Friday, September 09, 2011

Sleight of Hand

There are so many things I want to write about but I'm a sucker for music. Trina and I were talking about music and she ended up quoting Carly in her post and told me I should as well. No problem, I'm a big fan of Carly Simon's music.

How does it happen
I don't know
It's so hard to understand
Now you see it
Now you don't
Is this a case of sleight of hand
Sleight of hand

Somewhere between the fantasy
And the third degree
Somewhere close to the flattery
And the jealousy
And the mystery
You might see the best and the worst of me

You might find lie's
But here it is
My gift to you
Open it with care
-- "Sleight of Hand," written by Carly Simon and Don Sebesky

I'm not thrilled with iTunes or really even CDs to be honest. Why?

I have a music collection and so much of it is not being transferred to the newer mediums. For example, I love the song above and the only copy I have of it is as the B-side to the 45 vinyl single of "Give Me All Night." That was a gift from C.I. with a note, "I know you've got the album, but flip for the B-side." I did and I loved the song.

It's never been on CD. It's not available as an MP3.

But . . .

It turns out that if you've never heard it, you can hear it now.

Carly's posted the audio at her site. Go to this page and scroll down and you'll see it. But for me, "Sleight of Hand" is just brilliant.

"Turn of The Tide" is another Carly song that's hard to find. I have it on the Clouds In My Coffee boxed set. I also have it on the cassette single for "Let The River Run." (The cassette single also features the live version of "Coming Around Again" -- with "Itsy Bitsy Spider" -- from the Greatest Hits Live album.)

Don't get me started on VHS. I have the Carly Simon VHS Live At Grand Central Station. Do you know the song "We Have No Secrets"?

"We have no secrets, tell each other most everything . . ."? It's the title track to her number one No Secrets album. On the VHS concert, she does it in a reggae format and it's amazing. It pulls the song in an entirely new direction. Of course, that concert was never issued as a CD. Also, it's not available as a download.

I was going to write about the Libyan War but I wrote about music instead. Sometimes music is all you can count on. Other times? "Sleep Through The Static" as Jack Johnson recommends.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, September 9, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, protest erupt in Iraq, an assassin or assassins killed yesterday but Hadi al-Medhi is not forgotten, Iraqis and human rights and journalism organizations call for his killer(s) to be brought to justice, the Sadr bloc wants to oust the Speaker of Parliament, Nouri wants to hush up the judge heading the corruption investigations, and more.
"They promised to serve the people while all they did is loot!" was one of the cries in Baghdad's Tahrir Square this morning. Alsumaria TV observes, "Massive demonstrations took place in Iraq provinces on Friday." Dar Addustour notes that protests took place in several cities as protesters demanded basic services, jobs and reforms with some activists calling for early elections as well. The paper explains that there were attempts to halt the protest in Baghdad by tightening security and blocking off roads; however, citizens turned out in the "thousands"
We'll come back to Baghdad but demonstrations took place across Iraq on what is called the Dawn of The Liberators. The Great Iraqi Revolution posts video of the protest in Ramadi where the chants included "We're coming to Baghdad, we're all soldiers to liberate Baghdad!" Aswat al-Iraq reports protests took place in Hilla as well with citizens demands ("handed to the Provincial Council") including "dissolving the council, relieving Babil governor from his post, putting to account all corrupted governmental officials, activation of industrial, trade, service, agricultural and sodial services, protection of civil freedoms and adopting talented people for building the new society." A council member responded that the governor is "on probation" and that the other issues are issues that the central government out of Baghdad (Nouri) has to address. The Great Iraqi Revolution reports that in Wasit Province's Kut, "the government refused to grant the activists the permit required. Anti riot forces armed with guns, armors and armored vehicles, ambudlances and police cars are spread in and around the city specifically Amel Square in Kut; and invidiual searches are carried out as well." And they report that "security forces in Wasit province arrested a large number of the demonstrations organizers and the number of detainees exceeded 50 people, among them the activists Sayed Jaber and Sajad Salem were arrested in the city of Kut." Aswat al-Iraq reports on the protest in Falluja where "hundreds of unemployed youths, intellectuals and triable sheiks demonstrated" and organizer Kahmess Jadan al-Lihaibi explains the demands (end to corruption, employment, basic services and a functioning judicial system) included "stopping the work in Kuwaiti Morbarak terminal and calling the UN to intervene to terminate Iranian and Turkish atrocities against Iraqi borders." The outlet reports on the protest in Diwaniya as well noting that the "hundreds" of participants included members of the Socialist Movment, NGOs, Democratic and Communist parties "and some well-known personalities" and they quote the Communist Party's Jabbar al-Shaibani stating that "the demonstration marched with 500 citizens, including women and children, who raised placards denoucning the government and demanding the central and local governments the implementation of basic services, otherwise these demonstrations shall be repeated in stronger manner." Al Jazeera notes protests also took place in Basra and Najaf.
Back to Baghdad, Alsumaria TV notes, " In Baghdad, an Iraqi army force using batons dispersed a demonstration organized by Abu Ghraib residents, western Baghdad, in protest against administrative corruption. Demonstrators staged three rallies in Al Tahrir Square, central Baghdad. The first demanded the elimination of corruption, the second called for the establishment of FAO port and the abolition of borders' demarcation with kuwait while the third objected the visit of Iraqi speaker Ousama Al Nujayfi, and Iraqi Vice President Tarek Al Hashimi to Saudi Arabia. Security Forces closed all entrances to the Green Zone and tightened security measures in anticipation to any security implications." Something's left out of that, did you catch it? Let's move over to Aswat al-Iraq which states that the demonstration in downtown Baghdad (Tahrir Square) lasted over three hours and called for "better services, early elections and termination of corruption" and that they "shouted against Mubarak terminal and the Turkish and Iranian atrocities in the north" (Turkey and Iran's armies are shelling and bombing northern Iraq). Hmm. They miss it too.
"The martyr was one of the activists in the movement against corruption and the curbing of rights and freedoms, through Facebook and through demonstrations in Tahrir Square. He was always stressing the need to reject any violation of the constitution and the law." That's WG Dunlop (AFP) quoting activist Zahir al-Jamaa. Speaking of? Journalist and activist Hadi al-Mehdi who was not at the protest today because he was assassinated yesterday.
His face was seen at today's demonstrations across Iraq as, in Baghdad and throughout, protesters carried photos of Hadi. The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Our correspondent in Baghdad:: The government forces refused to release the body of the assassinated journalist Hady Mahdy for the public funeral arranged by protestors. The did not allow a symbolic funeral to take place either.// Hady Mahdy , what greatness! They fear you dead or alive."
Dar Addustour calls the assassination of Hadi "a deep wound in the conscience of Iraq" and Hadi "a shining star in the honored sky illuminating the path in the stuggle against tyranny." In Baghdad today, at the Tahrir protest, activist Hattem Hashem told AFP, "The voice of Hadi will not be silenced, despite his assassination with a silenced weapon." Al Jazeera quotes Hadi once telling the network, "When we speak up and raise our voices they kill us and tell lies about us." They describe his weekly radio program:
Music and humour punctuated his pointed attacks on everyone he thought was ruining Iraq.
Taxi drivers were riveted by the show and callers phoned in to complain about everything - from paying bribes to get running water to politicians who, once elected, moved to the Green Zone, the heavily guarded area where many of Baghdad's government institutions are housed.
Although his favourite targets were corrupt politicians and the Iraqi parliament, he also lashed out at armed groups considered untouchable.
Anne Gowen (Washington Post) reports on the protest in Baghdad and notes Hadi al-Mahdi, "On his radio program, 'To Whoever Listens,' Mahdi loudly criticized Iraqi politicians of every stripe, including Maliki. He had a background in theater, and it showed in his delivery. He often used humor in his attacks. Maliki's officials often had complained about Mahdi's views to the radio station that aired the thrice-weekly talk show, supporters said." Dina al-Shibeeb (Al Arabiya) reports:

Iraqis reacted to the news of Mahdi's death with condemnation and criticized a government they see as increasingly dictatorial and basically unchanged from the rule of its brutal predecessor, Saddam Hussein.
In response to Mahdi's killing, a Facebook group, "We Are All Hadi al-Mahdi," was created, and has attracted 1,700 members.
"In a cowardice operation a criminal hand killed the activist and the organizer of tomorrow's protest ... " one member wrote, while another commentator said "the path of freedom has become the path of martyrdom … the revolution has begun."
One female reader wrote "write all that comes from your souls and hearts, we are all corpses that will be buried one day," and another group member said, "death to Maliki and long live Hadi al-Mahdi."

Al Mada quotes Hanna Edwar stating, "Hadi al-Mahdi was a strong voice calling out attacks on freedom and demanding reforms in the system." Ali Hussein (Al Mada) cals out the assassination and "the silencing of voices of truth and justice" seeing similarities between the current Iraq and Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule, how "many things have not changed." The assassination of Hadi is a cae where "a citizen loses his life with the utmost simplicity due ot the absence of law and the lack of knowledge and responsibility on the part of those who are supposed to implement the law." The assassin accomplished very little because Hadi al-Mahdi remains in the hearts of Iraqis with the same brilliant smile and childlike features. Ali Hussien writes of knowing Hadi and of Hadi's belief in the future of Iraq, of seeing him last in a Baghdad cafe one evening with friends, full of life and talking about his future and the future of Iraq and he saw Iraq as an adventure and living in Baghdad as an adventure. Ali Hussein ends the column wondering, "Who killed Hadi al-Mahdi? I think all of Iraq should be seeking that answer."
The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the assassination and CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney declared, "Iraq remains one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work, and the Iraqi authorities' record of impunity for journalist murders is dismal. Wih this murder, a strong independent voice in Iraq has been silenced. Those who carried out this killing cannot go unpunished." Human Rights Watch issued the following:

(Beirut) -- Iraqi authorities should conduct an immediate, full, and transparent investigation into the September 8, 2011 killing of Hadi al-Mahdi, a popular radio journalist often critical of the government, at his home in Baghdad, and prosecute those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.
"The killing of Hadi al-Mahdi sadly highlights that journalism in Iraq remains a deadly profession," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "After more than six years of democratic rule, Iraqis who publicly express their views still do so at great peril."
Witnesses at the crime scene told Human Rights Watch that they saw no evidence of a struggle or theft, suggesting that the killing was deliberate. Al-Mahdi's cell phone, laptop, and other valuables were left in the house untouched.
Al-Mahdi, a freelance journalist and theater director, had been openly critical of government corruption and social inequality in Iraq. His popular talk radio program, "To Whoever Listens," ran three times a week in Baghdad before he left the show two months ago. The program's appeal was al-Mahdi's fearless and scathing voice, laced with a sense of humor, Human Rights Watch said. Leading up to the country's "Day of Anger" mass pro-democracy and anti-corruption demonstrations on February 25, he became increasingly involved as a vocal organizer of Iraq's new protest movement in Baghdad.
Human Rights Watch spoke with al-Mahdi during the demonstration on February 25, and he stressed the importance of peaceful protest. As riot police began acting aggressively and groups of protesters started to throw hundreds of rocks, Human Rights Watch saw al-Mahdi take a leadership role with those who locked arms and made a human chain between angry crowds and riot police in an attempt to keep the peace. Many who did so were injured by rocks or by the riot police's use of force.
After the protests, security forces arrested him and three other journalists at a Baghdad restaurant. They beat and blindfolded them, and threatened them with torture during their subsequent interrogation. Al-Mahdi told Human Rights Watch after they were released the next day that interrogators had forced him, while blindfolded, to sign what he was told was a criminal confession and also a pledge to refrain from participating in future demonstrations. He showed Human Rights Watch bruises and red marks on his face, neck, and shoulders, as well as on his legs and abdomen.
Al-Mahdi continued to attend and organize many of the weekly Friday demonstrations that followed in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. He told Human Rights Watch that on March 4, an unknown man in the crowd approached him in an intimidating fashion and said that security forces were watching him, and then listed all of the people al-Mahdi had called on his phone that day. Al-Mahdi said on March 11 that in the previous week he had been threatened several times by phone or text message not to return to Tahrir Square.
Al-Mahdi was also one of the prominent organizers of a big demonstration planned for the first Friday after the end of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, on September 9. His Facebook profile picture was an announcement for the demonstration, and he posted the following message describing threats against him in the hours before his death:

Enough ... I have lived the last three days in a state of terror. There are some who call me and warn me of raids and arrests of protesters. There is someone saying that the government will do this and that. There is someone with a fake name coming on to Facebook to threaten me. I will take part in the demonstrations, for I am one of its supporters. I firmly believe that the political process embodies a national, economic, and political failure. It deserves to change, and we deserve a better government. In short, I do not represent any political party or any other side, but rather the miserable reality in which we live. ... I am sick of seeing our mothers beg in the streets and I am sick of news of politicians' gluttony and of their looting of Iraq's riches.
The killing of al-Mahdi follows years of targeted violence against journalists in Iraq. Most recently, on August 29, an assailant beat a prominent journalist, Asos Hardi, in Sulaimaniya with a pistol, requiring Hardi's hospitalization and 32 stitches.
Since the start of protests in Iraq in February over widespread corruption and lack of services, journalists have faced escalating attacks and threats, including from members of the government's security forces.
"In Iraq, we're used to journalists being attacked, but this one was close to the bone," Ammaral-Shahbander, head of the Institute for War and Peace Reportingin Iraq and a friend of al-Mahdi's, told Human Rights Watch after seeing al-Mahdi's body lying in the kitchen at his home. "This attack was different because usually journalists here have been killed in the line of duty, and you expect fatalities in war zones. But sitting in your own home and getting shot like this is too much to bear."
Emad al-Ebadi, another friend of al-Mahdi's, told Human Rights Watch that al-Mahdi confided that he was receiving daily death threats via social media and cell phones with blocked numbers: "He would come to me very upset and angry and shows me the incoming calls to support his allegations. I used to try always to calm him down and tell him to not care that much about these phone calls and advise him to be careful at the same time and stay alert."
Al-Ebadi, a television journalist who has frequently criticized parliamentary and government figures, survived an attempt on his life on November 23, 2009, when unknown assailants shot him in the neck and head.
Al-Shahbander expressed hope that al-Mahdi's killing would not deter Iraq's journalists from reporting on events in the country.
"So many journalists have been kidnapped and killed in Iraq but it doesn't matter how many are tortured, intimidated, or killed -- journalists will continue doing their jobs," he said. "This attack just shows how desperate the enemies of democracy have become."

Amnesty International notes:
The killing of a prominent radio journalist in Baghdad highlights how Iraqi authorities are failing to protect media workers from continued threats and violence, Amnesty International said today.
Hadi al-Mahdi, 44, was shot twice in the head in his flat in the Karrada district of Baghdad yesterday, ahead of a planned protest he was due to attend in the city's Tahrir Square today.
Friends have said he had feared for his life after receiving a string of threats in recent weeks.
"Journalists continue to pay a high price amid the ongoing violence in Iraq, and politically motivated attacks like this must no longer be tolerated," said Philip Luther, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
"Iraqi authorities must roundly condemn Hadi al-Mahdi's killing, carry out a full investigation to identify and bring his killers to justice, and ensure other journalists who face threats are given adequate protection if they request it."
Al-Mahdi was an outspoken political critic, and his popular Radio Demozy show "To Whoever Listens" took on a wide range of issues. No-one across the political spectrum was spared his scrutiny, and his analysis was described as irreverent and witty, drawing on his theatrical background.
Officials in President Nuri al-Maliki's government had reportedly complained to Radio Demozy about the show.
Al-Mahdi stopped broadcasting the show about two months ago, reportedly out of fear for his safety.
Earlier this week, al-Mahdi had been using social media sites to publicize a protest planned for 9 September in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, where he had been attending weekly protests in recent months.
Several hours before he was killed on the eve of the protest, al-Mahdi posted a note on Facebook saying he felt he was in danger:
"I have lived the last three days in a state of terror. There are some who call me and warn of raids and arrests of protesters. There is someone saying that the government will do this and that. There is someone with a fake name coming on to Facebook to threaten me."
Earlier this year, al-Mahdi had told Amnesty International about how a group of at least 15 soldiers detained him and three other journalists on 25 February, after they had attended a pro-reform demonstration in Tahrir Square.
The four journalists were detained overnight for interrogation at the headquarters of the army's 11th division, where al-Mahdi was beaten, given electric shocks and threatened with rape, before being released without charge.
In August, Iraq's Parliament passed a new law on legal protections for journalists, who face ongoing politically motivated threats and attacks. However, the law does not provide for their physical protection.
"Al-Mahdi's murder just a month after this new law was passed merely highlights this major loophole in the measure," said Philip Luther.
"Iraqi authorities must redouble their efforts to ensure journalists can carry out their work in safety."

Read More

One of the few US reporters, and the first, to take seriously the events immediately following the February 25th protests, was Stephanie McCrummen who filed a report the next day for the Washington Post that opened with, "Iraqi security forces detained hundreds of people, including prominent journalists, artists and intellectuals, witnesses said Saturday, a day after nationwide demonstrations brought tens of thousands of Iraqis into the streets and ended with soldiers shooting into crowds." Hadi was among those noted in her article:
Hadi al-Mahdi, a theater director and radio anchor who has been calling for reform, said he was blindfolded and beaten repeatedly with sticks, boots and fists. One soldier put a stick into Hadi's handcuffed hands and threatened to rape him with it, he said.
The soldiers accused him of being a tool of outsiders wishing to topple Maliki's government; they demanded that he confess to being a member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Hadi told them that he blamed Baathists for killing two of his brothers and that until recently he had been a member of Maliki's Dawa Party.
Hadi said he was then taken to a detention cell, his blindfold off, where he said there were at least 300 people with black hoods over their heads, many groaning in bloody shirts. Several told him they had been detained during or after the protests.
Hadi, who comes from a prominent Iraqi family, and his colleagues were released after their friends managed to make some well-placed phone calls.
"This government is sending a message to us, to everybody," he said Saturday, his forehead bruised, his left leg swollen.
And many believe the assassination Thursday of Hadi was another message from the government of Nouri al-Maliki. NPR's Kelly McEvers Tweeted yesterday:
kellymcevers Kelly McEvers
The cold-blooded killing of gov't critic Hadi al Mahdi in #Iraq says as lot about why this country's protest movement petered out.
Kelly McEvers was also one of the few US journalists to take seriously what happened immediately after the February 25th protests. She interviewed Hadi for NPR's Morning Edition (link has text and transcript).
Meanwhile there's a battle going on between Nouri and members of Parliament. Dar Addustour reports Nouri is attempting to force out Judge Rahim Ugaili as the chair of the Integrity Commission. At Nouri's request and under intense pressure, Judge Ugaili tendered his resignation and Parliament is saying not so fast. Ugaili ticked off Nouri as a result of his investigation of alleged corruption among government officials and Nouri wants Ugaili out so that he (Nouri) can go public with files on his political opponents while ensuring that members of his own Cabinet -- who do have files as well -- will not be revealed publicly. In other news of Parliament, the Sadr bloc is attempting to oust Osama al-Nujaifi as Speaker of Parliament. Dar Addustour cites the bloc's Jawad Hasnawi as stating that and tomorrow Parliament meets to review several proposals.
wdunlop87 W.G. Dunlop
#Iraq security forces on Friday found mass grave w/ 40 victims killed in the past two years, police say
In the last two years? No, the violence didn't vanish after 2007 despite the way some outlets attempt to spin it.
Turning to the whitewash of the murder of Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old Iraqi who was beaten and tortured to death in less than two days by the British military in 2003. The British inquiry into it has issued the laughable findings. For reality, we'll note Timothy McDonald's report for The World with Eleanor Hall (Australia's ABC -- link is audio):
Timothy McDonald: Baha Mousa was working at a hotel which British soldiers raided in search of weapons in 2003. He was detained with nine others and within forty-eight hours, he was dead. An autoposy showed that he suffered 93 injuries including fractured ribs and a broken nose. His mother wants the men responsible to be prosecuted.
Baha Mousa's mother: Of course he died as a young man. He was deprived of his youth and his children. His sons are deprived by the British soldiers. They killed him so how could the court release them? We call upon the British government to reconsider the report.
Also worth noting is a video report by Laurence Lee (Al Jazeera -- link is video).
Laurence Lee: Baha Mousa died at the hands of British soldiers who were supposed to be making Iraq a better place. Instead this innocent 26-year-old was subjected to abuse described by this inquiry as "vile and cowardly," "a grave and shameful episode for Britian. ... Here's the crux of it: The soldier being filmed [in the video] called a violent bully was the only one to be jailed even though many more are implicated. The techniques as they're called, like hooding, are illegal under the Geneva Convention. Yet Baha Mousa and nine others were subjected to two days of this. The military unit was operating in a building without doors in the open. Soldiers boasted about what they were doing. It was described as "a free for all." Even before Baha Mousa died, the detainees were described as looking like they were in a car crash. The soldiers were using the so-called five techniques: hooding, sleep deprivation, use of noise, wall standing and food deprivation. All had been banned by the British government in 1972. Yet somehow the soldiers knew all about them.
Somehow they knew these techniques. In 2003, techniques that had been banned 31 years before, before any directly involved had even been born, the soldiers knew these techniques. Was it past-life recall? More likely they knew what to do because they were told what to do. They were trained to do what they did. And the inquiry refused to go there. At the same time, the inquiry refused to blame those higher up the chain of command. If the soldiers weren't doing what they were instructed to do, then the command should have known about it. Their refusal to monitor those serving under them is dereliction of duty. The report refused to indict the chain of command in any way or form.
Laurence Lee: The report calls for better training and says soldiers may not have been clear what was allowed. Lawyers for the Iraq detainees say that's absurd.
Phil Shiner: We've seen the training materials. They've managed to lose the training materials from before the war but we've managed to see the training materials from 2005 and 2008. And they're riddled -- those materials -- they're riddled with techniques which were clearly unlawful -- harshing, get them naked and keep them naked if they won't cooperate.
Laurence Lee: This was the biggest inquiry into professional standards in the British army since the Bloody Sunday investigation into the killings of unarmed Catholics in Northern Ireland forty years ago. It tries simultaneously to say that mistreatment of Iraqis wasn't a one-off but that there was no general culture of abuse. Based on the evidence, some are likely to read it as the continuation of a historical pattern.
The final key failure was not holding those in positions of authority accountable. It is perhaps not surprising that a corporal was the only person punished. The laws of war, which the British government promotes elsewhere in the world, states that those in a position of authority who knew or should have known about a serious offence and failed to prevent it, or to hand the matter over for prosecution, are themselves guilty of crimes.
Senior officers should have been aware of the abuse Mousa was enduring. The inquiry heard that Mousa and his fellow detainees endured repeated beatings and hooding. Hooding is one of the "five techniques" that the British government said 40 years ago it would never use again and is prohibited by the Geneva conventions. Such acts are not just a few soldiers out of control, but require training and orders. In fact, given the knowledge of abuse in Iraq in 2003, the most senior officers and the politicians ultimately in charge should have been aware of the extent of the abuse that was taking place. There is precious little evidence of any steps being taken to stop it.
The editorial board of the Arab Times observes, "Predictably, the British Army response has been that this was an isolated incident. It was not as isolated as they would believe. It was not the only British military crime in Iraq. There was Ahmed Kareem, forcibly drowned in May 2003, allegedly by four British soldiers. Many will say that it was just the most recent in a long line of British military atrocities, stretching from its colonial period in India, South Africa, Kenya and elsewhere to, more recently, the troubles in Northern Ireland." In addition, Nina Lakhani (Independent of London) reports, "The Ministry of Defence is facing legal action by the families of 32 dead Iraqi civilians, who they say were killed unlawfully by British troops, unless it agrees to hold an independent inquiry into the deaths so that lessons can be learnt. Among the dead are Hanaan Salih Matrood, an eight-year-old girl, who died after being shot by a British patrol in August 2003. The MoD denies the deaths were unlawful."
As we wind down, in the US an important tenth anniversary is approaching at the end of the month:
Haymarket Books 10th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, September 30, 2011
Galapagos Art Space
Brooklyn, NY

Haymarket Books is ushering in its tenth year of independent publishing with an evening of drinks, music, and politics at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn on Friday, September 30.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate our first decade and lay the foundation for our next decade.

We will be joined by authors Dave Zirin, Chris Lehmann, Frances Fox Piven, Brian Jones, Moustafa Bayoumi, Michael Schwartz, Jose Vazquez, Jeremy Scahill, and Amy Goodman. We will also have special greetings from Arundhati Roy, Omar Barghouti, John Carlos, China Mieville, Mike Davis, Ilan Pappé, Aviva Chomsky, David Barsamian, Wallace Shawn, and other Haymarket writers.

Doors will open at 7 pm and the event will begin at 8 pm.

Tickets are available now


Buy tickets
Congratulations to Haymarket on ten years, a populace that reads is not only educated, it's (more importantly) informed. Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. We'll close with this from her office on another 10th anniversary, the 9-11 annivesary this Sunday:
Friday, September 09, 2011 (202) 224-2834
Senator Murray's Statement on 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement as the United States prepares to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks this Sunday.
"Ten years ago terrorists attacked our country, our financial center, our military headquarters, and our sense of security. The shocking pictures from that day are still fixed in our minds. Our collective history was changed and none of us will ever be the same. On that day, no matter our differences, where we came from in life, the region of the country, our race, religion, or political party - we were all one thing: Americans.
"This somber anniversary should serve as a reminder to everyone that there truly is more that binds us than divides us. It is our freedom: to live, to prosper, to govern ourselves, and yes – even to disagree. This makes us all Americans.
"Our great nation has withstood many challenges. We have learned and grown together as a result of the attacks of September 11th, and we will never forget that terrible day ten years ago. Our hearts will forever go out to the victims, their friends and family, the volunteers and workers, and the police and firefighters and other first responders who answered the call.
"Our nation must also pay tribute to the men and women in uniform who have answered the call to serve after that fateful day ten years ago. Since the attacks, brave American service members have stepped forward to serve our nation. Many of these service members have done more than one tour of duty abroad – sometimes serving, three, four or even more tours.
"Many who have served have come from the ranks of our National Guard and Reserves and have turned a part time commitment into a full time job protecting our nation. These men and women, who chose to join our all volunteer force, come from all walks of life and from every corner of our nation. They serve as a constant reminder of what our nation can accomplish when differences are put aside in order to move our country forward, and it is our solemn duty to care for them when they return home.
"So as we commemorate this unspeakable tragedy, as we remember the thousands lost, and as we recount the stories of the heroism and compassion, I urge all Americans to remain vigilant, to remember and to revisit the common good that still exists between us all."

Meghan Roh

Deputy Press Secretary

Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray



Get Updates from Senator Murray

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

If you ask me, the whole thing is porn

Sorry about last night. I was just so sick. It was either a virus or food poisoning. Mike and I both felt immensely better after we woke up this morning.

"Libyan Humanitarian disaster deepens as NATO, opposition continue offensive" (Alex Lantier, WSWS):

The humanitarian crisis in Libya is deepening as NATO-backed forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) continue their offensive to crush forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, with the assistance of NATO bombing and special forces troops.

Yesterday AFP reported artillery fire as NTC prepared to attack Surt, Gaddafi’s home city in the center of Libya’s Mediterranean coast. Surt was heavily bombed on Sunday, with NATO concentrating most of its 52 airstrikes on Libya that day on the city.

NTC spokesman Abdulrahman Busin said that talks with loyalists in Surt were continuing, after breaking down when Moussa Ibrahim—a top Gaddafi official—demanded that NTC forces disarm before entering the city.

NTC forces were also observing a tenuous, weeklong truce in their offensive against Bani Walid, a city at a strategic crossroads connecting Misrata and Tripoli to the inland areas. NTC fighters said they suspected leading Gaddafi officials might be there. They have cut off water and electricity supplies to the city, and are reportedly using re-establishment of utilities as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

What is it about modern wars and the news media that forces them to ignore wars before they're ended? I have no idea. But the Libyan War is going the way of Iraq and Afghanistan -- ongoing wars that lose the press interest.

If they aren't interested in wars, what would the media be interested in?

Ava and C.I. answered that question Sunday after tracking the 'news' program Nightline for a week's worth of episodes.

"TV: ABC's Infotainment" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
To watch a week's worth of Nightline is to enter a world where there is no Iraq War, there is no Afghanistan War, there is, in fact, no world beyond the US borders other than "sea world" and the only disasters are natural ones like hurricanes and not economic ones like unemployment.

Last week, this program that brags "from the global resources of ABC News" served up such important "news" stories as "What's Susan Lucci like when she's not working," "hilarious big screen bloopers," "Marc Anthony speaks [. . .] in his first interview since their break-up," "plus baby for Beyonce."

At least the Marc Anthony segment was broadcasting for the first time. The show's been cut from 30 minutes down to 25 (17 without commercials) and it still can't fill a show with new material. So you got "an encore presentation" of the interview with soap opera star Susan Lucci and an "encore presentation" of a segment that was part of their "Faith Matters" series -- Christians who kick box.

In fairness, we should note there was a health story last week. Are you worried that, as Verizon is currently doing, your employer will drop your health plan (possibly as a result of ObamaCare in 2014)? Well they didn't address that. Maybe you're concerned about the continued rising costs of health care? Well they didn't care about that either.

But they did find a health story they cared about, one that apparently effected them deeply and personally. Cynthia McFadden breathlessly announced "a health crisis in a billion dollar business" and explained that a porn actor had just tested HIV-positive. And, such the news woman!, McFadden even provided context, reminding viewers that this also happened in 2004 before continuing, "Here's David Wright for our series 'Modern Sex in America'."

Does that not make it perfectly clear what the 'news' priorities are?

Beyonce's baby bump, Marc Anthony's divorce, Susan Lucci's shoe shopping and porn. If you ask me, the whole thing is porn.

That they will cover and insist it is news while ignoring the wars.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, September 7, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, more talk of the US extending the military presence in Iraq beyond 2011, Iraq gets good news with regards to phosphates, the KRG prime minister states Nouri's acting like a dicator, as does a member of the Iraqi Parliament, and more.
Thomas E. Ricks used to be a journalist. Then he became a COINista and went to work for a think tank and tried to continue passing himself off as journalist. Overseas, they were the first to catch on to the charade. Campuses in this country have caught in even if some outlets haven't. Today Tommy turns in a piece so shoddy it's difficult to believe he was ever a journalist. His blog is "Best Defense" and we're not linking because he's engaged with his usual circle jerk (including CIA contractor Juan Cole) and we don't need any diseases from Tommy's whoring. With the help of a guardrail, he mounts his high horse to declare (his now standard) "Suppose we gave a war in Iraq and nobody here cared?" You mean yourself, Thomas? This is only the second time he's written about Iraq since July 27th. We'll come back to Tommy.
Today Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) cover the news Fox broke yesterday but forget to give credit to those who broke that news. They do point out that keeping 3,000 troops in Iraq after December 31st could cause problems:

It also reflected the tension between Mr. Obama's promise to bring all American forces home and the widely held view among commanders that Iraq is not yet able to provide for its own security. And it reflected the mounting pressures to reduce the costs of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, both wars that have become increasingly unpopular as the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches.

Felecia Sonmez (Washington Post) notes Fox News broke the story and that the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, states she will do her part to block any effort to drop the number of US troops to 3,000. She expresses her belief that the US needs to remain in Iraq to ensure what she sees as gains. Mackenzie Weinger (POLITICO) notes that Fox News broke the story and notes, "The other proposal, presented at the Pentagon recently by the senior U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. Lloyd Austin, would keep 14,000 to 18,000 troops there." David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) observes, "As the deadline nears, some senior U.S. and Iraqi officials warn that Iraq's army and police, despite billions of dollars in aid from Washington and its allies, will be unable to contain sectarian violence or prevent neighboring Iran from expanding its operations if U.S. forces are drawn down too far."
Back to Thomas E. Ricks, when not pushing his sins off on others, he reveals just what a dullard he is. Does no one read? We gave Fox News credit for breaking the story about one option the White House has. One. But we also noted in yesterday's snapshot:
On the issue Fox News reported on and that Norah O'Donnel asked about, Lolita C. Baldor, Rebecca Santana, Lara Jakes and Robert Burns (AP) report that the White House "is reviewing a number of options" but that a request needs to be made before Barack can decide which option to go with.
I'm all for giving credit where it's due but Fox News was not the only one reporting and certainly Baldor, Santana, Jakes and Burns are a formidable team with a strong track record to point to. So why is everyone ignoring their report?
Today Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) zooms in on the Fox News report and asks, "One thing much of the media commentary has neglected so far?" The AP story. (No, he doesn't say that, but that is the answer.) David Jackson (USA Today) also manages to ignore the AP story.
Today Jakes, Burns and Baldor team up Donna Cassata and Julie Pace (AP) report that the White House is insisting they've made no decision yet with James Jeffrey insisting that 3,000 is not a number tossed around in the "ongoing discussions in Baghdad, where both governments have been weighing whether as many as 10,000 U.S. forces should stay." The AP team also reports that "Iraqi officials" were taken aback by the 3,000 number (apparently they missed AP's report yesterday as well). Sunlen Miller (ABC News) reports Senators Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, John McCain decried the 3,000 to 4,000 number from the Senate floor saying it was too low. In addition, John T. Bennett (The Hill) reports Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin states he's "not concerned" by leaving 3,000 US troops in Iraq while the House Armed Services Chair Buck McKeon states "more American troops must remain in Iraq to preserve what he sees as U.S. victory there." Reuters offers Senator Carl Levin's statements at greater length, "I don't think it's appropriate for us to be pressing the Iraqis to be asking us for troops. We ought to consider a request . . . But for us to be sending a message that 'you need us,' is the wrong message, I believe." Kevin Baron (Stars and Stripes) notes that conservative and centrist think tanks are also in a tizzy feeling the number would be too small. Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) adds, "US military commanders, led by Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the senior commander in Iraq, are proposing that up to 18,000 US troops remain in Iraq after the year-end pull-out date." MJ Lee (POLITICO) quotes US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stating, "No decision has been made. [. . .] They have indicated a desire, obviously, for our trainers to be there, and obviously, that would probably be at the core of whatever negotiations take place." Greg Jaffe and Annie Gowen (Washington Post) remind that numbers isn't the only issue, there is also what remaining troops will be doing in Iraq. Their lede is worth noting:
This much is clear: There will likely be some kind of U.S. military presence in Iraq after 2012.
James Kitfield (National Journal) adds, "The Iraqis had indicated that they might have been willing to accept 10,000 residual U.S. forces, a senior U.S. military official with extensive experience in Iraq told National Journal." Whatever the number, they're supposed to be 'trainers.' Jason Ditz ( observes, "Spinning the continued US presence as a (mostly) training mission should please Prime Minister Maliki, who has repeatedly insisted he doesn't need parliamentary approval to keep US trainers in the nation. Parliament was deeply divided over the prospect of a continued occupation, and such a vote was expected to be difficult." In addition, yesterday Julian E. Barnes, Adam Entous and Siobhan Gorman (Wall St. Journal) reported the US military "commanders and intelligence officers" are advocating "for greater authority to conduct covert operations" within Iraq allegedly "to thrwart Iranian influence" and that if the White House signs off on the request, "the authorization for the covert activity in Iraq likely would take the form of a classified presidential 'finding'." How many troops would be left behind for cover operations? That information would, of course, be "classified" and not released to the public.
Staying on the topic but moving over to what's said from Iraq, Al Mada reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani is stating that civil war is likely if US troops withdraw from Iraq at the end of this year. Barzani was speaking yesterday at a conference in Erbil and stressing the KRG position that US forces remain needed in Iraq. He further stated that this was the opinion of all political blocs in Iraq and discussed away from the microphones; however, for public consumption, few are willing to speak honestly. Bazani noted the issue of the Constitution's Article 140 which calls for the resolving on the Kirkuk issue. By end of 2007, a census and referendum were supposed to have taken place to determine the fate of the oil-rich and disputed Kirkuk. However, Nouri al-Maliki refused to follow the Constitution and, all these years later, no referendum has been held, no census taken. He also called out Nouri al-Maliki's refusal to follow the Erbil Agreement.

Background, following the March 7, 2010 parliamentary elections, Iraq entered Political Stalemate I -- a nine month period where nothing was accomplished. The blocs met in Erbil at the start of November 2010 to hammer out an agreement, the Erbil Agreement, which provided the various political blocs with at least one win each. For example, State of Law came in second but their leader Nouri al-Maliki was allowed to retain the position of prime minister. Once the Erbil Agreement was agreed to, Parliament held a session and began moving forward. Iraqiya came in first in the March 2010 elections and at the session of Parliament, a number of their members walked out when it became obvious to them that the Erbil Agreement was tossed into the trash by Nouri once he was named prime minister-designate. Those Iraqiya members were not mistaken about what was happening. By the end of December 2010, Iraq had entered Political Stalemate II as a result of Nouri's inability to follow the Erbil Agreement. September 25th, it will be nine months since the start of Political Stalemate II. Again, the first political stalemate lasted nine months.

In the speech, Barzani raised the issue of the recent draft oil law that Nouri's Cabinet is proposing. Barzani called it out stating that it disregards the Constitution and said that Nouri is behaving like a dictator. It's an observation others are making as well. Aswat al-Iraq quotes Iraqiya MP Khalid Abdullah al-Alwani stating that "the present government, headed by Premier Nouri al-Maliki, is similar to a dictatorship, with one ruler and one party, without real partnership, just in name. There are no consulations in government affairs and non-implementation of Arbil agreement."
And speaking of violence and destruction, Tony Hayward's back in the news. Graeme Wearden (Guardian) reports:

Tony Hayward has sealed a deal to exploit the oil fields of Iraq's Kurdistan region, landing the former BP boss an expected windfall of around £14m.

Hayward's return to the oil industry was finalised on Wednesday as his new investment vehicle, called Vallares, agreed a merger with Genel Energy International of Turkey. The deal will deliver an estimated £176m windfall for Hayward and his fellow backers of Vallares, including Nat Rothschild.

Iraqis need to be asking how these deals were made and who made the decision that Iraqi lives and Iraqi water ways were so unimportant that the man who oversaw the BP Gulf Disaster was just waived on in. Agustino Fontevecchia (Forbes) observes, "Hayward will be once again at the helm of an oil and gas company after the disastrous accident in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 and producing one of the worst natural disasters ever in the region. Hayward, who was replaced by BP's current CEO Bob Dudley, was blamed by many for not doing enough on time to ameliorate the problems."

In other news, citing Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, the Associated Press reports that Iraq and Kuwait are no longer in conflict over Kuwait's proposed port. Fang Yang (Xinhua) reports, "Iraq may close its main border point with Kuwait to put pressure on its neighboring country to change the location of its controversial huge port on the joint navigation channel to the Gulf, an official newspaper reported Wednesday." Yang cites Iraq's Minister of Transportation Hadi al-Amri as the official. Al Sabaah is the newspaper in question and it runs a very brief item which notes that if the port goes through, Kuwait will no longer need to send items through Iraq and that this would harm Iraq's economy. Zebari apparently didn't read Parliament in on the 'resolved' issue. They're planning to address what Dar Addustour calls "the crisis" and that includes rumors that Iraqi MPs have been paid off by Kuwaiti officials.

In other news, David Blair (Financial Times of London) reports that it's been discovered Iraq has "the second biggest phosphate reserves in the world, after Morocco." In 2010, the Guardian explained, "Phosphorous is an essential nutrient for plant growth, along with nitrogen and potassium. It is a key component in DNA and plays an essential role in plant energy metabolism. Without it, crops would fail, causing the human food chain to collapse.
Phosphate production is predicted to peak around 2030 as the global population expands to a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050. And unlike oil, where there are renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels, there is no substitute for phosphorus, according to the US Geological Survey."
Yesterday there were many Iraq issues to address and the biggest one was the issue of the various scenarios for keeping US troops in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline. So we really weren't too interested in this column by Bill Keller. It could wait and waiting would allow us to see if Greg Mitchell had anything to offer.
He had nothing and that's far more depressing than anything in Bill Keller's column. Bill Keller was a columnist for the New York Times in the lead up to the illegal war. He made the decision to disgrace his reputation, such as it was, by becoming a War Hawk. Though Chris Hedges would be savaged by the paper for a speech he gave against the war, being for it cost you nothing. This was demonstrated when the pro-war Bill Keller was promoted from opinion columnist to executive-editor four months after the start of the Iraq War.
Jill Abramson is now executive editor of the paper, the first woman to hold that post. Bill Keller has returned to being a columnist. It's a weird step-down and I can't think of, for example, any former editors of the Washington Post doing anything similar, but to each their own. This year, Keller was seen, rightly or wrongly, as using his position as executive-editor (that he still held at that time) to grab onto a column at the front of The New York Times Sunday Magazine (he was seen as doing that within the paper -- the minor criticism of those columns from outside the paper were nothing compared to the internal criticism). He's now a columnist for the paper and not the magazine as a result.
As a columnist these days, his genius is for tossing out ideas. He fails to develop these -- whether it be his column on Twitter or the one yesterday -- and they're poorly written. But they do attract a flurry of media attention suggesting that he remains an ideas person if not a writer. Joe Coscarelli (New York Magazine) wrote a strong critique of Keller's Monday column and noted the column weighed in at "nearly 3,500 words." (It has not gone unnoted by Times reporters that Keller is allowed a word count that they could only dream of, even for breaking news. Nor that, as executive-editor, Keller failed to champion long pieces and instead insisted that "Middle America" dictated the paper print more short pieces.) And along came The Nation's Greg Mitchell.
Keller wrote a column of nearly 3,500 words. Monday, Greg wrote a 'critique' that ran over 1,600 with the promise that he'd return to the topic today. Over 1600 words. And he was going to return to the topic today. (He failed to keep that promise. No surprise.)
And yet where's The Nation's coverage of the White House scenarios for keeping US troops in Iraq? When I spoke to a friend with the magazine this morning -- close to this afternoon -- I was asked, "What scenarios?" It was in the news yesterday (see yesterday's snapshot) and it's covered in today's papers. Do they not read at The Nation these days?
Having (falsely) sold Barack as anti-war, you'd think The Nation would be on top of efforts to extend the US military presence in Iraq beyond 2011. Apparently, it's more important that they pretend the world stopped (or at least world problems did) when Bush left office. And that's a bit of Greg Mitchell's problem.
If you're going to take on Bill Keller's column -- for nearly 1700 words -- you should have something worth saying. Mitchell accuses Keller of, basically, serving up reheated mashed potatoes that were cooked several days ago which, for the record, is what Greg Mitchell himself does.
I don't know Bill Keller's motives for writing the column. I will not forget his war cheerleading before the start of the war. I won't excuse it. Nothing in the column suggests he's taken accountablity for it. The topic most likely was chosen because he knew it would garner attention (again, ideas he can come up with, execution is Bill's problem).
If I were going to hold Bill Keller accountable for his actions, I don't know that I'd rely on Judith Miller. Her pre-war reporting is before Keller's executive-editor. Where in Greg Mitchell's nearly 1700 words is that noted? Greg can't shut up about Judith Miller. That field's been plowed several times over. Time to rotate the crops, Greg.
Greg Mitchell has never had objectivity and he's also lacked sense. No where is that more clear than in his attack on Bill Keller for the paper's backing Judith Miller when erstwhile federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. The paper was correct to defend Miller. It would be correct to defend any journalist who refused to name sources. And a case that can't be made without compelling reporters to testify about sources is a case that was weak to begin with. (See the current witchhunt efforts to force James Risen to testify about his source or sources.) Keller's decision to defend Miller was controversial because Judith Miller was controversial. In terms of principals, it was the right thing to do and Keller deserves applause for his decision there.
But Greg Mitchell's beyond the thought required for that. He's not much of a thinker -- he struggles with comprehension, as we've noted at Third. And when he's caught in factual errors, he changes them without noting he's altered them. So it's not surprising to read the 1700 words and hear Greg whine endlessly about the coverage of Colin Powell's speech to the UN and the WMD coverage ahead of the war and all the other things that the paper did . . . when Keller wasn't executive-editor.
It's a bit hard, I guess, to do the real criticism necessary. The real criticism would be calling out the Iraq reporting under Keller. That would be the Burnsie & Dexy Green Zone frolics. By the time Keller becomes executive-editor, the Iraq War has started. His era's problem is not pre-war coverage, it is the stenography that kept the Iraq War going. His problem is 'reporting' that appeared many, many days after it should have. Why does a report on a November 15, 2004 battle appear on the front page of the November 21, 2004 edition of the New York Times? Why the delay? Unless the paper's allowed the military to vet the copy before they published it.
Dexter Filkins is another Judith Miller because, if you buy into the argument that Miller got us into Iraq, or helped to get us into Iraq, it's Dexter Filkins and his lik that keep us there. He wants to reflect on his time in Iraq but not in any meaningful way. For instance, he doesn't want to talk about the limited realities he does see (from the Green Zone) or, for that matter, that his movements are limited. The ultimate embed has promoted the myth that Iraq was a place where he could move freely in article after article. (And the Times has mainly relied on stringers, Iraqis, to explore the areas outside the Green Zone.)
Truth in advertising (because we won't call it "reporting") would have meant a lot more Americans would have grapsed earlier what the reality was.
Bill Keller should be pushed on the issue of the use of white phosphorus used on the residents of Falluja and how Dexter didn't report on it. Bill Keller should especially have to explain how Abeer Qasim Hamza was repeatedly nameless in the paper? Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) filed a major report when the news broke that the military's story -- ran with no questioning or skepticism by the New York Times -- from months prior was false, that 'insurgents' had not attacked a family home, that it was US soldiers and that they gang-raped 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, murdered her, murdered her five-year-old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza and both of her parents Wassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen. And Ellen Knickmeyer named the victims. The New York Times rendered them invisible over and over again. To read the New York Times coverage was to wonder if the "14-year-old girl" who was raped and killed by US soldiers had a name. She didn't in one report after another. She didn't during the court martials, she didn't have a name.
Ask Bill Keller how that happened? Ask him how the paper 'reported' ahead of the Article 32 hearing? Because what the paper did was present the defense case. Before the defense did. A defense that military law expert Eugene Fidell would state, after it was presented at the Article 32 hearing, "This is not a defense known to the law." But days before, the paper had a 'report' that argued just what the defense did. How did that happen?
Ask Bill Keller why Dexter Filkins did campus appearances in 2006 claiming that he wasn't allowed to print what was really happening in Iraq?
There are many things regarding the Iraq coverage during Bill Keller's reign as executive-editor to complain about (there are many things to praise as well: Sabrina Tavernise, Damien Cave, Alissa J. Rubin, Tim Arango, etc.). I'm not really sure why he's expected to forever answer for the coverage by other people before he was executive-editor. One reason may be that, as usual, Greg Mitchell's unable to do the work required to launch anything but a critique that's been gone over and over and over by every outlet except the New York Times. By the way, while The Nation remains silent over the talk of extensions, long, long ago Elisabeth Bumiller was reporting on that for the New York Times. Don't expect Greg Mitchell to ever note that either.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Read the snapshot

C.I. tells one of my favorite character sketches in the snapshot today. Because of that and because she's dealing with the White House plans for non-withdrawal, I'm posting. I'm too sick to be posting. Mike and I both have the flu or stomach poisoning because we've thrown up most of the day.

So I'll just say tonight: Read the snapshot.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Norah O'Donnell presses the White House to go on the record about Iraq, politics remains murky in Iraq, a new cable reveals Blackwater guards didn't really leave Iraq, and more.
Danny Schechter (ZNet) notes US President Barack Obama is set to deliver another speech, this one on Thursday and supposedly focusing on jobs:
Attention, collapsing Economy: you finally have the big man's attention. Nearly 70 organizations are pressing the President to take strong action.
Please give him a break. He's been busy tending Empire business -- waging GWOT warfare on IraqAfghanistanLibyaYemenPakistanSomalia et. al . . .
Call it the greatest "long war" in American history: an unending and unbelievably expensive intervention justified as necessary to keep us safe.
But the Iraq War made no one safe. Iraqis aren't safe, and we'll get to that later in the snapshot, but neither is "the west." The former head of British intelligence, MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller just said so in a recent speech.
Eliza Manningham-Buller: War was declared on a rogue state, an easier target than an elusive terrorist group based mainly at that stage in the difficult terrain of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And, in my view, whatever the merits of putting an end to Saddam Hussein, the war was also a distraction from the pursuit of al Qaeda. It increased the terror threat by convincing more people that Osama bin Laden's claim that Islam was under attack was correct. It provided an arena for the jihad for which he had called so that many of his supporters including British citizens traveled to Iraq to attack western forces. It also showed very clearly that foreign and domestic policies are intertwined, actions overseas have an impact at home and our involvement in Iraq spurred some young British Muslims to turn to terror.
BBC News has video here and notes, "She was speaking during her first 2011 Reith Lecture, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 6 September 2011 at 09:00 BST and repeated on Saturday 10 September at 22:15 BST. You can also listen via the BBC iPlayer or download the programme podcast." In the US, Richard Cohen (New York Daily News) observes:

This is a melancholy season in Washington, much talk about the decline of America and how our vaunted system has broken down. I won't quibble. But the most consequential breakdown of our system is exemplified by waging an unnecessary war and then - history, brace yourself - the reelection of the incompetents who had done it. Is it possible that for all the treacly talk about "the fallen" and all our salutes to the troops, we care so little about them that we casually gave second terms to the very people who wasted their lives?
This lack of accountability is not limited to our ill-conceived military adventures. After all, the financial system collapsed, but afterward there were no metaphorical hangings. People of modest means, suckers fooled into thinking a home of their own was a gift of citizenship, lost it all, but the guys at the top had a couple of bad years and then got the bonuses they were accustomed to. We are a get-over-it nation, always moving on.
Still, Iraq was different. Lives, not homes, were lost - and the Middle East was thrown up into the air.
And the Iraq War continues. Over the weekend, Aswat al-Iraq quoted from a statement by Humam Hammoudi, "head of the Iraqi Parliamentary Foreign Relations Commission," which says of the issue of a US withdrawal: "we are waiting the PrimeMinister to present a new agreement following the U.S. forces withdrawal for the training cadres." Al Mada reports today that Iraqi Gen Anwar Hamad Amin has released a statement stating that Iraq will need "years" to be able to secure their own air space and that, post-2011, they will continue to need US air support. But the big news happens because of Fox News.
Today, they reported, "The Obama administration has decided to drop the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of the year down to 3,000, marking a major downgrade in force strength, multiple sources familiar with the inner workings and decisions on U.S. troop movements in Iraq told Fox News." They reported that US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had agred to it and they quoted Panetta denying that any decision had been made. Some rushed to slam Fox News. Why? Today Norah O'Donnell, CBS News, raised the issue of Iraq.
Norah O'Donnell: And can I turn to Afghanistan and ask whether the President has received a recommendation from Secretary Panetta to reduce the number of troop levels to about 3,000 by year's end?
Jay Carney: I think you mean Iraq.
Norah O'Donnell: Excuse me, Iraq. Thank you. I misspoke.
Jay Carney: No. And the process has -- as you know, we are operating under a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government that was signed by the previous administration to draw down our forces. We are in negotiations, consultations with the Iraqi government about what our relationship with Iraq will look like going forward. We want a normal, productive, healthy relationship with Iraq going forward. We have said in the past that if the security component of that relationship -- if the Iraqi government makes a request of us, we will certainly consider it. That request has not been made. No decisions have been made. And so we are operating as of now under the existing agreements.
Norah O'Donnell: I understand those negotiations are underway. But the question specifically, though, is has Secretary Panetta delivered a recommendation to the President --
Jay Carney: No, I think what I -- This is contingent upon what our relationship looks like with Iraq, and that component of it depends on our negotiations with the Iraqi government.
Wendell Goler: Will budgetary concerns be a part of the President's decision about how many troops to leave in Iraq?
Jay Carney: The President has I think made abundantly clear for a long time now that he will end and has ended our efforts in Iraq, our combat efforts, responsibly. We have been operating on a timetable that has withdrawn over 100,000 U.S. forces since he took office in a way that has been incredibly careful and responsible, and has allowed the Iraqis to further build up their security forces and improve their capacities. And uh, the -- Wh-what our relationship looks like going forward with Iraq will depend upon our negotiations with the Iraqi government.
Wendell Goler: And not concerns about how much it costs?
Jay Carney: I think we live in a world of, uh -- where resources aren't infinite, and that -- that's the case with every consideration we make. But the answer is we will uh-uh make decisions based on what is the best for the United States, best for our national security interests and best for having the most effective relationship with Iraq going forward.
Norah's with CBS News, Wendell Goler is with Fox News. The is the most Jay Carney has spoken of the Iraq War. A war that has no cease fire. A war that has no peace treaty. A war that is ongoing. A war that the White House should be asked of regularly. Today they were forced to address it. They should. The State Dept is forever being asked about Iraq. Why isn't the White House? Is Barack not the commander-in-chief? Was an executive order signed that no one knows of?
If not, the White House needs to be pressed on what is going on with Iraq.Victoria Nuland, State Dept spokesperson, is a better speaker than Jay Carney to begin with. But part of the reason she's not forever stammering and uh-uh-ing her way through Iraq issues is because she's regularly forced to address it. That includes today:
MS. NULAND: On Iraq. Yeah.
QUESTION: The [Kurd] president, Masoud Barzani, has told the U.S. forces to stay in Iraq, and warning of a civil war if the American forces withdraw. What can you tell them?
MS. NULAND: I think our public position, our private position, hasn't changed, that our plan is to withdraw by the end of the year. Were the Iraqi Government to come forward and make a request for some continued security assistance, we would be prepared to look at it.
QUESTION: Do you consider this call as a request from an Iraqi leader?
MS. NULAND: Well, we have heard many different views from individual Iraqi leaders, but they have a government, and we need to hear a united view from the government.
QUESTION: There was an article, a very lengthy article, by Ayad Allawi last week basically calling for that, so that's the head of a major political Iraqi bloc. Now you have the Kurds calling for that. There are talks of some sort of behind the scene agreements between the Pentagon and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense for a rotation. And so, did you know of that?
MS. NULAND: I mean, it's clear that a lot of Iraqis are thinking about this and talking about it. But obviously, we couldn't get into a discussion on the basis of informal comments by individual Iraqis.
QUESTION: I guess the question is: Is the United States flexible enough to accept such a request when it happens?
MS. NULAND: Again, you're taking me into hypotheticals as to when this might happen. Our view hasn't changed, that if they have something that they would like us to do, we're prepared to look at it.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. NULAND: Please.
QUESTION: Is there any --
MS. NULAND: Oh, sorry. Still on Iraq?
QUESTION: Is there any possibility to make a deal with north Iraq regarding the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq instead of waiting for a request from the Iraqi Government?
MS. NULAND: I think we have for many years operated on the basis of a single policy with regard to a unitary Iraq. I don't see that changing.
On the issue Fox News reported on and that Norah O'Donnel asked about, Lolita C. Baldor, Rebecca Santana, Lara Jake and Robert Burns (AP) report that the White House "is reviewing a number of options" but that a request needs to be made before Barack can decide which option to go with.
As noted earlier, the Iraq War didn't make Iraq safer for Iraqis. Lara Jakes (AP) reports on the mood of Iraqis and notes, "Security is a key indicator of Iraq's future -- it drives business investment, government policy decisions and the psyche of the war-torn nation. In interviews across Baghdad, Iraqis cited the random daily bombings and shootings that continue to kill people here. At least under Saddam, they say, they knew they could avoid being targeted by violence by simply staying quiet." Reuters notes a Baghdad sticky bombing left two people injured and a Haditha attack on the military left 8 Iraqi service members dead with one more injured.
Yesterday Al Rafidayn reported on the political intrigue in Iraq. A healthy portion of the National Alliance is the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council headed by Amar al-Hakim and they are calling for pressure on Nouri's government to force it to provide basic services. And there may be an effort to form a majority government -- an effort which would sidestep Nouri and his political slate (State Of Law). Iraqiya's MP Talal Zaobaie states that Iraqiya, parts of the National Alliance, the Kurdistan Alliance and Sadr's bloc can come together to form a majority government which would shut out Nouri. As the article notes, Nouri began floating a threat that they would shut others (sometimes defined as Iraqiya) out of the goverment by tossing aside what currently existed and forming a majority government. Zaobaie insists if such a move was taken, everyone would be welcome provided they weren't part of the effort which harmed advancing the ministries (naming heads to the ministries) or part of the effort interfering with ending corruption. The article notes that the Sadr bloc has already stated that the government's response to the upcoming protests will determine whether or not they (the Sadr bloc) will withdraw confidence from the government. Supposedly this potential alliance would have at least 180 members (therefore 180 votes) and they would be able to push through a measure to withdraw confidence in Nouri's government and then establish a new majority government which, the assertion is, would avoid sectarian strife.

Al Mada also picks up the story and mainly adds input from the Sadr bloc via Jawad al-Jubouri who states that the bloc will suport Nouri or anyone who pushes for a government that serves its citizens. The newspaper also notes that State of Law MP Ammar al-Shibli is declaring that this plan demonstrates that State of Law must move towards forming a majority government. Dar Addustour's coverage emphasizes that such a plan would shut out certain "leaders of their lists" (more than just Nouri) and that this appears to be an effort to punish these leaders for the failures of government.

That was yesterday. Today UPI reports that Moqtada al-Sar has issued a call for "resistance" over the US "temporarily closing" Baghdad International Airport and Iraq's air space August 30th. Maybe this 'brave' stand will cover up his latest cave. After much bellowing from his bloc and Moqtada himself, Reuters reports his big protest isn't even on, doesn't have a date and that he announced yesterday Nouri al-Maliki had one "last chance" to work on reforms it was supposed to have implemented long ago. Reuters reminds, "Earlier this year Sadr had given Maliki six months to accelerate reforms after protesters took to the streets across the country demanding more electricity and jobs and better government services."

Al Mada also reports on First Lady Moqtada's latest drama and notes there are conflicting views on the political feasibility of it. State of Law's Adnan al-Sarraj insists that the government does not currently have the resources to make the improvements necessary. Readers of the article leave blistering comments that might surprise the western press still so sure Moqtada is a beloved and important 'force' within Iraq. The first comment questions Moqtada's ethics and wants to know exactly what is "your salary? Has the electricity gone out in your home? Are your children sharing hell with us in Iraq or have they been scattered outside of Iraq?" The second comment starts with the premise that he and his bloc are the "scourge" in Iraq and expands from there. The third comment opens with sarcasm before pointing out that Moqtada himself is part of the government. He can take comfort that the fourth comment condemns all in government. Dar Addustour notes that Moqtada's statement sent out yesterday is a refusal to topple Nouri's government and that Baghdad is demanding permits for any protests taking place (this Friday, the youth activists plan to return to Tahrir Square and protest).

Meanwhile Al Rafidayn reports the KRG is stating Nouri is becoming a dictator who disregards political agreements and they are calling for the withdrawal of the draft oil law his Cabinet announced they'd devised last week. The KRG states that the draft conflicts with the Constitution and other laws and they call for it to be withdrawn by the Cabinet or rejected by the Parliament. That outcry comes as Nouri is set to meet with the KRG's prime minister. Al Sabaah notes Barham Salih and Nouri have a previous scheduled meeting.
Yesterday W.G. Dunlop (AFP) reports on a recently leaked State Dept cable which explains that although Blackwater was banned from Iraq in 2010 as a result of the September 16, 2007 slaughter in Baghdad where they shot at and killed Iraqi civilians, the same security guards/mercenaries/contractors who had been working for Blackwater just switched over to other firms (such as DynCorp and Triple Canopy) and continued to work in Iraq. It's not noted in the cable whether or not the information was shared with the Iraqi government but it most likely wasn't due to the fact that the position of the US Embassy in Baghdad was that they needed Triple Canopy to protect their staff. Press TV discussed the latest disclosed cable with Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation's Sabah Jawad:

Press TV: Who are the Americans trying to deceive, why are they using guards who have committed crimes against the people of Iraq?

Jawad: There are two aspects regarding these Blackwater [operations]. Obviously, the Iraqi government knows about these people operating in the country despite the fact they have changed their name from Blackwater to Xe [Services]. They [Iraqi officials] should know better than allow these people to still operate in Iraq. The second thing it shows is the total mentality behind the American occupation of Iraq; they have been killing Iraqi people since 2003, and even before that, since they actually began to get involved in the affairs of Iraq and after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. It is total disregard for the lives of innocent people in Iraq and we have many examples that when they (Blackwater employees] are proven to have committed crimes against the Iraqi people, in fact sometimes they are treat as heroes. We have reports recently in the United States that a couple of guys who used to operate in Iraq are planning for local election and even Congress and they are boating about crimes in Iraq. There is no justice as far as American occupation of Iraq is concerned. The Americans are not subjected international or Iraqi or any law for the matter, even the US's laws. These people get away with murder and they will continue to do so until the Iraqi government does something about them and we see the back of American occupation in Iraq.

Last week, another cable garnered press attention. It addressed the Ishaqi slaughter of 2006, when US forces handcuffed a family and then shot each one dead in the head -- including children. As noted Friday, Matt Schofield reported on it at length in real time. His first report ran March 19, 2006 (Knight Ridder Newspapers, now McClatchy). Saturday Matt Schofield (McClacthy) reported more on the latest developments:

Five years after reporting on what I came to call the Ishaqi Incident, five years after it had largely been forgotten in this country, five years after sleepless nights and bouts of despondency began, I found myself thinking again of five innocent faces, their bodies covered by blankets in the back of a pickup truck in Baghdad.
It came back in an unexpected manner: through WikiLeaks. What happened March 15, 2006, in Ishaqi, Iraq, was the topic of an unclassified diplomatic cable by Philip Alston that came to light in the last few days.
Alston has one of those titles that won't quit: United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
His job is much simpler: When very bad things happen, he looks into them. Sometimes those things happen in Kenya or the Congo. Sometimes in Afghanistan or Iraq. Rarely, Americans are involved.
What happened in Ishaqi, no matter whom you listen to, was very bad.
PJAK is a rebel Kurdish group engaged in an independence struggle with the Iranian government. PJAK has set up camp in northern Iraq. David Batty (Guardian) reports that Iranian military spokesperson Hamid Ahmadi has declared Iran has killed 40 PJAKs and that PJAK declared a ceasefire but Iran is rejecting it stating they want the PJAK out of certain (Iraqi) areas. And should that happen? Xinhua reports that Hamid Ahmadi stated "that after the withdrawal of PJAK, talks will be held on truce if deemed necessary" -- if PJAK withdraws from Iraqi areas, the Iranian government may or may not go for a truce, they'll decide after. Aswat al-Iraq adds that Ali Akbar Salihy, Foreign Minister of Iran, is due to visit Erbil in the KRG shortly to meet with Kurdish leaders to discuss "border attacks." In addition, Aswat al-Iraq reports that Massoud Barzani, President of the KRG, is due to visit Tehran.

As attacks take place and Iran's dispatched their military, the Iranian government traffics in fantasy. Press TV reports, "The state-funded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is seeking to encourage the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) terrorist group to continue militant attacks against Iraq." Back on the planet earth, Aswat al-Iraq reports on the civilian population effected, "The Kurdish local authorities of Soran Qadha, Arbil, declared that the Iranian bombings of border villages continued into today, and covered populated areas in Seedkan, north of Arbil. The shelling resulted in overall panic in the area, likely related to the death of one woman and wounding of two civilians in yesterday's bombing."

And a demonstration is planned for Wednesday in Erbil to protest the attacks on northern Iraq by both the Iranian military and the Turkish military.
Turning back to the US. It's an interview that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter and it's not a skit from a Christopher Guest film. The two are actually serious. The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild and CODEPINK's Jodi Evans. But before we get to that. Elaine's begged me for years to share here my first meeting with Jodi Evans and never has it been more appropriate.
I know Jerry Brown. Via his campaigns, I was aware of Jodi who worked on them. (I mainly donated to them.) At some point after he was elected governor, I finally was face to face with Jodi one day when I arrived for a scheduled meeting (non-governmental business, but it was scheduled) and he came out of his office to apologize that he was running late but had I met Jodi (formally I hadn't) and if I needed anything while I waited, she could get it. So Jodi and I said our hellos and I asked for a Tab (this was the seventies). Jodi stopped to answer a phone call. Then she explained just how much pressure she was under. And she certainly sounded as if she was. And this went on for about ten to fifteen minutes before Jerry was done with his meeting at which point I went off to speak with Jerry while puzzling over his in-over-her-head assistant.
And all these years later, Jodi, I'm still waiting on that Tab.
Elaine thinks that story encapsulates Jodi Evans -- and if you know Jodi, you'll may agree. But now for Progressive Radio's effort at Revisionary Theatre:
Jodi Evans: I said to my son recently who was big in the Obama campaign, "Maybe it was good that McGovern lost." Because all of us who had come there with our hearts and souls and the vision of what that campaign stood for had to then carry it forward ourselves. And, you know, it -- We didn't get disappointed by Obama, we-- the kind of -- I've seen a lot of his friends get depressed and really feel lost. Instead we got empowered and it really set the trajectory for our lives.
Matthew Rothschild: I'm speaking with Jodi Evans, the co-founder of CODEPINK, you're listening to Progressive Radio, I'm Matt Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine. Let's talk about Obama a little bit. My daughter, like your son, worked for the campaign, though she was just knocking on doors here in Wisconsin as was my wife for that matter. They were both very, very disappointed in what Obama has done as you say your son was. What's your take on Obama? What happened?
Jodi Evans: I think he's a great, inspiring speaker. [Giggles.] I think it was a perfect storm of a moment. You know, I was for Obama in the beginning because he was the anti-war candidate and was actually speaking out against the war. It wasn't until later that he decided to make Afghanistan the good war which is when I started to get pretty upset and was able to actually say to his face twice during the campaign, "There's no such thing as a good war."
Jodi is highly creative. As co-founder of CODEPINK, she determined who was "bird-dogged" and who wasn't. She made the determination that, for example, Hillary was to be bird-dogged (stalked) by CODEPINK and she made the determination that Barack wasn't. Despite the fact that Barack's voting record was identical to Hillary's. That had an impact. As for her being for Barack "in the beginning because he was the anti-war candidate" -- does she mean the fall of 2002?
I ask because -- as Elaine and I have both long discussed online -- before he was elected to the US Senate, right after he started running for that office in fact, Elaine and I were at a pricey fundraiser for Barack and, during our face time, we raised the issue of the Iraq War -- our big issue and he was the alleged peace candidate -- only to have him declare that "we" were already in Iraq (actually, no, we were in the United States) so it no longer mattered. It was similar to statements he'd later make to the New York Times during the 2004 DNC convention.
So it's a lie when Jodi says he was the anti-war candidate. He presented himself as that and groups like CODEPINK encouraged the lie by refusing to note that if Barack truly was against the Iraq War then voting for continuing it once he was in the Senate was more disgusting than the hawks who voted for it in 2002.
As for "later" on Afghanistan, I don't know what the hell she's talking about. In February 2007, he declared his intent to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. June 3, 2007 -- in a televised debate -- he declared that, "One of the things that I think is critical, as the next president, is to make absolutely certain that we not only phase out the Iraq but we also focus on the critical battle that we have in Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda." Want to go back further? The October 12, 2004 debate when he ran for the US senate, "It is an absolutely hopeful sign for the people of Afghanistan. As I have stated unequivocally, I have always thought that we did the right thing in Afghanistan. My only concerns with respect to Afghanistan was that we diverted our attention from Afghanistan in terms of moving into Iraq [blah, blah, blah]." Or how about his August 1, 2007 speech? CNN's opening sentence in their report on that speech? "Sen. Barack Obama says he would shift the war on terror to Afghanistan and Pakistan in a speech he delivered Wednesday."
So I'm confused as to when Jodi was confused about where Barack stood on Afghanistan since it was pretty much always clear and it certainly was before 2008 rolled around -- the year Jodi did her part to demonize Hillary while building up Barack. I'm confused because I'm not a fan of let-me-lie-my-way-out-of-the-hell-I-created revisionary tactics.
As for Barack being a great speaker, as Ava and I noted February 15, 2009:
We watched Monday in full as Barack uh-uh-uhed and spoke in that robotic manner that allows him to find more unnatural pauses than Estelle Parsons and Kim Stanley combined. "He's our Method president!" we quickly gasped while wishing we could have one president this decade capable of normal speech. If he gets any worse, he'll be Sandy Dennis.
Back to the interview.
Jodi Evans: I think he's a great, inspiring speaker. [Giggles.] I think it was a perfect storm of a moment. You know, I was for Obama in the beginning because he was the anti-war candidate and was actually speaking out against the war. It wasn't until later that he decided to make Afghanistan the good war which is when I started to get pretty upset and was able to actually say to his face twice during the campaign, "There's no such thing as a good war."
Matthew Rothschild: Well how did he respond?
Jodi Evans: He said, "I was thinking the Civil War." And I said, "I really don't think you're that stupid because that was about economics really." But, you know. [Laughs] I said, "Shame on you." So, you know, I had experiences of him when he was a senator. I made a movie called The Ground Truth which is about the wounded soldiers and took it to his office and talked to him about it because Veterans Affairs was one of the Committees he was on. And he was -- You know, when you're in the office with him, he's super-inspiring and personal and "I'm going to do this with" and "We're going to bring these people in" and "We're going to change this." But nothing happened. So I think I kind of knew the 'nothing happens' out of the story personally. But I also know what it's like having been inside a governor's office, what happens when you get power. And unfortunately, watching it from the outside, I've never seen a more closed, you know, presidential community. I mean, it's all really weird. It's never been this bad. And I don't know why that is, what they're afraid of. It seems to be really out of a lot of fear and --
Matthew Rothschild: "Closed"? By that you mean cloistered? All of one mind set?
Jodi Evans: Yes. And elite. Super elite given who he is. Even my friend Van Jones was in the White House for awhile and the stories he would tell me about how they were told to dress and behave is just not kind or relational. I think relational is the important thing. And so you think there must be a lot of fear that creates that. That's what cause people to be that way. You see that in how he is around war and how he is around Wall Street. I think they're all issues that he really doesn't have a grasp of so he gives that power away to others. I've been in that situation. Jerry [Brown] did that a bit with me, he'd be like, "I don't want to deal with that," so he'd give the power away. And so, unfortunately, he's given the power away to, you know, the wrong [laughing] people as far as I'm concerned. Or the people that don't represent what he ran on. His words and actions aren't matching. And they just seem a little lost. They can run a good campaign but they just don't know how to be president.
Matthew Rothschild: At least at the beginning of his presidency, it seems to me, that Obama anesthetized the peace movement. Uh, did you have that same feeling?
Jodi Evans: Well we've had that experience before like in 2006 when it was the peace movement that actually -- it was the anti-war, you know, push that got all those new people in and, you know, really changed the tenor of the election and then they get there and they vote for war. So you know, we've been there before. But, yes, I think it sucked the air out of anything that any organization or movement that had a wet blanket thrown on it You kind of get thrown back and you don't know what to do next and you kind of have to rethink. I mean, that doesn't happen in CODEPINK, we just kind of go, "Yeah, we're used to this," and keep going and we're usually all alone in the street for awhile and people will get back when they get their feet kind of on the ground again.
A.N.S.W.E.R. and World Can't Wait continued protests. CODEPINK alternated between silent mode and cheerleader mode. And if you've forgotten it, click here for Scott Horton's Antiwar Radio piece (transcript) on when CODEPINK supported the Afghanistan War. Short on facts, but almost as entertaining as Corky St. Clair.