Friday, August 17, 2007

John Pilger, Sherwood Ross

I'm starting very late. The air conditioning was back off Thursday and we were moved to another part of the building. We were there today as well though the air conditioning is supposed to be fixed now. As a result, I am so far behind in the e-mails and my apologies. I did six replies before logging on and Sunny or I will reply to the others (if they need a reply) next week.

I'm rushing through this tonight.

"The Old Iran-Contra Death Squad Gang Is Desperate to Discredit Chavez" (John Pilger, Guardian of London via Common Dreams):
I walked with Roberto Navarrete into the national stadium in Santiago, Chile. With the southern winter's wind skating down from the Andes, it was empty and ghostly. Little had changed, he said: the chicken wire, the broken seats, the tunnel to the changing rooms from which the screams echoed. We stopped at a large number 28. "This is where I was, facing the scoreboard. This is where I was called to be tortured."
Thousands of "the detained and the disappeared" were imprisoned in the stadium following the Washington-backed coup by General Pinochet against the democracy of Salvador Allende on September 11 1973. For the majority people of Latin America, the abandonados, the infamy and historical lesson of the first "9/11" have never been forgotten. "In the Allende years, we had a hope the human spirit would triumph," said Roberto. "But in Latin America those believing they are born to rule behave with such brutality to defend their rights, their property, their hold over society that they approach true fascism. People who are well-dressed, whose houses are full of food, bang pots in the streets in protest as though they don't have anything. This is what we had in Chile 36 years ago. This is what we see in Venezuela today. It is as if Chávez is Allende. It is so evocative for me."
In making my film The War on Democracy, I sought the help of Chileans like Roberto and his family, and Sara de Witt, who courageously returned with me to the torture chambers at Villa Grimaldi, which she somehow survived. Together with other Latin Americans who knew the tyrannies, they bear witness to the pattern and meaning of the propaganda and lies now aimed at undermining another epic bid to renew both democracy and freedom on the continent.
The disinformation that helped destroy Allende and give rise to Pinochet’s horrors worked the same in Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas had the temerity to implement modest, popular reforms. In both countries, the CIA funded the leading opposition media, although they need not have bothered. In Nicaragua, the fake martyrdom of La Prensa became a cause for North America’s leading liberal journalists, who seriously debated whether a poverty-stricken country of 3 million peasants posed a "threat" to the United States. Ronald Reagan agreed and declared a state of emergency to combat the monster at the gates. In Britain, whose Thatcher government "absolutely endorsed" US policy, the standard censorship by omission applied. In examining 500 articles that dealt with Nicaragua in the early 1980s, the historian Mark Curtis found an almost universal suppression of the achievements of the Sandinista government -- "remarkable by any standards" -- in favour of the falsehood of "the threat of a communist takeover".

There are certain things you do not WalkOn, from. You don't ignore crimes. In the 80s, Ronald Reagan and Poppy Bush's many crimes were ignored. Establishment thinking was that 'we' needed to let bygones be bygone. 'We' never included those directly effected by the illegal actions taken. The victims weren't polled, not the dead, not the survivors.

The payback for that cowardice is something we still live with. We need to impeach the Bully Boy and Congress needs to get started on that immediately. During the Reagan era, laws were broken, the Constitution was trashed and somehow we were supposed to 'live' with that because Reagan was out of office. Today, we're told Bully Boy will soon be out of office so we should just 'live' with what has happened.

Every time a generation decides to 'live' with (accept) abuses, we make a decision not only for ourselves, but also for future generations. If the Constitution means anything, we need to take it seriously and we need to treat abuses of it as the high crimes they are.

This administration hasn't just trashed the Constitution, it's also focused on the flag. It's easier to focus on the flag. It's a totem. It doesn't mean anything other than what a person invests into it. It contains no laws, no guidelines. It's a visual display that has alternate meanings for many. That's why it could pop up (and did) all over the place post-9/11. But the Constitution has actual meaning and actual laws. It is supposed to govern the conduct of our leaders and when we refuse to hold them to the Constitution we can still smile (or not) at the flag, but we're spitting on our country, our history and our legacy.

"Military Interrogators are Posing as Lawyers at Gitmo" (Sherwood Ross, CounterPunch):
Military interrogators posing as "lawyers" are attempting to trick Guantanamo prisoners into providing them with information, The Catholic Worker (TCW) reports.
This incredible and illegal practice contributes "to the prisoners' suspicions that the (real) lawyers are not to be trusted and could be aiding the government," TCW says in its July issue.
This subterfuge is only one of the many treacherous tactics the government is employing to sabotage the efforts of lawyers to represent their clients.
As Newsday, the Long Island, N.Y. daily, reported: "The military has set up a system that delays legal correspondence for weeks and requires lawyers from around the country to write motions at a single secure facility in Virginia. Detainees have alleged that interrogators have tried to turn them against their lawyers."
Lawyers have to wait for months for security clearances to visit their clients, and the military insists on seeing any legal papers they plan to show prisoners, and reserves the right to censor them or ban them entirely.
After meeting with their clients at Guantamo, Newsday reported, lawyers must turn their interview notes over to guards, who send them on to the Pentagon facility in Virginia that is the only place lawyers can go to write their motions. There, the military tries to edit out detainees' claims of mistreatment from the public record.
Some military lawyers have been gagged from speaking to the media after they made allegation that guards are routinely beating Guantanamo prisoners. Australian Broadcasting reported defense lawyer Lt. Col. Colby Vokey and legal aide Sgt. Heather Cerveny, who represent a Gitmo prisoner, were ordered not to talk to reporters after they filed a formal complaint to the Pentagon about the beatings.

Reading the above, you may feel America has been transformed into one of those junta governments Reagan was repeatedly willing to support in the eighties. We have no rule of law governing us, apparently, and anything can be done, any laws can be broken, we aim for the gutter not the higher ground. That is the Bully Boy's contribution to modern America.

There are no 'detainees' at Guantanamo, there are only prisoners whose rights have been abused. If that doesn't offend you on a personal level because it happens 'over there,' you should grasp that what they can get away with 'over there,' they tend to later import 'over here.'
You stand up for the country or you accept that we have no laws, we have nothing that the current and next leader can't trash at will. That's what we're saying.

While Bully Boy and others have decried the alleged desecration of flags, they've desecrated the Constitution and the country. That should result in action on the part of the Congress. That they refuse to act makes them partners in his crimes.

On Iraq, the 4,000 dead mark has passed. If you're not aware of that mark . . .

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, August 17, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, al-Maliki tries to save his ass via a Sunni shut out, the 4,000 mark for foreign fighters killed in Iraq has passed, a mosque is attacked in Iraq, A.N.S.W.E.R. is attacked in the US, IVAW & Vets for Peace & Military Families Speak Out and others gear up for a march in St. Louis this Sunday, and more.

Starting with war resisters.
Melissa Fryer (The Nanmio News Bulletin).reports on war resister Timothy Richard who enlisted in the National Guard in 1999 and self-checked out and moved to Canada after he was stop-lossed: "In August 2005, just three months before his six-year contract expired, he was called up and moved from calvalry to infantry, and began training at Camp Shelby, Miss. for deployment to Iraq. . . . His contract was extended to 2031 without his permission, due to a clause that allows the U.S. government to extend military contracts at their discretion". Camilo Mejia, who tells his story in his new book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, also found his 'contract' (legally binding only when it's in the military's favor) extended to 2031. Richard self-checked out during the Thanksgiving 2005 break and moved to Canada. Fyrer reports,
"Because his dad is Canadian, Richard was able to acquire Canadian citizenship, which allows him to work and go to school, and protects him from extradition to the U.S. to face desertion charges. . . . Other war resisters are not so fortunate. To support them, and to help repay the support he was shown when he landed in Nanaimo, Richard is using his singing talents to raise money for the Nanaimo War Resisters Support Group and St. Andrew's United Church" with "A Concert for Peace" scheduled to take place August 19th, starting at seven p.m. at St. Andrew's Church (ten dollars is the price for a ticket).

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th. (And, on the 19th, there will be a march led by, among others, war resister Darrell Anderson. See further details at later in the snapshot.)

Earlier this month, when the United Nations Security Council voted to 'expand' the UN's role in Iraq,
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) wrote of the "fig leaf" nature of the UN 'mission' in Iraq observing that "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expects to send all of thirty more U.N. personnel to Iraq. But the staff union at the U.N. opposes this, and even wants those currently in Iraq to be withdrawn until the safety situation there improves" and also noted how it was "difficult to imagine how the U.N. will be able to help the security situation any. The response by Britain's U.N. ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, was laughable. He said he hopes 'the U.N. will soon be able to redeploy a contingent to Basra, where its expertise would be helpful in delivering capactiy building in Iraq's southeast'." Basra would be the site where the UK has seen many losses throughout the illegal war (the current number of UK soldiers killed in the illegal war is 168). So the "all of thirty more U.N. personnel [sent] to Iraq" is laughable and, indeed, a fig leaf.

Fig leafs are all that's left to cover the illegal war and the new one this week has been
the so-called 'alliance' Nouri al-Maliki has formed which shuts out the Sunnis. Always quick to parrot the US government's talking points, Damien Cave (New York Times) misses every bit of reality and promotes the 'alliance' as just another manuever while quoting an unnamed US official who declares its too soon to tell whether the alliance will be successful or not? Too soon to tell? The shut out of the Sunnis violates the White House endorsed, Congressionally mandate 'benchmarks' two and sixteen. Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) reports that the make up of the 'alliance' "effectively undermines the coalition's chances of breaking the political gridlock that has frustrated U.S. and Iraqi officials" and quotes Sunni Hachim al-Hassani declaring, "This is not the solution for Iraq's problems. The solution for Iraq's problems is for the real parties to get together and agree on an agenda to fix Iraq's
The Australian observes that the Sunni shut out in the 'alliance' "immediately raised questions about its legitimacy as a unifying force" and declares, "The key disappointment after days spent negotiating the pact's membership was the absence of Iraq's Sunni Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi, and his moderate Iraqi Islamic Party. That portends even deeper political divisions, but Mr. Maliki chose a more optimistic assessment." The Sunni shut out also comes after US efforts to arm and train some Sunnis alarmed many Shi'ites in the puppet government and the back-and-forth dance the US does with Sunnis and Shi'ites serves to throw everyone off balance (which is the point of it). al-Maliki, while trashing two 'benchmarks,' is already (once again) eager to spin happy about the chances to pass the theft of Iraqi oil, the privataziation of Iraqi oil opposed by most Iraqis but something the US administration wants. Sabah Jergest (AFP) reports "Leaders of Iraq's disenchanted Sunni Arab community on Friday slammed the new Shiite and Kurdish alliance formed to salvage Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's national unity government. The National Concord Front, the main Sunni Arab political bloc in the country's 275-member parliament, said the new tie-up between the two Shiite and two Kurdish parties was a 'futile' excercise."
David Hardaker (Australia's ABC) notes that "Sunni leader and Vice President Tariq Hashemi has severely criticised the government's record on security and human rights." And so has the mainstream press in recent months but the 'alliance' is a new chance to spin 'possibilities.'

Sam Dagher (Christian Science Monitor) provides context: "With a mid-September deadline looming for the Bush administration to deliver its Iraq progress report to Congress, American diplomats in Baghdad are working overdrive to prevent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government from total collapse -- something that could shatter all efforts to forge a long-elusive national reconciliation." Fig leaf. That's all the 'alliance' is. An effort by the US and al-Maliki to have something -- anything! -- worth spinning as the September 15th 'progress' report (to be delivered to Congress) looms. In light of this comes the 'alliance' and also talk of a crisis summit. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review observes of the latter, "How familiar is this dirge. The government is run by the Shiite majority, the Sunni minority feels put upon and many Kurds would just as soon go their own way." Among the Shi'ite militias Sunnis have called "death squads" is the Badr Brigade. Last week, the governor of the Qadasiyah province was assassinated. CBS News and AP report today that Sheik Hamid al-Khudhan, "secretary-general of the Badr Brigade" has just been elected the new govenor "by a narrow majority" of council members. With these and other actions, the puppet's cry of "We must unite" seems less like a slogan and more like a threat.

How familiar is this dirge? Tuesday multiple bombings in northern Iraq led to mass deaths. Today
BBC reports the death toll at 344 with four hundred wounded and that Abdul Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of Baaj, held a press confrence where he declared, "People are in shock. Hospitals here are running out of medicine. The pharmacies are empty. We need food, medicine and water otherwise there will be an even greater catastrophe." The International Committee of the Red Cross has announced that they are "dispatching surgical and medical supplies to Telaafar General Hospital which is receiving an influx of casualties resulting from the four explosions that rocked the Sinjar district in the north west of Iraq late on Tuesday evening. Similar supplies for the treatment of over 400 wounded have also been dispatched to Sinjar General Hospital and Dohuk Emergency Hospital." While the Red Cross (and Red Crescent) provide aid, Damien Cave (New York Times) gets giddy that Nouri al-Maliki's puppet government has announced it will provide families with $1600 (US) for each family member killed. Ignoring all context and reality, this meager sum stands in stark contrast to to the puppet's July 2006 declaration that he would send $35 million (US) in aid to Lebanon.
Diamond Jim Brady al-Maliki has all the cash in the world to toss around . . . outside of Iraq but when Iraqi lives are to be compensated for, he sends the message that the lives are of much less value on the monetary scale.

Staying on the topic of money,
CNN reported yesterday on Iraqi women who have been forced into prostitution due to their losses from the illegal war as they attempt to support themselves and their children with some earning $8 (US) a day. Suha, not her real name, is 37-years-old, the mother of three children and she tells CNN, "People shouldn't criticize women, or talk badly about them. They all say we have lost our way, but they never ask why we had to take this path. I don't have money to take my kids to the doctor. I have to do anything that I can to preserve my child, because I am a mother." The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq's Yanar Mohammed explains to CNN that her group "pounds the streets of Baghdad looking for these victims often too humiliated to come forward," victims of the illegal war whom she points out have been forced into prostitution: "At this point there is a population of women who have to sell their bodies in order to keep their children alive. It's a taboo that no one is speaking out. There is a huge population of women who were the victims of war who had to sell their bodies, their souls and they lost it all."

On the anniversary of the fourth year of the illegal war, the
Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq released the following statement:

Women of Iraq have gradually let go of most of their 20th century gains and privileges in the last 4 years of occupation. Iraq turned from a modern country of educated and working women into a divided land of Islamic and ethnic warlords who compete in cancelling women from the social realm. Millions of women's destinies are wasted between the destructive US war machine and different kinds of Islamic rule who have have turned women into helpless black objects of no will or worth.
After 4 years of "democratizing" Iraq, systemic group rapes of detained women have become a routine procedure to be practiced in police staions and detainment camps. It has also become another ugly face of the atrocious sectarian war where assaulting females of
the other sect is considered a political victory and punishment.
Abeer, Sabrine and Wajidah's sufferings were known, heard, and ended but hundreds of unknown assaulted women still get beaten, raped and videotaped daily in the Iraqi ministries and around the American bases.

And yes, Virgil and Virginia, there is prostitution in Iraq and in Baghdad and it's been known throughout the illegal war though many outlets have worked overtime to officially ignore it (officially ignore).

CBS News' Lara Logan files an update on the Baghdad orphan horror story (back in June, US soldiers found an 'orphanage' that was practicing neglect and abuse and rescued the children) by noting that the US soldiers who saved the children have been awarded but she fails to mention the names of those receiving awards other than Osman Koroma. She also fails to mention how the situation (and others like it that remain unreported) came to be.
Congratulations to Koroma (and the others) for a well deserved medal but the facts remain -- and remain unreported in US media -- that the orphanage and others like it exist due to the illegal war. This was not a case of children made orphans, this was actually (though Logan doesn't note it) a special needs residential center. In the Arab media, parents of the children and of other children have been interviewed, have discussed how they placed their special needs children there because they hoped the children would have the best chance at safety in a war torn country. Parents have been vocal -- outside the US media -- about how the story CBS broke (and others picked up) have made them decide that bombs falling, shootings, barely enough food to survive on, be damned, they were going to pull the children from these institutions. CBS News continues to act as if an isolated center was found and what took place happened by mere chance. That is not reality. There are many others and 'care givers' know they can get away with it because the daily violence makes visits by parents near impossible (and, as one father revealed, many of these centers require the parents to make appointments to visit) and they thrive because Iraqi parents (or in some cases, an Iraqi parent since the illegal war has left many families with one parent -- some with none) see the daily violence from the illegal war and look for any sort of safety for their children. By all means, applaud Osman Koroma and the other US soldiers who made a huge difference by not just discovering the children but by rescuing them (up the chain commanders deserve no credit or applause for the individual actions of the soldiers) but don't ignore the fact that this center and others like it exist due to the illegal war.

yesterday a mark stood at 3999. The mark? The number of official military members who had died after foreign governments had sent them into Iraq to fight in the illegal war. The 4,000 mark has passed. Today the US military announced: "Thursday, a MNC-I Soldier died of non-battle related cause in Baghdad. An investigation into the cause of death will be conducted." And they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died of wounds sustained from enemy gunfire in Baghdad Province, Thursday." This took the total to 4001. As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported earlier today, "In Iraq, the coalition death toll has now topped four thousand. The vast majority are American, with thirty-seven hundred and two U.S. troops killed. Forty-four U.S. service members have died this month."

But the number climbed still higher later in the day. Later today, the
US military announced: "One Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated during a patrol in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital Aug. 17." And they announced: "Thursday, a MNC-I Soldier died of non-battle related cause in Baghdad." ICCC's total for the number of US service members who've died in the illegal war thus far this month is 48 and the total number who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 3706. The total number of foreign military members (US, UK and "Other") killed in the illegal war currently stands at 4003.

As noted above a US soldier died of gun wounds on Thursday. The guns were fired from the roof of a mosque and have resulted in a mosque being the site of a battle.
AP reports the US fired missiles at Honest Mohammed Mosque (which was damaged) as worshippers fled.
CNN reports 14 Iraqis were killed by the US including a "boy." The US military states the mosque battle took place in Tarmiyah while glossing over Iraqi fatalities.

In other violence today . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that left three people wounded and 3 bombings that claimed 2 lives and left 8 people injured (four were Iraqi soldiers). KUNA reports a Kirkuk bombing wounded four civilians and five Iraqi police officers.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two people wounded from gun fire when unknown assailants in five vehicles opened fre as they drove through Albu Faraj village. AP reports the airing today of a taped execution of Alaa Abboud Fartous Diab who had been an official at the Iraqi Defense Ministry and was "killed with two pistol shots to the back of the head."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Haditha ("gunshot wounds and signs of torture").

Yesterday, the media began reporting on US Army study that found a 15% increase in suicides among active duty members of the army which AP had. Today, Pauline Jelinek (AP) notes that "nearly a third of 99 [suicides] committed in 2006 were among soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time of their deaths. Iraq accounted for the overwhelming number of those -- 27 of the 30." Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessing says, "This report only shows the tip of iceberg, as it does not cover those who took their lives after leaving active duty service. Until the war in Iraq is brought to an end, we think the tragic reality will only become worse" and notes the suicides of Brian Jason Rand and Jeffrey Lucey -- two of many suicides that were committed after the service members left active duty status and are not tracked in the heavily covered study.

This Sunday,
[PDF format warning] Military Families Speak Out and others including war resister Darrell Anderson will be conducting a march in St. Louis, MO called "The National March Through the Arch" which will begin at 10:45 a.m. with partipants encouraged to meet at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of 9th and Cole streets.

Many organizations and individuals will also be taking part in an August 25th march in Maine.
Kennebunks Peace Department announces the August 25th Rally and March for Peace which will include Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Melida and Carlos Arredondo, David Rovics, Indigo Girls, Pat Scanlon & Band and others. Participants should "gather in the park outside the Kennebunkport Consolidated School on School Street at 10 a.m. for a morning of speeches and music. Then the group will march to the Bush family compound on Walker's Point. The march will be followed by another speaking and music program."

In other peace activisim news,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported yesterday that A.N.S.W.E.R. is being targeted for a demonstration next month, "In Washington D.C., city officials have threatened a ten thousand dollar fine to the anti-war group ANSWER unless it removes posters promoting an upcoming peace march. Several hundred yellow posters have been posted around the city announcing the September 15th event. The protest is timed to coincide with the release of a Pentagon report on the so-called troop surge in Iraq. D.C. officials say the posters are illegal because they don't meet city standards on adhesive use. ANSWER calls the fine threat a political move aimed at silencing the march."
A.N.S.W.E.R. maintains it "will not pay one penny to the government for our First Amendment rights or to stave off their threats against us. We are working with the expert constitutional rights attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice to determine our next steps for legal action against this government harrassment and attempted repression." They are asking for people to take action by calling the Director of Department of Public Workds, William O. Howland Jr. at 202-673-6833 and the DC Mayor, Adrian Fenty, at 202-724-8876 and/or to use this link to send or a letter or fax. And, to be sure everyone is clear, the march remains on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The War Hawks always swoop back in

A crazy day. The air was out when I got to work. I sent Sunny home. It was too hot. I called and was told they'd have someone out within the hour. That was before nine. A little before one o'clock, someone showed up. Around four o'lock the air was finally back on. It was way too hot and I gave everyone the choice of cancelling the session but possibly it's easier to endure it for an hour then to be there all day? I was drinking water like crazy all day.

I came home, drew an ice cold bath and soaked for an hour.

Then I read the snapshot and, some good news, if you use the links on the bombings in northern Iraq, you'll see some MSM outlets are expressing skepticsm of the narrative and not merely repeating it. It may very well be true, about the whys of the stoning; however, there's been no evidence offered of that Romeo & Juliet narrative.

If it is true, I'd just like to know how it is true. I don't think there's any excuse for stoning anyone. I'm not even questioning the stoning (although, maybe I should, at least one story did not the cell phone captures were not verified). I'm only questioning how you look a sect that is being targeted with forced marriage and decide, "Oh, no, this was love. This was true love."

If it was, all I think is that the press should have offered proof of it and I never saw any. I saw a cute little narrative, I saw a lot of what looked like leaping to conclusions.

But I never saw anything resembling proof that it wasn't a forced marriage.

So Dennis Kucinich has an opponent for his House seat. I don't know anything about her but congratulate her for running and hope more people will run across the country. I won't be voting in the race (I don't live in Ohio) and I won't be tracking the up and downs of that race. But I will note that Paul Hackett, despite the New York Times' usual lies, is not "anti-war." He was never against the war. He was against the Bully Boy. He was against the planning of the illegal war. He was never against the illegal war.

Here's the War Hawk being interviewed by Amy Goodman after he lost the special election race (and before he grabbed a gun and chased down some hot riding kids almost landing his own ass in jail).

"Victory in Defeat: Anti-Bush Iraq War Vet Nearly Wins Republican District" (Democracy Now!, August 3, 2005):
AMY GOODMAN: Paul Hackett, you have been very critical of President Bush and of the reasons for going to war. And yet, you say that if your unit is called back, you're headed back to Iraq. Why?
PAUL HACKETT: Right. Well, look, I'm an American first. Those are my marines over there who are fighting and dying. And I feel a bond with them, and I feel I need to be there with them. And I set my politics aside when I put the uniform on to be with -- you know, I really mean this -- to be with my brothers and sisters in the Marine Corps. I mean, they are my second family that I have been with many years. So, that's it. I mean, they need good leadership. I think I certainly try my best to provide that good leadership when I'm in uniform.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you would return to fight a war that you think is unjust?
PAUL HACKETT: Well, I've not said it's unjust. I have said that it's been mismanaged by the administration. I have said it was a poor use of our military. I'm not quite sure the implication of the label of unjust, so I'm uncomfortable using that. I have been critical of it up and down, but to me, that's not inconsistent with my desire to want to serve and my desire to want to lead marines and be with them in the field.
AMY GOODMAN: How do you feel about people like Camilo Mejia? He is a Florida Army National Guardsman. He went to Iraq, like you, returned. He was supposed to return to his unit but felt he just couldn't go back, that the war was unjust, and he didn't want to be a part of it. He also said he didn't want to be a part of the abuse at one of the detention facilities in Iraq. He was court-martialed, and he only recently came out of the brig, out of jail, after almost a year in detention. How do you feel about those who are saying no to war and are refusing to return?
PAUL HACKETT: Well, look, let me parse that out. If you're in the military, and you wear the uniform, that's a choice that you have made. And if, while in uniform, you make a choice not to go back, you've made the choice to be court-martialed. So -- we're big boys and girls. Accept the consequences of your choices. So, how I do feel about it? Hey, he's an American. Those are his choices. He makes those choices. He lives with the choices that he has made. So I have no empathy, and I have no sympathy, but I have no criticism of that. I don't know his case, so I take it on the facts that you presented to me, but, you know, hey, those are his choices and, you know, more power to him. I mean, I'm assuming when he makes those choices, he knows the consequences.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that the U.S. should get out of Iraq?
PAUL HACKETT: I'm not there yet. I think that -- let me step back and say, when you say, 'Should the U.S. get out of Iraq?' Yes. Eventually, yes.

Paul Hackett is not anti-war. The same voices calling out the Brookings Boys in the last weeks probably won't say a word here. But he's never spoken out against the illegal war. It's no surprise he ended up in Mommy's Pantyhose's group. That's where those types go. Then they insult others.

He's a stupid, stupid fool. That's all he is. He doesn't know the first thing he's talking about anytime he opens his mouth (which is why his challenge is first "Did you serve?" and if that doesn't shut others up, "Were you in combat?"). He says Camilo Mejia is an American.

He's an idiot. Camilo Mejia was not a citizen. As far as I know, he's still not. He knows nothing and he yammers on and the Toilet Scrubbing crowd cheered him on. Camilo Mejia was not a US citizen. He couldn't be extended. His senator had started an investigation, the military knew Mejia couldn't be extended. They tried to ingore the issue (hanging up the phone in Iraq when they were being told Camilo had to be discharged is only one example).

But whether it's Mejia or Agustin Aguayo or anyone who comes to the conclusion that the war is illegal, they have a right to refuse to serve. (Or a "duty" for Hackett.)
He won't support them. He was no where to be found when Adam Kokesh was being attacked. He's useless. He's just a schill, just like Vote for Vets. They aren't interested in ending the illegal war, they're interested in elections.

You've got Katrina vanden Heuvel being useless as usual and schilling for them. I don't know why anyone who respects themselves and is agains the illegal war would pay for The Nation at this point? I'm serious. vanden Heuvel sits on the Council for Foreign Relations which cheerleaded the illegal war. No one running a magazine for the left should be a member of a political organization that's centrist. No one running the magazine and claiming to be against the illegal war should belong to a political organization that supported and supports the illegal war.

It's really past time for Katrina vanden Heuvel to be sent packing. A self-respecting magazine would do that.

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Paul Hackett should marry each other (if she can find time on her reported date card, yeah, I've heard the rumors too, there's actually a pool in NYC about how much longer her marriage is going to last), they're perfect for one another. They self-present as brave voices and real Democrats. They're just a bunch of hucksters.

How Hackett ties in is that he's endorsed Kucinich's opponent. She claims to be against the illegal war. If she is, she needs to distance herself from a war supporter or accept that voters will doubt her own committment to ending the illegal war.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, August 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, over 200 Iraqis dead from yesterday's bombing with the death toll climbing, Cindy Sheehan highlights the Iraqi refugee situation, PR Watch shines a spotlight so it's the Peace Resister to the rescue, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Jeremy Hinzman is the first war resister to self-check, go to Canada and do so publicly. Hinzman, his wife Nga Nguyen and their son Liam went to Canada in January 2004. He hoped to be granted asylum in Canada and began the process to be granted refugee status. In December of 2004, his case was heard. December 13, 2005,
he spoke with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) and explained, "Well, before the hearing even commenced, we had our hands tied a bit. As you have stated, the solicitor general of the Canadian government intervened in our case, and that's only done in about 5% of cases. Anyway, they raised the issue that they felt that the legality of the war in Iraq was irrelevant to our refugee claims. So, we were unable to argue that in any way. . . . Well, basically, they said whether war is legal or whether it's illegal, it's irrelevant to what you are trying to do here. Which, I mean, I would argue is pretty ludicrous, because that was almost my entire rationale for coming here in the first place." Although the hearing was technically held by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada the reality is the 'board' for each case is one person.

Before self-checking out, Hinzman had attempted to be granted CO status but, like many, he was turned down. In March 2005, Hinzman's claim for refugee status was rejected by the 'board' (Brian Goodman, in this case).
Amnesty International declared (May 2005): "Amnesty International considers Mr. Jeremy Hinzman to have a genuine conscientious objection to serving as a combatant in the US forces in Iraq. Amnesty International further considers that the took reasonable steps to register his conscientious objection through seeking non-combatant status in 2002, an application which was rejected. Accordingly, should he be imprisoned upon his return to the United States, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience."

."I object to the Iraqi war because it is an act of agression with no defensive basis. It has been supported by pretenses that cannot withstand even elementary scrutiny. First, before the U.S. dropped the first bomb, it was quite evident that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Second, the Bush administration had the gall to exploit the American public's fear of terrorists by making the absurd assertion that a secular Baathist government was working with a fundamentalist terrorist group. There was never any intelligence to substantiate this. Third, the notion that the U.S. wants to export democracy to Iraq is laughable. Democracy is by the people, not an appointed puppet theater," Peter Laufer's
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq quotes Hinzman explaining.

Gerry Condon (ZNet) explained of Hinzman, "He had converted to Catholicism in high school. While in Army training, he was reading about the Buddhist philosophy of living. On Sundays Hinzman and his wife attended the Quaker meetings in Fayetteville, North Carolina, next to Fort Bragg, the 'Home of the Airborne.' They enjoyed the weekly group mediations and were inspired by the Quakers' pacifist message. Hinzman came to realize that he could not in good conscience carry a weapon or kill another human being." Condon, a war resister during Vietnam, has been one of the ones giving back to today's war resisters as has attorney Jeffry House and they have been there for every step of the appeals process for Hinzman and war resister Brandon Hughey. In April of 2006, the Federal Court ruled against Hinzman and Hughey so they carried their cases on up the chain.

May 5, 2007,
Jack Lakey (Toronto Star) reported the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Hinzman and Hughey "are not entitled to refugee status" and that "The latest ruling noted neither made full use of steps open to them in the U.S. to win conscientious objector status, before fleeing here." The next move is Canada's Supreme Court and, as Cindy Chan (Epoch Times) noted earlier this month, that body will announce "late September or early October" whether or not they will hear the cases of Hinzman and Hughey. If the body refuses to hear the appeal, that is not the end of the story.

Gerry Condon noted in 2004, "If Hinzman and Hughey are ultimately denied refugee status in Canada, they will not have exhausted their legal bids to remain in Canada. They may still petition the government to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. By this time they may be well established in Canada, one of the criteria for granting this residency. Or they could ask for permission to apply from within Canada for immigrant status, due to special circumstances (if they were to apply from the U.S., they could be arrested and imprisoned for desertion)."

Whatever happens, one thing is known. Hinzman, Hughey and others have based their applications on the illegality of the war and their refusal to participate in it. This has been refuted repeatedly by Canadian bodies even when war resisters like Jimmy Massey testify before them as a witness. In the November 2006, Democrats in the US were swept into power and they campaigned on ending the illegal war. While US Speaker of the House may or may not be able to 'table' impeachment, the fact remains that the American people were promised serious Congressional probes of the illegal war. Those probes have not taken place. It's been no better than when the Republicans controlled Congress because no one was surprised that they would stall and bury reports on the intell that was embarrassing to the White House. Where are the Congressional hearings? As Congress has done very little, it has had effects, in this country and around the world.

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

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

Yesterday in northern Iraq, bombings resulted in mass deaths.
Kim Gamel (AP) reports the death toll has risen to 200 this morning and it is still rising. AFP notes "growing fears last night that more dead were trapped under the rubble." Megan Greenwell and Dlovan Brwari (Washington Post) quote survivor Khidr Farhan declaring, "I found myself flying through the air, and my face was burning. I felt my leg hurting, and I knew my head was bleeding. Then I couldn't feel anything. When I woke up, I was in the hospital" and Haji Sido declaring, "I ran past people screaming on the ground. I didn't care, because I had to get to my family. When I got home, my wife said: 'Calm down and thank God. We are safe'." Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) quotes survivor Aydan Shikh declaring, "There is no justification for this. What crime have the Yazidis committed to deserve this?" and Subhee Abdullah declaring, "I saw people drowning in their own blood. More people are sure to die."

Paul Tait (Reuters) notes that digging through the rubble continues with many people "dazed and crying" as they attempt to locate missing family members and friends. In addition, Tait notes 330 people are classified as wounded. Sam Knight and Deborah Haynes (Times of London) list the number of dead at 250 (wounded at 350) and quote Dakhil Qassim ("mayor of the nearby town of Sinjar") declaring, "We are expecting to reach the final death toll tomorrow or day after tomorrow as we are getting only pieces of bodies." BBC, citing a Tal Afar official, notes the death toll is 257 (350 wounded) and that the attacks precede the upcoming vote on the fate of the area (it's own independent area -- "Correspondents say the planned referendum makes northern Iraq's Kurds a target for politically-motivated attacks." Tim Butcher and Sally Peck (Telegraph of London) note that the attacks have overwhelmed health care facilities resulting in survivors being "ferried to hospitals across northern Iraq" and they remind that US Gen. George Casy Jr.had recently declared "Our guys are seeing progress on the security front." Casey made those remarks to the National Press Club in DC only yesterday, August 14, 2007 where he made one baseless claim after another (and yes, he falsely linked it all to 9-11). He also stated that "The successes" remain unreported.

While Casey got caught by surprise, the US military appears unsure of what it's doing today at any given minutes. First
Gen. David Petraues and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker issue a joint-statment decrying "the barbaric attacks on innocent Iraqi men, women and children in Ninawah Province yesterday." Then the US military insists to CBS News that the death toll was only 30. They also maintain it is the work of al Qaeda . . . no doubt too startled yet to try and create a link to Iran.

In some of the other violence reported today . . .

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported, "The violence comes as U.S. forces have launched new crackdowns across Iraq. More than sixteen thousand U.S. and Iraqi troops are taking part in Operation Lightning Hammer around the Diyala River. In Baghdad, at least two people were killed in a U.S.-led raid on the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. The victims were reported to be a father and his three-year old daughter, asleep in the summer heat on the roof of their home. Nine others were arrested, including the three sons of local resident Umm Falah" and Falah was quoted explaining, "I used to bake breads and sell it to feed them and when they grew they started to work to help me. We though that we would be relieved when Saddam fell, we did not expect that he was replaced with the worst. Only God can beat them (the Americans)."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Mosul car bombings that claimed 10 lives. Reuters reports 5 lives ended by a Hilla bombing in an attack on "a judge's house".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 people shot dead in Baghdad (one from "random fire by an American convoy") and three police officers were shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters reports one person shot dead in Madaen, "a member of a joint Iraqi and U.S. security coordination" was shot dead in Najaf, 3 "police commandos" shot dead in Doura and one person shot dead in Buhriz.


Kim Gamel (AP) reports that 24 corpses were discovered today "bullet-riddled bodies of apparent victimes of sectarian death squads usually run by Shiite militias."

In other violence, there are the displaced. Over four million Iraqis have been displaced (internally and externally) due to the illegal war.
Cindy Sheehan (Common Dreams) notes that the bulk of the externally displaced have gone to Jordan and Syria: "The refugee catastrophe is going a long way to destabilize the countries to which the Iraqis . . . emergency CPR needs to flow to Jordan and Syria immediately to help the Iraqi people and the two mentioned countries. Significantly, both countries also have vast populations of Palestinian refugees that has now become a generational problem. Solving the problems in Israel will help the Palestinian refugees who want the right of return to their homes as well as help solving our own 'terrorism' problem at home. This is also an issue that needs to be pressed and exposed back in the states." This as IRIN notes the effects on Iraqi children being raised within Iraq "in a climate of fear and violence" And pregnant women in labor try to avoid going to hospitals after nightfall due to the violence. IRIN reports that in 1989, 117 Iraqi women "died during pregnancy or childbirth" but today the "figures has now gone up by 65 per cent." These results didn't happen by chance, they are the direct effects of an illegal war.

Turning to the political situations. At Inside Iraq (a blog run by McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi staff), a
correspondent captures the endless repetition: "Did anyone hear about the meetings our great politician would start soon? OMG Here we are again, again and again and again, we are standing on the first square. new meetings but do these meetings have any solutions to the daily massacre that we live in? I'm sure the demands of the political blocs would be the same, each party and bloc will ask for sure for more power to control, more money to steal and more weapons to kill the people of the other sect. and guess what? Again the US Godfather will sponsor the great meetings. its the same old game, keep them busy, let them kill each other on the name of democracy."

Meanwhile the
Center for Media and Democracy's PR notes that the partisan groups Vets for Freedom and VoteVets have been hailed by the AP as "valuable public relations tools" . . . for elected and those seeking elections and notes VoteVets (with a board of advisers that includes War Hawk Bob Kerrey) " is part of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the [WalkOn] and SEIU coalition that pressures pro-war Republicans but not Democrats." Too much reality for some and apparently that includes the Peace Resister who felt the need to team with a failed screenwriter (how did Rooster work out? Oh, that's right) to offer the usual sop that the Peace Resister is now known for. Does anyone else wonder why she only teams up with male co-writers or are we never supposed to notice that? That inability to work with women as co-writers may go a long way towards explaining why the magazine published nearly 4 men for every 1 woman in the first six months of this year. So Useless and Failed Screenwriter team up to offer that 'things are changing' (sadly, not at the magazine) and it's a turned corner for the movement thanks to the useless people of and others and provide plenty of 'love' to Americans Against Escalation and a hell of a lot of cover.

The Nation wasn't always worthless and a few at the magazine (or distributed by it) still try to make a difference. Today,
Democracy Now! featured 25 minutes of a recent speech Naomi Klein entitled "Another World Is Possible." From that speech:

We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks. Now, most effective we have seen is when the army tanks and the think tanks team up. The quest to impose a single world market has casualties now in the millions, from Chile then to Iraq today. These blueprints for another world were crushed and disappeared because they are popular and because, when tried, they work. They're popular because they have the power to give millions of people lives with dignity, with the basics guaranteed. They are dangerous because they put real limits on the rich, who respond accordingly. Understanding this history, understanding that we never lost the battle of ideas, that we only lost a series of dirty wars, is key to building the confidence that we lack, to igniting the passionate intensity that we need.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brief post

First off, please read Rebecca's "a big name blogger writes me." I don't know, maybe I'm 'old school,' but in my day, you didn't share someone's private response to you unless you were trying to make fun of her in some way. She got an e-mail, she thought the person was sincere. He ended up forwarding her e-mail. When she noted that to him, he put on a song and dance (I've read all the e-mails) but she's got the e-mail where he's forwarded her on to someone else (I've read those as well).

The whole thing stinks. She's reserving judgement so I'll follow her lead. But I would not be so willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Not when the man denied forwarding my e-mail and I had a copy of him doing just that.

I think Rebecca would have said, "Sure forward it." There's nothing in there embarrassing to her. But she wasn't asked and she wasn't told.

Today, I had an e-mail. It's from someone I respect and Sunny and I both wrote the person back. The person was e-mailing about something in one of C.I.'s snapshots and adding details to it. I didn't have time to read it when I heard about it because I was just grabbing a cup of coffee and a session was about to start. Sunny filled me in and I asked her to reply and also to get a comment from C.I. if C.I. wasn't speaking. (If C.I. had already started speaking, I asked Sunny to go ahead and e-mail the person without it.) I then responded as soon as I had a break. The person has written before and does amazing work.

People who come here that are not part of the community, should know that C.I. and I are close friends. Even a casual reader should know that. They may not realize that C.I., Rebecca and I are old college roomates. But I believe I had e-mailed the person before (I believe more than once) and I'm sure I discussed C.I. in that (due to the work to end the illegal war). This was not, "Sunny, read the e-mail to C.I." This was, "Could you please explain what the person is noting that goes a lot deeper than we have?" The person writing was citing legal issues and knows the law. (A very smart person. I have a lot of admiration.)

But even with it being obvious to the most casual reader that C.I. and are best friends, I wouldn't forward someone's nice e-mail (or one that appeared nice) on to C.I. If they'd wanted to write C.I., they would have. As close as we are (and we're very close), I wouldn't say, "Sunny, please foward that to C.I."

Now maybe that's "old school." Maybe the way things are done today, you just foward at will? That's not how I do it.

So I have no idea why the blogger writing Rebecca today would feel free to foward her e-mail. He asked her a question. She answered it (nicely). It seemed like a pleasant exchange. Then she finds out everything she's writing is being fowarded.

When she says, flat out, in an e-mail that she knows she's being fowarded, she's accused of making "allegations." Those aren't allegations. I've seen the e-mails. She faxed them to the office. She was forwarded and she knows she was. I know she was. Physical proof.

That's like telling someone they're making accusations that you killed someone when you have photographs of you killing someone.

There is no black and white. She sent them to the blogger. He forwarded them on. He added messages but below that it's Rebecca and identified as such.

So the Yazidi sect was attacked today and it's time yet again to trot out the Romeo & Juliet narrative of when the Yazidi woman was killed. The man wasn't killed. There's no knowledge of whether she married willing or not (other than what the man told the press and would he really say, "I forced her into marriage"?). I see even Patrick Cockburn of the Independent repeats it again. I really think there should be a show where people question reporters. They should have to answer. They should have to factually back up what they report.

I like Patrick Cockburn. I think he's a great reporter. But I also know that these things tend to get rolling and I've yet to see any proof for the popular press narrative.

Since the Yazidi are a minority population in northern Iraq (and elsewhere), I doubt they were the ones speaking to the press. I'm not disputing that the woman was killed. That's not in dispute. I am saying I haven't seen proof that she wasn't forced into the marriage. They had been targeted (Kurds want control of the region) and the men were being killed and the women were being kidnapped and forced into marriage. I'm not in any way justifying the death of the woman. That was horrible. It was a crime. No 'custom' warrants that.

But I am saying I haven't seen any proof of a Romeo & Juliet story. We know the woman returned to her sect. We know that she returned without him. We know she was killed.

What we are told is that they were in love. What we are told is that he wanted to return with her. Again, if this was a forced marriage, I seriously doubt he would be saying, "We kidnapped her and forced into her marriage!"

So I'm not excusing what happened to the woman and think it is a horrible crime. But I am saying I do not know what the basis for the other elements that the press has repeatedly run with.

I'd want to know who they spoke to (not the names, just what sects, what tribes), I would want more details on the husband. Women from that sect have been repeatedly kidnapped and forced into marriage to wipe out the sect since the start of the illegal war. That has only increased due to the desire of Kurdish control of the region. The Kurds are planting flags -- seriously, planting flags physically -- all over the region. Sunnis have been run out. All sects have been targeted. So I am skeptical that despite those realities, in this instance, two young people happened to fall in love (I'm assuming the man is young, he may not be).

Cockburn doesn't reassure me of the facts when he writes, "The public lynching of a Yazidi girl who converted to Islam in order to marry her Muslim Kurdish boyfriend led sectarian strife earlier this year." She was stoned. She wasn't lynched. Lynching is with a rope. The woman was stoned. Dua Khalil Aswad was the woman's name.

I know all about this because C.I. and I discussed it at length. A friend with a non-US wire service had cautioned C.I. not to run with the Romeo & Juliet angle and seriously questioned it. This was when the story was breaking. C.I. noted the death at The Common Ills and avoided going into the Romeo & Juliet aspect (and has repeatedly raised questions about that aspect).

So, she wasn't lynched. I have no idea why Patrick Cockburn's saying she was. She was stoned. Cell phones captured it. This was a huge story.

This may truly have been a case of two people falling in love. But I've seen that nothing that demonstrates that and the practice of attacking the Yazidi men via murder and attacking the women by kidnapping them and marrying them off is taking place.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, August 14, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, a US helicopter crashes, mass fatalities from bombings in northern Iraq, and more.

Starting with war resistance,
Mary Wiltenburg (Christian Science Monitor) continues her coverage of Agustin Aguayo today addressing his court-martial, how Agustin's wife Helga cried (Helga: "It was the ugly crying, with snot and everything. I wanted them to see how much they were hurting us."), how Augustin's squad leader, Sgt. David Garcia, testifited ("I told him what he needed to do was stick by his gun, if that was how he felt.") and how, following the conviction, Capt. Jennifer Neuhauser talked about what really was going on (sending a message to others serving). (Click here for part one of Wiltenburg's coverage.) Aguayo's case for CO status is currently awaiting his decision as to whether or not he's going to continue to fight in civilian courts. In his court filed statement (August 10, 2006), Aguayo wrote, "As time progresses (it has been more than two and a half years since I became a CO) my beliefs have only become more firm and intense. I believe that participating in this (or any) deployment would be fundamentally wrong, and therefore I cannot and will not participate. I believe that to do so, I would be taking part in organized killing and condoning war missions and operations, even though I object, on the basis of my religious training and belief, to participating in any war. I have to take stand for my principles, values, and morals and I must let my conscience by my guide. After all, I and no one else has to bear the consequences of my decisions or burden of neglecting my conscience." He also addresses the fact that although he was supposed to be a non-combatant, per The Department of the Army, his "unit will not respect that arrangement."

Aguayo was punished by the military to send a message.
As noted on October 20, 2006, "That is their biggest fear. That this will spread. Unfortunately for the military, it is already spreading. That's why it's important to get the word out. Each person who takes a brave stand against the war deserves support. They'll only get that if people are aware of their stand. And with increased awareness it's not just an issue of raising awareness on one person, it's an issue of raising awareness on an entire movement."

Kyle Snyder is another war resister and he self-checked out (April 2005) and moved to Canada. On October 31st, Snyder returned to the US and turned himself in at Fort Knox. Snyder turned himself in and quickly checked back out when the US military refused to honor the agreement they had come to and instead attempted to send him to Fort Leonard. Snyder then began speaking out in the United States, he did some volunteer construction work in New Orleans around Thanksgiving of last year and continued to speaking out (one of the places he spoke out at was Fort Benning). Despite the lie repeated by the media, the US military does attempt to track those who self-checkout. We certainly saw it last month in Denver, CO when a parent's home was searched. We saw with it Snyder who, in the midst of his West Coast speaking tour, suddenly had to worry about the police showing up at stops because the military investigation unit of Kentucky kept calling the California police and instructing them. Snyder returned to Canada after his speaking tour was over and was set to marry Maleah Frisen when Canadian police showed up at his door, drug him off in handcuffs (and in his boxers). Snyder was told the orders for the arrest came from the US military and that charge came, not from Snyder, but from Canada's Border Service Agency.

It was a last ditch attempt to screw with Snyder because, married to Frisen, he's out of the US military's reach. (He no longer needs to be granted asylum by the Canadian government.)
Rochelle Baker (The Abbotsford News) reported last week that at last an investigation is taking place. The Nelson City Police -- and specifically Chief Dan Maluta, have repeatedly changed their public versions of events. At one point, Maulta was claiming the Border Service Agency ordered the arrest (the Border Service Agency consistently maintained that they did not, that they did not contact the Nelson City Police Dept., and that, after Snyder was arrested, the Nelson City Police Dept. contacted them). How much of an investigation it will be is unclear since Maluta has strong ties to the Abbotsford Police who will be conducting the investigation.

What happened to Snyder is not a one-time incident. Joshua Key is also a war resister who went to Canada (Key tells his story in
The Deserter's Tale). Following the February orders to arrest Snyder, 2 members of the US military (still unidentified) went into Canada, paired up with a Canadian police officer and began inquiring as to where Key was. They showed up at peace activist Winnie Ng's door. The three men identified themselves as Canadian police and began questioning her -- very upsetting. Ng came forward with what happened and that she believed two of the men were US military. "Never happened!" cried the police. They hadn't gone to Ng's door. They hadn't been accompanied by the US military. Those were lies and slowly the police had to admit that, yes, a Canadian police officer did travel with two US military service members to assist their efforts to find Joshua Key. That is a violation of Canadian sovereignty. It is a big deal in Canada.

Back in May,
Gregory Levey (Salon) became the first at a US news outletto explore this story. It was an explosive story but if you thought it got traction after Levey covered it, think again. No one in big or small media has picked up on the story (several other outlets ran Levey's groundbreaking story). Only surprising if you haven't noticed how very little attention is given war resistance period.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.
Yesterday Sean McCormack, US State Dept. flack, declared the US government was working with al-Maliki and "not only with Prime Minister Maliki, but also with important political party leaders, some of whom are in the government or have representatives in the government, some of whom are not in the government." (Click
here for text, click here for a/v.) "Some of whom are not in the government"? Needless to say, there was no follow up asking exactly what that meant. Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, has a cabinet that is falling down. Megan Greenwell (Washington Post) reported this morning that, apparently refreshed from his trips last week to Turkey and Iran, al-Maliki now says he wants to work with others and that he has big hopes that he can rebuild the cabinet. This after he he trashed those that walked out and entertained the kind of conspiracy theories that usually has the MSM using their index finger to make a circular motion while saying, "Koo, koo, koo, koo." Possibly due to the trashing, not all who were boycotting in the cabinet were forgiving. Reuters reports only three who had been boycotting showed up for a cabinet session today.

In other bad news, though northern Iraq keeps promoting itself as "The Other Iraq" (honestly, they should stop the check on the p.r. agency that dusted off the "other white meat" slogan and sold it to them) reality slaps back.
Just last week, the push was on again for "The Other Iraq." C.J. Chivers (New York Times) reports that: "A European civil aviation authority said yesterday that it was reviewing security conditions at airports in northern Iraq after two pilots reported that their passenger airliner had been attacked by ground fire last week while taking off from Sulaimaniya." And Louise Nordstrom (AP) reports that Sweden has now suspended all their "commercial flights to and from Iraq". Chivers also notes the Brookings Institute's figure of "at least 34 helicopters" -- US -- shot down during the illegal war thus far.

Helicopter crashes?
Megan Greenwell (Washington Post) is reporting that a US helicopter crashed today in Anbar resulting in the deaths of 5 US soldiers. (This is web, not print. By Wednesday am, the link may or may not go to the story.) CBS and AP note the "emergency response crews had sealed off the site" and that it "is about 45 miles west of Baghdad in restive Anbar province". And for those fretting, it's okay to use "crash" -- even the US military is using it in their press release noting the five deaths ("Helicopter crashes in Al Anbar Province").
Turning to other violence today . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing targeting Thira'a Dijla bridge claimed 10 lives and left six wounded. Reuters reports "three civilian cars" were sent into the Tigris. Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) notes that that the "bomber detonated a truckload of explosives on a key bridge north of the Iraqi capital today, plunging the concrete span and at least three vans packed with passengers into the murky waters of a wide canal linking the Tigris and Euphrates rivers." Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) also notes a Baghdad bombing that left two people wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack left three people wounded, 3 Kirkuk bombings left eight police officers and five civilians wounded, and, dropping back to yesterday, 2 people lost their lives (a third was wounded) in a Basra rocket attack on a residence. CBS and AP note an attack in "northwester Iraq" where Yazidi members were targeted by a bombing that claimed 9 lives (fourteen wounded). But Reueters has an update: "At least 175 people were killed when three suicide bombers driving fuel tankers attacked residential compounds home to the ancienty minority Yazidi sect".


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two people were wounded while the Iraqi army and unknown assailants had a shoot out "in Shorja market neighborhood downtown Baghdad" and a civilian was shot dead in the capital (four more wounded).


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Abdul Jabbar Al Wagga'a and 2 of his body guards "and 4 general directors" were kidnapped by unknown men who "were wearing a military uniform" when they invaded the marketing building of the Baghdad Oil Ministry (five people were wounded during the kidnapping).

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

In addition to the five dead from the helicopter crash, today the
US military announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers died as a result of injuriessustained from an explosion near their vehicle while conducting operations in Ninewah Province, Monday." And they announced: "One Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed and three others wounded during combat operations in a western section of the Iraqi capital Aug. 14." ICCC's total for the month thus far is 41 with 3699 US service members being the total killed in the illegal war since it started. The 3700 mark looms closer. It will be passed, as will other marks, before this illegal war is ended.[CBS and AP report the 3700 mark has been passed: "The deaths raised to at least 3,700 members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count." Before the 5 deaths from the helicopter crash, Reuters reported: "United States 3,694." Adding five to that, you have 3,699.]

Sticking with reality,
Leila Fadel (Baghdad Observer, McClatchy Newspapers) addresses the charges and counter-charges being exchanged between Sunni and Shia leaders in Iraq and weighs in with this: "People are fighting to be the bigger victim. Shiite politicians don't openly condemn the situation, instead they ask 'who picked the fight?' and talk about the higher number of Shiites killed in Iraq. Shiite and Sunni groups compete for the anonymous bodies at the morgue. Each side wants to raise the body count of their population by burying them in their graveyards. A question was raised to me during interviews this week. There is an assumption that the Shiite-led government will try to solve the crisis. But no one official asked 'What if the intent is to continue the purge?' No American officials ever asks this question publicly. No one ever asks whether the true intentions of the current government may be to solidify power by ridding themselves of a restive minority. Are American officials banking on a government that was born under U.S. supervision but may not be the best thing for the future of Iraq?"

The chosen ones, by the US government, were the Shi'ites. They now toy with backing the Sunnis. Whether they will or not remains to be seen but it does, a government run counter-insurgency is supposed to, keep everyone off balance with the hopes of fostering a dependence upon the occupying power (US).

It was really 'cute' at the start of the month when the Iraqi Air Force Commander,
Lt. General Kamal Araznji declared, "As everybody knows, the Iraqi air force is basically one of the oldest air force in the region and it was established since 1931. But now, we've started a new beginning since 2004 on a new basis with support and from the abilities and experience by the international air force, particularly by the western countries." He continues but search in that statement, bragging about Iraqi Air Force's long history for any indication that 1931 doesn't matter at all. That's because the US disbanded the military. That's because when it was built back up certain groups weren't allowed back in. This is part of the who got put in control story that Fadel's asking about. It's equally true that when someone tosses out "1931" and starts rambling about the history of the Iraqi Air Force, they're just gas bagging. The military was disbanded. There is no history to speak of. Of course, when asked if the Iraqi military was "working with people who are essentially war criminals?", Fox responded, "I wouldn't necessarily jump or characterize, you know, that we're embracing any particular segment or sect or group of people" but that is what happened and what has happened. So to return to the question Fadel notes American officials don't want to ask in public, "What if the intent" of those currently in charge "is to continue the purge?"