Friday, May 05, 2006

Damu Smith, peace activist (1952-2006)

Mike and I are blogging but neither of us is promising much. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"Damu Smith, 1952-2006" (Democracy Now!):
And finally, legendary peace activist Damu Smith died earlier this morning. The founder of Black Voices for Peace and the National Black Environmental Justice Network, Damu spent years fighting environmental racism, particularly in the south. He was a key leader in the anti-Apartheid movement and fought police brutality in Washington, DC and around the country. Damu was diagnosed with colon cancer last year while on a peace mission in the Occupied Territories. He then not only fought for his life, but against racial disparities in the health care system. Damu is survived by his daughter Aisha and his legacy lives on in all those who fight for justice.

Damu Smith's passing is the main reason I'm blogging tonight. He came on Democracy Now! to talk about his colon cancer in August of last year. But even in that appearance, he was focused on so many other things -- fighting until the end. Fighting for justice until the end, I should say. He made his life about something more than the immediate. In a nation of "I got mine," he fought for racial equality and social justice. The peace mission noted was a march for the rights of Palestinians. He collapsed and that's when he knew something was wrong. His life is the type of story that provides an example and a way for many of us. But it's just this sort of life that won't get the front page write up that the New York Times and others will shower over war criminal Henry Kissinger when he finally passes. I'm tired but knowing that Smith's death wouldn't receive the attention his life warrants made me decide to blog. I can't get Smith on the front page of the New York Times but I can note his passing here.

Along with coverage in the headlines, Amy Goodman and company also provided this today:
"Damu Smith 1952-2006: Legendary Peace Activist Dies After Battle with Colon Cancer." If you missed it, you can listen to audio of the segment, watch video or read the transcript (all three options are up).

"Bush Admin. Accused of Funding Somalian Warlords" (Democracy Now!):
In Somalia, the Bush administration is being accused of fermenting unrest through the support of warlords fighting Islamic militants in Mogadishu. A Somali government spokesperson said the US government's backing is helping fuel a civil war that has led to many civilian deaths. Some 90 people were killed during the fighting in March -- the worst violence Somalia has seen in years.

Will the groups throwing themselves (in supplication) before the Bully Boy for his "help" on Darfur now turn around and ask a foreign leader to help them address the issue of Bully Boy?

We've got a war criminal and we delude ourselves that we can channel the Bully into the Sudan. And then what? We fence him how?

Don't even get me started.

I'm looking online for some other news to note and I went to Google. C.I.'s correct, they are listing Voice of America as a "news source." Since Voice of America isn't supposed to broadcast in the United States (forbidden to by law), why does it have a web site and why is Google listing it as a news source?

That's a real issue. Not nonsense about some lame ass comedian. (Yes, I'm referring to today's 'incident.' ) I believe it's the Smith-Mundt Act which forbids them from broadcasting directly to Americans. (Short wave radios can pick up VoA in the United States.)

Google shouldn't be listing them as a news source. They are propaganda and that's why they're broadcast in foreign countries.

I see Bully Boy went to a parade and visited some wounded soldiers -- hoping his sinking polls will rise. It's three years to late.

If you missed it, West Point is trying to force a group of anti-war vets from West Point from using "West Point" in their title. In 2000, the government trademarked that phrase as well as, among others, "U.S. Military." You can't trademark what the citizens own. Until Bully Boy decides to put the army on the privatization chopping block, Americans still own it.

That's my contribution to tonight's discussion.

"Iraq Snapshot" (Democracy Now: Damu Smith remembered, Ray McGovern . . ., The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue.
KPFA's The Morning Show, Sandra Lupien's newsbreaks, covered the developing story of the US attack on Ramadi. Austalia's ABC notes that at least 13 people died in that attack.
CNN reports that Iraq's Interior Ministry has announced that "army Brig. Gen. Mohammed Abdul Latif was gunned down in the western Yarmouk neighborhood as he drove to work." (That occurred Thursday.)
On Monday, we noted: " FOCUS News Agency notes that Denmark's 539 troops may be reduced to 400 this month (May 18th)." Today, Reuters reports that Denmark has decided to make no reduction, they will switch some to "U.N. duties" ("a small net reduction in the force of 530 of 10 to 40"). Later today, AP reported that Denmark was indeed going to reduce their troops (by 80). Reuters also reports that the issue of Polish troops in Iraq is something Andrzej Lepper (deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture) intends to address: "We are still against out military presence there and if it comes to a vote in parliament, we will oppose (extending the stay)," he said. Meanwhile, Australia plans to send 460 additional troops to Iraq.
Corpses continue to surface in Iraq. China's
Xinhua reports that five corpses ("riddled with bullets"; "signs of torture") were discovered in Ramadi. The Associated Press notes the discovery of five more corpses with "four in Baghdad and one on the outskirts of the city."Explosions also continued in Iraq. The Associated Press reports the death of three American troops in Babil -- resulting from a roadside bombing. In Mosel, KUNA reports, a bomb wounded an Iraqi soldier. In Baghdad, gunfire claimed the life of Maj. Ali Hamid (Iraqi police officer).
On this issue of Iraqi soldiers,
John Berman reported for ABC news on the "graduation ceremony for 978 recruits" which quickly dropped to half that figure as "[t]hey began taking off their uniforms when they learned they would not be stationed in their hometowns."
Near Kirkuk (where no one wants to report from -- see oil "blaze" last week),
Reuters reports the kidnapping of "six oil engineers for Iraq's Northern Oil company."
Bad news for two blood lusters:
Tony Blair's having to juggle his cabinet and Bully Boy's got another poll (AP-Ipsos) to try to spin (poll found only 33% feel he's doing a good job). (Bully Boy will have to juggle as well with Porter Goss stepping down from the CIA.)