble explained CERP (Commander's Emergency Response Program) funds, "CERP funds are appropriated through the DoD and allocted through each major command's sector of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up to $500,000 can be allocated to individual CERP projects, and CERP beneficiaries often receive payments in cash. We have also identified occasions where soldiers with limited contracting experience were responsible for administering CERP funds. In some instances, there appeared to be scant, if any, oversight of the manner in which funds were expended. Complicating matters further is the fact that payment of bribes and gratuities to government officials is a common business practice in some Southwest Asia nations. Taken in combination, these factors result in an environment conducive to bribery and corruption."Gimble identified the CERP funds as being under the control of the US command. This was the repeated pattern when officials appeared before the Congress. In reality, South Korea was allowed to administer CERP funds with no US oversight and their military now stands accused of running a scam which utilized more than $70,000,000 US tax payer dollars. In April, a Seoul military court found three officers of the country's military guilty of running a bribery and extortion scam utilizing the CERP funds.The CERP funds have been repeatedly addressed by witnesses appearing before the US Congress and yet the Congress was repeatedly informed the process was the US tax payer pays the money and the US military officials use the funds for various Iraqi projects. Never once did anyone reveal that foreign states were being given US tax payer monies. The September 10, 2008 House Armed Services Committee hearing found Chair Ike Skelton pursuing the issue of the CERP funds with DoD's Under Secreatry of Defense for Policy Eric S. Edelman and explaining the process as Congress intended it.Ike Skelton: The department's understanding of the allowed usage of CERP funds seems to have undergone a rather dramatic change since Congress first authorized it. The intent of the program was originally to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Iraq through small projects undertaken under the initative of brigade and battalion commanders. Am I correct?Edelman: Yes, sir.Ike Skelton: Thank you. The answer was "yes." Last year the Department of Defense has used millions of CERP dollars to build hotels for foreign visitors, spent $900,000 on a mural at the Baghdad International Airport and, as I understand this second piece of art, that CERP funds were used for. I'm not sure that the American tax payer would appreciate that knowing full well that Iraq has a lot of money in the bank from oil revenues and it is my understanding that Iraq has announced that they're going to build the world's largest ferris wheel. And if they have money to build the world's largest ferris wheel why are we funding murals and hotels with money that should be used by the local battallion commander. This falls in the purview of plans and policy ambassador.Edelman: No, no, it's absolutely right and I'll shae the stage here -- I'll share the stage quite willing with uh, with Admiral Winnefeld with whom I've actually been involved in discussions with for some weeks about how we provide some additional guidance to the field and some additional requirements to make sure that CERP is appropriately spent.Edelman then tries to stall and Skelton cuts him off with, "Remember you're talking to the American taxpayer." Edelman then replies that it is a fair question. He says CERP is important because it's flexible. It's important because they're just throwing around, if you ask me. They're playing big spender on our dime.Skelton: The issue raises two serious questions of course. Number one is they have a lot of money of their own. And number two the choice of the type of projects that are being paid for. I would like to ask Mr. Secretary if our committee could receive a list of expenditures of $100,000 or more within the last year. Could you do that for us at your convience please?Edelman: We'll work with our colleagues in the controller's office and - and . . . to try and get you --Skelton: That would be very helpful.October 30, 2008, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction released a report on Iraqi spending. The 232 page report [PDF format warning] was posted online and received attention for being the product of, Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr. words, "seven audit reports and three inspections". The report noted many things such as, "The recent Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2009 imposed a ceiling of $2 million on the amount of CERP money that DoD could allocate to a single project. The new NDAA futher requires the Secretary of Defense to approve CERP projects costing over $1 million, certifying thereby that the project will meet Iraq's urgent humanitarian relief or reconstruction needs." South Korea was not mentioned in the entire 232 page despite the new revelations that, "The Americans gave the [South Korean] Zaytun unit wide latitude within its northern area of operation [in Iraq]. The unit largely controlled the disbursement of $74 million of American reconstruciton money through the Commanders' Emregency Response Program, or CERP."In addition, while US outlets worked overtime to sneer at the notion that the Iraq War was about, or had anything to do with, oil, "Korean leaders explicitly told their people that the deployment [to Iraq] would help their country gain oil contracts." Attempts to insist that no American money was stolen is insane (though South Korea's government has attempted to do just that). If I use $350 of your money without your permission -- for even two seconds and return every bit of it -- I have stolen from you. It's basic. If a citizen did what the Korean military officials did, they'd be prosecuted for theft (and they should be). Meanwhile, in Iraq, AFP reports that the Kurdistan Regional Government has announced they will hold their parliamentary elections July 25th.

In the US,
Carolyn Lochhead (San Francisco Chronicle) sees stirrings in Congress over the 'emerency' war supplemental Barack's requestion. Lochhead notes US House Rep David Obey, chair of the Appropriations Committee, states that at the end of the year there will be some serious questions. In addition:

Echoing fights with former President Bush over Iraq, Obey included language requiring the Obama administration to issue a progress report on five benchmarks to Congress before its next budget request in February 2010. Funding is not conditioned on meeting the benchmarks:
1. The level of political consensus and unity of purpose to confront the political and security challenges facing the region; 2. The level of government corruption and actions taken to eliminate it; 3. The performance of security forces with respect to counterinsurgency operations; 4. The performance of intelligence agencies in cooperating fully with the U.S. and not undermining the security of our troops and our objectives in the region; and 5. The ability of the government to control the territory within their borders."

The previous benchmarks were never met and Congress never cut off funding. All this time later, they still haven't been met. Even provincial elections have still not been held (14 of Iraq's 18 provinces is not "provincial elections" any more that a national election in the US would be 42 states voting and eight being excluded).

As noted yesterday, Marilyn French has passed away. Last night Elaine called out the nonsense of the obits acting as if The Women's Room was the beginning and end of Marilyn. Elaine rightly noted that it was akin to an obit on Julie Christie focusing non-stop on Darling and ignoring her finest performance thus far (Afterglow). More to the point, it's the equivalent of an obit on Sally Field that can't shut up about Gidget or The Flying Nun. Those were popular hits. They're nothing to be ashamed of. But Field's best work includes Norma Rae, Places Of The Heart and much more. More people saw her play The Flying Nun than anything else. (And more people saw her in Smokey & the Bandit than saw her in Norma Rae.) If that's the only measure for how we judge than, by all means, keep pimping a popular book that may be as 'lasting' as any of Mary McCarthy's novels. French's work didn't end in 1977. It's appalling that standards and taste (or the lack of both) dictate that certain people pimp a page turner as opposed to Marilyn's well researched, analytical writing. Heart (Women's Space) finds a way to note the popular novel and yet not to reduce Marilyn to Judith Krantz. Heart observes, "Her work has been central to my own feminism and is, in my opinion, brilliant. She was one of only a very few feminists who really had a grasp of the broad picture; she consistently wrote of women's liberation as a struggle against all forms of coercion and abusive power, all dominance hierarchies, and as central and key to the liberation, ultimately, of all human beings, animals, the earth itself."

evan brightbrett barrouquere
the new york timesrod norland
dahr jamail
james glanzeric schmittchoe sang-hun
mcclatchy newspaperslaith hammoudi
corinne reilly
carolyn lochheadthe san francisco chronicle