Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ivan Brobeck, Rolling Stones and a rip-off pig

I called Mike to vent. I'd just read this wonderful post by C.I. It was kind of a greatest hits, in a way. There was the commentary C.I. made about when the mainstream media turned on Bully Boy (but C.I. made it in real time) and all the other strong points. But it didn't have C.I.'s name on it because it was rip-off artist. It's also true that C.I. doesn't need to 'force' comparisons where there are none. Nor would C.I. ever be STUPID enough to slam someone as having been silent when they weren't silent. (They just weren't listened to.) I was so furious because I hate pigs. Not the cute little animals that populate animated films, children's stories and farms, but the priggish pigs of the male gender who never met an idea they couldn't steal and pass off as their own.

I really was furious. I knew C.I. wouldn't give a damn and that actually made me more furious. But then Mike reminded me of the story Rebecca had shared with him about C.I. in college when a lover attempted to rip off a creative writing piece. C.I. was mad for about two minutes. Rebecca and I both walked into the living room (we'd been in our rooms) to see what had C.I. so upset. C.I. was pacing around the room telling the piece of crap off. Then, just as suddenly as it began, it ended. C.I. laughed. C.I. told piece of crap, basically, "You can take the details of something and craft it into something else with your name. But you can't be me and what you think you have ripped off is actually lost to anyone who reads your plagiarism." When Mike reminded me of that, I actually felt better because it's true. Priggish Pig has tried to manufacture outrage and it reads hollow. He's done a good job streaming together about twelve commentaries by C.I. but it doesn't add up to anything for Priggish. It just makes you realize how weak and ineffectual Priggish is.

How hilarious and how sad that this 'writer' wasn't able to produce -- even after he'd done on a clip-job on C.I.'s writing. He's getting some shout outs for his bad writing. That's how I came across it, it was linked at another site. I guess they were hoping people would be bored and not read all the way through because, if the linker had read all the way through, it wouldn't have been linked. It was a partisan site (Democratic) and the piece isn't partisan. It's not non-partisan. It's about a million thoughts that never get developed. Probably that's bound to happen when you try to build your own 'thought' around a cut and paste cutting of someone else's work.

After I got off the phone with Mike, I turned down the lights and turned up the stereo. I blasted the Stones Let It Bleed and, stealing a page from Bruce Springsteen, was dancing in the dark. Only then did I feel like blogging. Let It Bleed is my favorite Stones' album. For the 'hits lovers,' it has "Gimmie Shelter," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Country Honk" (which is "Honky Tonk Woman" rearranged) and, one of their most controversial songs, "Midnight Rambler." For those not old enough to remember, there was a big debate among feminists about "Midnight Rambler." Ellen Willis came out in favor of the song but a great many opposed it. I always saw it as Mick trying to be Jim Morrison which requires taking it to the physical (some would say sex, I would say rape) and was less bothered by the song. That's not an attempt to say that those who objected were "wrong." I understood their points and was glad that a debate could take place on the topic. But for me, it was Mick trying to ape Morrison but able to handle only the carnal element. Between that and Mick's stage persona, I saw it as a put-on so I've always been able to listen to it. But I respect the feelings of those who were violently opposed to it. (Younger readers are asking what I'm talking about because today there's hardly any debate on songs. We all just zone out and allow the critical skills to weather and fray.) My favorite song on the album is "Love In Vain" and then "Let It Bleed."

But as the album went off and my mood was lifted immensely, I thought I might suggest this to readers who are disappointed with the results of the election. Hopefully, you'll have some trade offs but I know this election has been hyped through the roof so I wouldn't be surprised if a great many suffer a traumatic come down. (That's not a "prediction" of the races. There are many races beyond Congress and, law of averages, even if things turn out 'wonderfully' for you, there's likely to be some office on your ballot that you're unhappy with the results on -- or possibly unhappy with the outcome of a ballot resolution.)

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. My hope for Wednesday? That we can get some serious coverage of Iraq. For instance, Ivan Brobeck's supposed to have turned himself in today. Did he? I go through my morning paper and it's still stuck on the Saddam trial and has no room to discuss what happened in Iraq on Monday. As for independent media, hopefully they'll do their elections wrap ups quickly and we'll see some focus on news as opposed to predictions or hype. On Sunday, the news was that Joshua Key's refugee application was denied in Canada. But no one seemed to grasp that it was news. Kyle Snyder is off the radar. The violence in Ramadi is off the radar. It's election and it's the Saddam Hussein verdict. Since the election's only taking place today, you could argue the 'news' factor comes in on Wednesday but that's all we've really gotten from our media.

You should be taking a hard look at your media choices, mainstream and independent, and figuring out if you're wasting your time as a news consumer because I think I've wasted a great deal of mine this week attempting to follow Iraq and getting nothing on it.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, November 7, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, another US war resister returns to the US from Canada, Halliburton puts on Cher's Livng Proof CD and plays dumb, and prison abuse back in the headlines.
"In Iraq, I found myself being the problem instead of the solution" -- Ivan Brobeck
quoted by Alison Bodine (Fire This Time). Today, he became the latest US war resister to return from Canada to the United States. Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, VA is where he expects to be processed. Brobeck enlisted in the Marines and, as Jim Fennerty explained to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) last Friday, there are different processes for different branches and Fennerty believes that Brobeck will "be placed in the brig" and very likely face a court-martial -- which wasn't the case for Darrell Anderson whom Fennerty also represented. Courage to Resist has posted the twenty-year-old war resister's open letter to the Bully Boy. Speaking with Nora Barrows Friedman on yesterday's Flashpoints Brobeck shared: "I'm sort of trying to teach them to open their eyes. It's easy to forget basic stuff in Iraq."
Ivan Brobeck in is own words
via Pacific News Service:

I was in the Marines. I joined in June 2003, and after boot camp in March of 2004 I was sent directly to Iraq. This wasn't at all unsettling to me. You see, I went into the Army because I wanted to fight the bad guys. In school during history classes I learned that the Army and Marines had done all these wonderful things, and it all sounded so patriotic and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to fight for freedom.
I didn't care, and I still don't care, if I died fighting for a good and noble cause which is what I wanted to do.

In Iraq, I found myself being the problem instead of the solution. A problem in a normal town, in the life of normal people, like the people here in Toronto, trying to go about their life and risking getting shot at by me. Innocent people getting killed for misunderstandings, and for even more trivial things. I found myself in situations with my partners where we had to shoot at speeding cars, at people that probably were just trying to get out of our way.

All these insurgents, as they call them, they're not. They're people who have nothing left. There was this guy who was mad at us because we had killed his family. Wife, children, everybody but him had been killed. He was seeking some kind of retribution. That is not an insurgent, that's a desperate man.

My ethnic background is Salvadoran; my mom is from El Salvador. So the fight against tyranny is something that is dear to me, considering the history of El Salvador. I believed that the war in Iraq was a just war, and it was not. Now, before I get involved again, I really have to see somebody overcoming my country with weapons in hand.

Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Ehren Watada Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Joshua Key, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman are among those who have been part of a movement of war resistance within the military.
Focusing on one US war resister mentioned above (also a Fennerty client),
Kyle Snyder returned from Canada last week only to discover that the same military that lied to sign up, was still lying. Noting the ABC News investigation that found the lies of recruiters continue, Elaine commented: "Will anyone get in trouble for the above? No. But kids will be lied to. Young adults and peole who aren't even 18 yet will be lied to over and over. They'll believe the lies. They'll assume no one in uniform would say something if it wasn't true. My friend, who's back from Iraq and speaking to students so that they don't end up over there, has so many stories like this. He's speaking about twice a week now and there is never just a handful of students who are able to share the kind of lies they've been told, it's always a large number."
Why do recruiters lie? Because they can get away with it. Because they won't be punished. They can sign up someone, someone who is not even able to legally purchase a beer, to a 'contract' that could result in the loss of life and they can do so with any lie that can tumble out of their mouths because there is no accountability.
Information on recruiters and protecting schools can be found at
Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, Counter-Recruitment and Alternatives to the Military Program and Campus Anti-War Network. Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home.
"When the money's gone/ Will you be my friend?" asks Cher in "When The Money's Gone" (Living Proof) and it's a question Halliburton may be wondering about the White House.
James Glanz (New York Times) reports that a new scandal has emerged over their 2003 no-bid contract "to deliver gasoline to Iraq" which might seem simple easy enough but KRB [Kellogg Brown & Root] were charging "as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,8000 fuel trucks". Al Jazeera reports: "The audit of 15 noncompetitive contracts paid for by US government agencies with Iraqi oil money was unable to account for $22.4 million in funds, a UN-led watchdog said on Monday."
The report for the IAMB [International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq] is available online,
PDF format, and the auditing was done by KPMG.
Within Iraq,
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on the charges, brought by the Interior Ministry, "of 57 employees, including high-ranking officers, with human rights crime for their role in the torture of hundreds of detainees once jailed in a notorius eastern Baghdad prison known as Site 4". Kirk Semple (New York Times) notes that Site 4 is not the only Interior Ministry run prison that's been found to be a source of abuse. As they day has progressed the number charged has increased. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that those now charged include "[a] general and nearly 100 other members of Iraq's police force". The BBC reminds that Site Four was a "secret prison" until May when "Iraqi and US officials found the jail at a building in east Baghdad belonging to the Shia-Muslim dominated ministry." Discovered in May and dealt with in . . . November. On top of that, CBS and AP note:
"CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick reports that the Iraqis plan eventually to retrain all of their police batallions." Retrain all.
Crackdown, shake-up, country break up . . . But outside the press eye. The show trial still provides gas bags to pretend they're reporting. The US election allows people to shout out "IRAQ!" and act like they've offered coverage on it. Once again, it's time to treat the Iraq
war as an after thought apparently.
A few of the events that actually got some coverage.
Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that mortar attacks left 22 wounded in Baghdad. Reuters notes a bombing in Basra took one life and left seven wounded while three were killed and eight wonded from a roadside bomb in Falluja.
Reuters reports that a police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk. AP notes that "sniper attacks and a roadside bombing in Karmah" claimed the lives of six Iraqi soldiers.
Sky News reports that 15 corpses were discovered in Suwayrah. AP reports that they were all found "blindfolded and bound at the wrists and ankles, before being shot in the head and chest." Reuters notes that two corpses "and a decapitated head" were discovered in Falluja.
And the Whack-a-mole goes on. Having attempted to seize the city of Falluja in April of 2004 and the slaughter that followed in November 2004, the checkpoints requiring bio-metric i.d.s to enter, et al., it may come as a surprise to learn, via
Jay Price and Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers), that there is 'concern' over resistance in Falluja yet again.
While the US military and White House attempt to ignore the fact that it's the same fight over and over (and that the war is lost), the deaths continue to pile up on all sides. Today
the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 10:40 p.m. Monday from wounds he received after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device in northwest Baghdad." The announcement brought to 19 the number of US troops killed in Iraq this month. Meanwhile, in England, Lee Glendinning (Times of London) reports on the British military announcing a Monday death: "The soldier, from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, died after the army base came under small arms fire, the Ministry of Defence said." The death brought to 121 the number of British soldiers who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and comes a day after mothers of two soldiers who died in Iraq took their case to the Court of Appeal.
Michael Evans (Times of London) reports that Beverley Clarke and Rose Gentle pressed their case yesterday as to the legality of the illegal war. Both women lost their songs (Trooper David Clarke and Fusilier Gordon Gentle) in Iraq. The BBC reports that outside the court, Rose Gentle stated: "Why can't Tony Blair be man enough to stand up and say he will give an inquiry and stop a lot of court cases going ahead? Ehat has he got to hide? Our boys are being killed day-by-bya. It we dod succeed in this case it will be a bonus. If we don't, we can say we tried and we fought for the boys and have got more backbone than the MPS who didn't stand up for them in last week's vote."
Another mother for peace, Cindy Sheehan is taking part in the
Gold Star Families for Peace sit-in at the White House in DC. Today's actions including organizing exit poll teams (for the day's election) and the plan to hold an event this evening in Lafayette Square Park while tomorrow will include the delivery of a petition opposing an attack on Iraq. Other DC actions this week include Military Families Speak Out's plan to deliver a petition to Congress and Rummy demanding troops home now and an end to the backdoor draft.
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, and his step-mother, Rosa Sakanishi, continue their speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren -- the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Upcoming dates include:

Nov 7, 4:30PM Portland, ME Location: Meditation Center Sponsor: Veterans for Peace, Chapter 1 Contact: Doug Rawlings, 207-293-2580, ralwings @maine.edu

Nov. 7, 6-9PM Brunswick, ME Location: Morrill Room, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street Pot luck supper and speaking engagement Time: 6 - 7:30pm

Nov 8, 7PM Albany, NY Sponsor: VFP National Location: TBAContact: Elliot Adams, 518-441-2697, elliotadams@junio.com

Nov 9, TBA Philadelphia, PA. Location: Annenberg School of Communication, Penn University, Room 109 Sponsors: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star MothersContact: Bill Perry, 215-945-3350,

Nov 10, 7:30PM New York City, NY Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church West End Avenue and West 86th Streets, Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,
George McAnanama, gmacan@aol.com

Nov 11, 11AM-5PM New York City, NY Veterans Day Parade Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,

Nov 12, TBA Long Island, NY TBA

Nov 13, 7PM Ann Arbor, MI "The Ground Truth" and Bob Watada Location: TBA Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works
http://michiganpeaceworks.org/,Contact: Phillis Engelbert, 734-761-5922, phillipseng@yahoo.com

kyle snyder
amy goodman
juan gonzalez
democracy now
ivan brobeck
nora barrows friedman
the new york times
kirk semple
the washington post
sudarsan raghavan
james glanz
mikey likes it
like maria said paz